Full course description
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“What do animals have to do with social work”?
Over 50% of American homes have one or more pets, so it is highly likely that the clients that you interact with have a relationship with animals, either as companion animals or as working animals (horses, cattle, pigs). Additionally, trans-species rights is currently receiving attention as we grapple with the implications of animal sentience. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/07/the-elephant-in-the-courtroom
Social work can no longer ignore the fact that nonhumans and human thrive or fail together, (OneWelfare), and that human-animal interaction with social work is no longer a “niche” area practiced by social workers who are “animal people” (Rauktis, M.E., Hoy-Gerlach, J. Human–Animal Interaction Knowledge is not Just for the “Animal People” in Social Work. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 37, 571–572 (2020). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10560-020-00717-w
This course will introduce you to the social and legal ideals of equality and social justice as they apply to social work stances relative to animals. It will describe anthropocentrism, trans-species social justice and help you to decide whether social work should expand its definition of social justice to include the rights of nonhumans.
Our presenters are three experts in this multidisciplinary area representing law and social work practice and theory. Professor Maneesha Deckha will present the legal framework, Dr Matsuoka will introduce the notion of trans-species justice and Dr Basu will discuss the practice interventions and intersections with social work.
This curriculum has been supported by a grant from The Center for Bioethics & Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh.