UWindsor conference discussing connection between humans and animals

A conference at the University of Windsor called "Animals and Us: Research, Policy and Practice" is attracting attendees from as far as Australia.

"Animals and Us" conference started with discussion about domestic violence

The conference is taking place over three days at the University of Windsor this week. (Andy Clark/Reuters)

A growing number of academics are studying the connection between humans and animals — and they're meeting at the University of Windsor to talk about it. 

This week, people from as far as Australia have gathered for a conference called "Animals and Us: Research, Policy and Practice."

"It really is a growing area of research. The number of publications that are coming out has increased dramatically," said organizer Amy Fitzgerald, a professor in department of sociology, anthropology and criminology at UWindsor. 

"People are increasingly acknowledging​ that we can't stop our analysis of social phenomena at the species line," she added.

The conference kicked off Thursday with a full day dedicated to the intersection of animals and domestic violence, a topic of interest to Fitzgerald, a member of the university's Animal and Interpersonal Abuse Research Group.

"A sizeable proportion of women report that they delay leaving their abuser because they can't take their pets to shelters," Fitzgerald said. "We're trying to get the word that [allowing pets in shelters] is important — and also that [it is] feasible."

120 people are registered for the conference, which is sponsored by Hiatus House and the Windsor-Essex County Humane Society, in addition to the University of Windsor.

Other topics on the agenda during the two and a half day conference include animals and the law, animal testing, humane jobs and the relationship between capitalism and animals.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email