Animals in Society

In the United States and globally, the roles animals play in society are changing rapidly; consequently, several issues concerning human-animal relations have emerged and are subject to intense public debate:

  • Polls, economic indicators, and well-publicized displays of personal attachment to pets demonstrate that many, if not most, Americans now treat their companion animals as family members
  • Public interest is growing in the welfare of animals raised for food and in the environmental impacts of the conditions under which they are raised
  • Scientists and animal welfare advocates alike are questioning whether animals used in research and testing are consistently useful as models of toxicity and disease in humans and other animals
  • Many wild species, considered top priorities for conservation and protection for some, may be viewed by others as noxious pests

Social ethics, policy, and practice with respect to animals are shifting as well. Faculty and students at the Center for Animals and Public Policy analyze and evaluate how cultural, social, and economic trends are shaping the treatment of animals in policy and practice. They share their insights with students, researchers, the veterinary profession, and the public through education, scholarly and popular publications, public seminars and symposia. Most importantly, the Center furnishes the Cummings School community with a safe forum for fair-minded and respectful discussions of these sometimes contentious animal issues.


CAPP faculty and students collaborate in important research projects that impact the health and welfare of animals in society.