Conference “The Emotional Lives of Animals: What are the Implications? A Comparison Between Researchers and Disciplines”
An Animal Rights Article from


Conference at University of Genoa, Italy
May 2012

As posted in Animals and Society Institute eNewsletter

[To read in Italian, go to]

Why do animals have emotions? What are the main lines of research about the emotional lives of animals? Interaction – direct or indirect – with other forms of animal lives lies at the bottom of our daily life. The bond between us and other-than-human-animals is of vital importance, not just as a practical necessity but also as a spiritual need – even if it can happen that we are not completely aware of it.

Therefore we cannot avoid dealing, with the utmost care, with the topic of the emotional lives of non-human animals with whom we daily relate within different degree of intensity and violence. Drawing from this idea, the Faculty of Education Sciences of Genoa University, together with Minding Animals Italy and the Italian Institute for Bioethics, will dedicate a two-day conference (May 12-13) to these crucial questions.

Special guest of the event will be Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus from Colorado University, whose studies have granted more than a generation of scholars the opportunity to access, with curiosity and humbleness, the emotional world of non-human-animals.These questions urgently need addressing, as is proved by the surge of inquiry years from academics in a wide variety of fields.

“The emotional lives of animals” conference aims to be a bridge between the scientific and humanistic works that have been developed on these subjects.

Its goal is to promote the dialogue between various scholars and to promote common results. Together with notable academics, representatives of the most important Italian advocacies and some of the prominent cruelty-free Italian brands will take place into this debate. Presenting an overview of the work which has been done on the topic of the emotional lives of non-human animals will help to reconsider the fundamental work of both Italian and non-Italian scholars.

Furthermore, it will help to advance the future research. For this reason, contributions from students, PhD students, researchers, and people who work in direct contact with animals are welcome. Of particular interest are abstracts related to the consideration of the emotional lives of animals examined from the point of view of:

  • history of arts, literature, religion, philosophy, bioethics, psychology, law, politics, and of humanistic subjects as a more generally;
  • veterinary, ethology, medicine, biology, neuroscience, and of scientific subjects as a whole;
  • social science;
  • advocacies and cruelty-free companies (cosmetics, clothing, food…)

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