Before IAHAIO was organized, groups of scholars were holding international conferences dedicated to Human Animal Interactions. These were held in London (1977), Philadelphia (1980), Vienna (1983), Boston (1986) and Monaco (1989).

After the Monaco meeting there was a meeting in Toronto 1990, Canada, where representatives from AFIRAC (France), the Delta Society (USA), Delta Australia, HABAC (Canada), IEMT (Austria) and SCAS (UK) decided to turn their long standing working relationship into a formal Association. The seventh organization, The Human Animal Contact Study Group from South Africa had sent a message in support of the move. Dr. Sam Ahmedzai (SCAS, UK), was the first President, Linda Hines, director of the Delta Society (USA), was elected Secretary of IAHAIO. IAHAIO was incorporated as a not-for-profit NGO in the State of Washington, USA in 1992.

The initial National Members were: AFIRAC, France; Delta Society of Australia; Ethologia Belgium; Delta Society USA; Dyrene Og Vi, Norway, Forschungskreis Heimtiere in der Gesellschaft, Germany; Human-Animal Bond Association of Canada (HABAC); Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on the Human-Pet Relationship (IEMT-Switzerland); Society for Companion Animal Studies, England; Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on the Human-Pet Relationship (IEMT-Austria); Manimalis, Sweden; The Human-Animal Contact Study Group in South Africa.

From 1992 the Conferences went on as IAHAIO conferences: Montreal (1992), Geneva (1995) and Prague (1998), Rio (2001), Glasgow (2004), Tokyo (2007), Stockholm (2010), Chicago (2013) and most recently, Paris (2016). 

IAHAIO Past Presidents

IAHAIO has been very fortunate to have benefitted from the strong leadership of pioneers in the field of HAI and is grateful for the dedication and commitment of its three past presidents in developing the organisation. IAHAIO continues to build on the strong foundations laid by Prof. Sam Ahmedzai (1992-1995), the hard work and dedication of Dr. Dennis Turner (1995-2010) and, more recently, the vision and drive of Prof.Rebecca Johnson, who served as President of IAHAIO 2010-2016

Rebecca Johnson

Under the leadership of Prof. Johnson, IAHAIO enjoyed a period of substantial growth, increasing its membership to over 80 organisational members. The IAHAIO Board achieved a great deal during her presidency, including highlights such as:

- The IAHAIO White Paper on AAI Guidelines
- Collaboration with the Open University of the Netherlands to produce the online learning course Modules in Anthrozoology
- Two successful international conferences (Chicago, 2013 and Paris, 2016)
- The establishment of IAHAIO symposia to facilitate international networking in the field
- The creation of two new IAHAIO awards to recognise outstanding individuals in research and practice in HAI and AAI
- The establishment of an open-access, peer-reviewed IAHAIO Journal

Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN

Rebecca completed graduate research training with her masters of philosophy degree from University of Edinburgh, Scotland (as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar), and her Ph.D. from University of Iowa.  She is the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing & Public Policy at University of Missouri where she holds a joint appointment in the College of Veterinary Medicine for her research on human-companion animal interaction. She founded and directs the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.  ReCHAI’s mission is to conduct and facilitate research on human-animal interaction and to educate students and the public about it. She serves on the Board of Directors for Delta Society, an IAHAIO member organization, and is a special advisor to the Japan Human Animal Nature Bond Society.  In 2007, her research led to her induction into the highly respected American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). In 2009, her undergraduate course, entitled “Human-Companion Animal Interaction” won the Humane Society of the U.S.’ 11th Annual “Animals and Society” Distinguished Established Course Award. Author of many publications in peer reviewed journals, and other venues, she has two books published by Purdue University Press in 2011, “Health Benefits of Dog Walking,” and “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound.”

Above: Dennis Turner (left) and Rebecca Johnson

Dennis Turner

Dr Turner provided outstanding leadership to IAHAIO spanning 15 years, during which time he introduced important initiatives which cemented IAHAIO's role as a major force in the field of HAI on the global stage. His achievements for IAHAIO during his presidency included:

- Securing an NGO-cooperation agreement with the World Health Organization for 3 years
- Securing involvement of IAHAIO in the Pet Night event of the European Parliament
- As a member of the FVE-Executive Steering Committee, securing a 3-year FP-7 grant from the European Commission on 'Companion animals and zoonoses prevention' (CALLISTO project) and chairing the Expert Advisory Group on Sociology and Welfare
- Chairing the Program  or Program and Organizing Committees for the IAHAIO triennial conferences in Geneva (1995), Prague (1998), Rio de Janeiro (2001), Tokyo (2007) and Stockholm (2010)

Dr Dennis Turner, ScD

- Former president of IAHAIO 1995-2010
- President of IEMT-Switzerland, 1990 to 2015, Honorary president 2016
- Private Faculty Member (PD), University of Zurich
- Invited Professor, Educational Research Program for Anthrozoology, ERCAZ Azabu University, Fuchinobe, Japan (animal-assisted interventions) 2000-2015
- Trustee and Chair, Scientific Advisory Panel, World Society for the Protection of Animals, WSPA, London to 2012
- Section Editor, Animal Welfare, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare to 2012
- Director, Institute for applied Ethology and Animal Psychology, I.E.A.P./I.E.T., Horgen, Switzerland


IAHAIO conference stream and AGM 2017, California

IAHAIO is delighted to announce that it will be hosting a dedicated HCAB stream at the ISAZ conference on 24 June 2017 at the University of California, Davis, California, USA. The IAHAIO Annual General Meeting will take place on 23 June. Registration is now open. Full details, including the IAHAIO programme, can be found here. IAHAIO member, Pet Partners, is also offering 6 places to IAHAIO members for their Pet Partners Evaluator Training which will take place during the conference. Further details are available here.

IAHAIO White Paper - Animal assisted interventions

The IAHAIO White Paper outlining definitions and guidelines for animal assisted interventions and wellness of animals involved was endorsed by  IAHAIO members in 2014, and has now been translated into French, German, Dutch and Polish. An essential document for everyone involved in AAI. For further information, click here.

IAHAIO Digital Photo Contest

When you look at HAI, what do you see? HAI around the world

Open to all IAHAIO member organisations, the IAHAIO photo contest invites members to share their images of human-animal interactions with the IAHAIO community and help build our photo library. It carries a first prize of $500. Closing date for submissions is 15 May 2017. For contest rules and instructions. please click here.

Temple Grandin interview

We are delighted to share a video of Temple Grandin being interviewed by IAHAIO Board member, Brinda Jegatheesan, which was shown at the IAHAIO conference in July. Click here to view.

People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice (PAIJ)

We are delighted to announce the launch of the new IAHAIO open-access, peer-reviewed Journal! It publishes articles relating to research, practice and education in HAI and AAI. For further information and to submit abstracts for review for the first issues, please click here.