The IAHAIO Geneva Declaration

Note: The AVMA endorses this Geneva Declaration, developed by the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO).


Recent research is demonstrating various benefits of companion animals to people's well-being, personal growth, and quality of life.

In order to enable their presence and ensure the harmonious companionship of animals in our lives, owners and governments both have duties and responsibilities.

IAHAIO members have adopted five fundamental resolutions at their General Assembly, held in Geneva on 5 September 1995. IAHAIO urges all international bodies concerned and all national governments to consider and activate the following resolutions:


  1. To acknowledge the universal nondiscriminatory right to pet ownership in all places and reasonable circumstances, if the pet is properly cared for and does not contravene the rights of non-pet owners.
  2. To take appropriate steps to ensure that the human environment is planned and designed to take the special needs and characteristics of pets and their owners into account.
  3. To encourage the regulated presence of companion animals in schools and school curricula, and to work to convince teachers and educators of the benefits of this presence through appropriate training programs.
  4. To ensure regulated companion animal access into hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, and other centers for the care of people of all ages who are in need of such contact.
  5. To officially recognize as valid therapeutic interventions those animals that are specifically trained to help people overcome the limitations of disabilities; to foster the development of programs to produce such animals; and to ensure that education about the range of capabilities of these animals is included in the basic training of the health and social service professions.

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