The IAHAIO Tokyo Declaration

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

Given the scientific and medical evidence proving the beneficial effects to human health and well being arising from interactions with companion animals, given the biological and psychological evidence for the innate affinity of humans to nature, including other living beings and natural settings, the members of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations unanimously approved the following resolution and guidelines for action at the IAHAIO General Assembly held on October 5, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan.

It is a universal, natural and basic human right to benefit from the presence of animals.

Acknowledgement of this right has consequences requiring action in various spheres of legislation and regulation. IAHAIO urges all international bodies and national and local governments:

  1. To enact housing regulations which allow the keeping of companion animals if they can be housed properly and cared for adequately, while respecting the interests of people not desiring direct contact with such animals;
  2. To promote access of specially selected and trained, healthy, and clean animals to medical care facilities to participate in animal-assisted therapy and/or animal-assisted activities;
  3. To recognize persons and animals adequately trained in and prepared for, animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted education;
  4. To allow the presence of companion animals in care/residential centers for people of any age, who would benefit from that presence;
  5. To promote the inclusion of companion animals in the school curricula according the "IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools".

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