Activities of the Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions (SCHAI) are guided by AVMA policy on the human-animal bond: "The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian's role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals."
The SCHAI seeks to:
- Foster a better understanding of the characteristics of different types of human-animal relationships encountered by veterinarians practicing within the profession, and
- Promote the veterinarian's role in supporting good human-animal relationships and communicating expectations for those relationships outside of the profession.
The Committee has four members with broad perspectives and expertise within the human-animal interactions field. These individuals represent the three aspects of the human-animal bond, as follows, with attention to domestic and non-domestic species:
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- 2 experts on the impact on the animal (i.e., how human-animal attachment type/strength impacts the animal's well-being).
- Veterinarian or scientist with expertise in domestic animal relationships (animals used for companionship, research, food, work, recreation)
- Veterinarian or scientist with expertise in non-domestic human-animal relationships (wildlife, zoos, aquaria)
- 1 expert on the impact on the human (i.e., how human-animal attachment type/strength impacts the well-being of people).
- 1 expert on human-animal attachment (i.e., an expert on key theories of attachment, bonding and/or interconnectivity among species)