Animals and Humans Focus of Forum

Animals for Life announces April meeting to promote human-animal bonding.

Published on: Dec 19, 2013

Animal enthusiasts will gather to engage in meaningful contemplation, conversation and collaboration at the Animals for Life Forum on April 9, 2014 in Cincinnati. This is the second annual signature event for the Animals for Life Foundation.

The Forum will feature a full day of speakers, presentations and panels, all discussing the different ways the human-animal bond is significant across different professions, such as psychology, therapy and education, among others.

"We're very excited to hold another signature event," says David White, executive director of the Foundation. "The 2014 Forum will build upon the signature event we held earlier this year, as well as the vision and mission of the Foundation. Plus, every animal has a story to tell, and we have excellent speakers lined-up to help tell those stories."

Animals and Humans Focus of Forum
Animals and Humans Focus of Forum

New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz will serve as the keynote speaker for the Forum. Katz's background is extensive, having been the executive producer of "CBS Morning News" and a contributor to Slate, an online current affairs and culture magazine. He has written a dozen novels about dogs and is a seasoned speaker on many animal-related topics, such as the attachment theory and the way humans train their canine companions.

"I'm excited to come to Cincinnati to talk at the Animals for Life Forum," he says. "I share their passion for promoting understanding of the need for animals in our world, and our responsibility as human beings to treat animals with dignity and compassion."

Three overarching themes will shape the day's discussions and complement the speakers' expertise: how animals help humans heal, health benefits from human-animal interactions and how humans care for animals.

Aubrey Fine, a licensed psychologist and professor at California State University, is a leader in the field of animal assisted therapy (AAT) and the primary editor of the most widely accepted book on the subject, The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy, which is now in its third edition.

Sandra Barker is a professor of psychiatry and the Bill Balaban Chair in Human-Animal Interaction on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she also serves as the director of the VCU Center for Human-Animal Interaction.

Karen Rosa leads the American Humane Association's Los Angeles-based Film & TV Unit, which monitors animal use in more than 2,000 productions a year and grants the renowned "No Animals Were Harmed" end-credit certification to films.

A panel of speakers will also discuss human-animal interactions on livestock farms. In addition, two of the Foundation's 2013 grant recipients, Bittersweet Farms and Read to Roo, will share their human-animal bond stories with attendees.

More than 300 animal enthusiasts gathered earlier this year for the 2013 Animals for Life Summit, the first ever signature event for the Foundation.Temple Grandin, a celebrated animal behavioral and handling specialist and professor at Colorado State University, was the keynote speaker. She discussed the importance of events like the Summit and upcoming Forum that bring people together with various animal interests: "[Problems happen] when people talk in their own groups, preach to the choir in their own groups."

The 2014 Forum will be held at the Radisson Cincinnati North and the all-day program will include breakfast,lunch and an afternoon snack. Save 25 percent by registering before March 19, 2014 at www.aflforum2014.eventbrite.com. The deadline to register is April 2, 2014.

Additionally, the Radisson Cincinnati North is offering a special conference rate of $99 per room for the evening of April 8, 2014. To make your reservation, contact the Radisson at 513-771-2080 or visit www.radisson.com/animalsforlife. Reservations must be made with the hotel by March 9, 2014 to receive this special group rate for the Forum.