What is it about?

The vast majority of research on Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) has focussed on the benefits to humans. In contrast, this paper examines how AAA/T interventions might be experienced by the animals themselves. Drawing on evidence and learning from AAA programmes at The Donkey Sanctuary, this paper explores how we can consider the animal perspective in animal-assisted activities and create further dialogue between animal welfare/wellbeing and the AAA community.

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Why is it important?

This is the first paper of its kind to focus solely on donkeys in Animal-Assisted Activity (AAA). The article not only raises awareness of donkeys and donkey sentience, but highlights areas of learning and best practice within the sphere of animal-assisted activities. We hope the findings of the paper will have impact across the AAA community and demonstrate the need to consider the animal experience when designing, developing, and monitoring such programmes.


I really hope this article will help people think differently about animals in AAAs and see them as participants, with their own preferences, likes and dislikes. Like people, animals are individuals with their own unique story, life experiences and relationships with humans. Animal-Assisted Activity is not just about benefitting people - it is a 'more-than-human' endeavour (hence the title of our paper) and so the experience of the animal must be considered.

Cara Clancy

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Learning With Donkeys – A “More-Than-Human” Approach to Animal-Assisted Activities, Society and Animals, September 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15685306-bja10103.
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