Väitös (biologia): MSc Océane Liehrmann


6.10.2023 klo 12.15 - 16.15

MSc Océane Liehrmann esittää väitöskirjansa ”Investigating the human-animal relationship in working animals” julkisesti tarkastettavaksi Turun yliopistossa perjantaina 6.10.2023 klo 12.15 (Turun yliopisto, Educarium, Edu2, Assistentinkatu 5, Turku).

Yleisön on mahdollista osallistua väitökseen myös etäyhteyden kautta: https://utu.zoom.us/j/69818148127

Vastaväittäjänä toimii dosentti Maria Vilain Rørvang (Department of Biosystems and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ruotsi) ja kustoksena professori Jon Brommer (Turun yliopisto). Tilaisuus on englanninkielinen. Väitöksen alana on biologia.

Väitöskirja yliopiston julkaisuarkistossa: https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-29-9429-8

Tiivistelmä väitöstutkimuksesta:

Throughout history, animals have served various roles in human life, from providing food and clothing to assisting in research and labor. While studies typically focus on pets, livestock, and zoo animals, the relationships between humans and working animals received insufficient attention, despite their significant presence.

In my thesis, I explored what influences the connection between working animals and their handlers. I looked at factors like how well the handler knows the animal, how long theyve been together, how many handlers and previous owners the animal has had, the handlers experience, and the animals own experiences. I also considered how different living environments affect this relationship.

Conducting experiments with Asian elephants used in timber work, leisure horses, and sledge reindeer, I found that longer and more familiar handler-animal relationships reduced reluctance toward novelty in Asian elephants and horses. However, reindeer seemed less affected by handler familiarity, possibly due to less time spent with specific caretakers. This suggests that building a positive human-animal relationship takes time, shaped by past interactions and daily routines. Age and training experience also played a role, with younger animals being more exploratory and older ones better at understanding human cues.

The environment mattered, especially for horses; larger groups and fields improved success in following human cues. Thus, suitable living conditions can enhance cognitive development and the ability of animals to work with humans.

In summary, this thesis provides valuable insights into human-working animal relationships. These findings have practical implications for training and caring for draft working animals, emphasizing the need to tailor approaches to each species unique traits. Addressing the specific needs of working animals and creating appropriate living conditions can significantly enhance their overall well-being and effectiveness.