cod. 1006290

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
Maurizio DONDI
Academic discipline
Clinica medica veterinaria (VET/08)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

The objective of the course is to provide the basics of Animal Assisted Interventions, deontological aspects, national legislation and the contents of specific regulations and guidelines. It will also address all those notions to understand the complex human-animal relationship and the concept of One Health to be introduced in the educational tracks. It also allows for a deeper understanding of the responsibilities of the different professionals and practitioners involved in the educational process.


No need for pre requirements

Course unit content

The Course in Educational Interventions with Animals was established, with much foresight, within the Bachelor of Science in Design and Coordination of Educational Systems back in 2015. During the early days, the course program was structured to mainly provide information on the various aspects of the newly born on Animal Assisted Interventions (Agreement between the Government, the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano on the document bearing "National Guidelines for Animal Assisted Interventions (IAA)" sanctioned on March 25, 2015), with particular reference to Assisted Activities and Education. Then over the years, the contents and objectives have gradually changed with new professional needs in accordance with the evolution of social awareness and regulatory updates on environmental protection, human and animal health and welfare.
This increased interest in animals in contemporary society is evidenced by the fact that principles of safeguarding animal welfare and protecting ecosystems have been included within key regulatory devices. For example, the protection of animals as sentient beings has been included in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in the recent reform of the Italian Constitution, which introduced in Art. 9 the defense of ecosystems and animals, as well as in the articles of the Italian Penal Code, in which animals are protected against killing, mistreatment and abandonment.
Law 92 of August 20, 2019 introduced from the year 2020-2021 the cross-curricular teaching of civic education in the first and second cycles of education, as well as awareness initiatives in kindergarten. Paragraph 2 of Article 1 states that the third thematic core of this teaching, which refers to Environmental Sustainability and the Right to Personal Health and Well-Being, includes topics on health education, environmental protection, respect for animals and the commons, and civil protection.
In light of these premises, it seems clear that the theme of civic education today assumes strategic relevance, and its declination in a transversal way in school disciplines represents a founding choice of our educational system, and therefore it becomes fundamental to provide future teachers with specific skills concerning also the various aspects of the Human-Animal-Environment-Health relationship. This kind of knowledge is not only directed toward the creation of a society in which animal welfare becomes as defining an element as the fundamental rights of people, but is directed toward the formation of a social awareness that the welfare and health of humans, animals and the environment are one and the same, and that each aspect affects the others. In essence, it is the concept of One Health.
In conclusion, knowledge of the various aspects related to the Human-Animal Bond is not only directed toward the therapeutic and educational use of animals with respect to the individual, their management by maintaining them an optimal degree of well-being, but is also directed toward reducing the unconscious risks involved in contact with animals, risks that are sometimes serious and extremely costly for both the individual and the entire community. Therefore, teaching preventive health care with a theoretical-practical approach should be included in every school curriculum.

Full programme

• The foundations and characteristics of the human-animal relationship
• History and presentation of the IAA
• Definition of AAA, EAA and TAA
• Guidelines, national and international regulatory framework also concerning the protection of animal welfare
• The National Reference Center for Assisted Interventions with Animals
• Roles and responsibilities of the professionals and operators involved
• Areas of work: characteristics of users and operational realities
• IAA experiences
. Legal Aspects of Animal Assisted Interventions.
. Introductory lessons in Neuroscience.
. Natural history of the domestication of mammals.
. Elements of Animal Ethology and Psychobiology.


The materials necessary for the study is provided by the teacher after class and is available on the learning platform

Teaching methods

Academic lessons

Assessment methods and criteria

The examination is conducted in written form on the entire syllabus and involves the administration of 30 closed questions with multiple answers. During the 1-hour test, the use of supporting materials such as textbooks, notes, computer aids is allowed. Correction of the written assignment normally takes place within five working days of the exam, and any student may request to review and discuss his or her paper with the teacher.

Other information

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