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Koroška cesta 160, 2000 Maribor
Phone: +386 2 22 93 840

Center for Anthrozoology "Humanima"

Head of the Centre for Anthrozoology Humanima
Doc. dr. Daša Grajfoner, CPsych CSci AFBPsS

(Research and Educational Centre for Human-Animal Interactions, human and animal behaviour, welfare and health), Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor

Introduction to Centre Humanima

The Centre for Anthrozoology Humanima is an educational, research, consulting and informational Centre focusing on human-animal interactions, behaviour, welfare and health. The name of the Centre Humanima and our one-line logo symbolise the human-animal relationship and the inherent connection between humans and other animals.

We encourage both academic research and applied anthrozoology and aim to implement research findings in addressing practical issues in the area of human-animal interactions, human and animal welfare, health and wellbeing. We offer consultancy services to governmental and non-governmental organisations.

What is Anthrozoology? It investigates all areas of human-animal interaction, in particular human attitudes towards companion, farm, laboratory, zoo and wild animals. It incorporates human and animal behavior, welfare and animal-assisted interventions, including animal-assisted therapy, coaching and learning. It uses an interdisciplinary approach and includes numerous academic disciplines: psychology, ethics, animal welfare and behavior, veterinary and human medicine, anthropology, philosophy, history, sociology, ethology, arts and literature.

The head of the Centre Humanima is Dr Dasha Grajfoner, CPsychol CSci AFBPsS MISCP Accred. Humanima was set up by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Maribor, Koroska 160, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia.

Activities of the Centre Humanima

The Centre includes a variety of activities. We are particularly keen to investigate anthrozoological topics specific to Central and Eastern Europe; however, we collaborate with organisations and idividuals worldwide.

The Centre Humanima integrates four main areas of work:

  1. Research
    Research includes national and international research projects and supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students in Slovene and English.
  2. Education
    Education includes projects within the University of Maribor (we currently offer an elective course in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology at the Department of Psychology), Continuous professional development and training for Government and NGOs. We actively collaborate on local issues relevant to our Centre.
  3. Information
    Humanima is present in social media on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, providing updates on recent research findings in Anthrozoology. We also publish the periodical newsletter Humanima, which includes research news, legislation and practical advice.
  4. Consultancy
    Consultancy includes providing expert opinions for the Government, NGOs, the Court, insurance companies and law firms, in the area of human-animal relations, as well as animal behaviour and welfare.

More specifically, we do

  • Research in human-animal interactions, animal-assisted learning, therapy, coaching and activities, animal behavior and welfare.
  • Education for schools on children and animals. This contributes to the development of empathy, social integration and responsibility.
  • Various training seminars for animal welfare societies.
  • Training and CPD on animal-assisted interventions, animal behavior and welfare and ethical treatment of animals for teachers, counselors, psychologists, mental health practitioners, vets, vet inspectors and farmers..
  • Innovative research in the area of human-animal interactions.
  • Expert witness reports in the area of animal behavior and welfare and human- animal interactions.
  • Collaboration on animal welfare legislation.
  • Consultancy work for practitioners in all areas of animal-assisted intervention (activities, learning, psychotherapy, physiotherapy, coaching).
  • Participation in offender rehabilitation programs.
  • Consultancy to local councils on animal welfare issues.
  • Mediation and consultancy on integrating local animal shelters with educational, care and correctional institutions.
  • Training for employees and volunteers in mental health services.

Humanima Research Activities

Humanima welcomes international PhD students, interested in doing their projects in one of the following areas:

  • Animal-assisted intervention
  • Psychological benefits of human-animal relationships 
  • Child development and animals
  • The role of animals in social integration of disabled and students with special learning needs 
  • Animals and psychological and physical health 
  • The role of animals in improving wellbeing of elderly and socially isolated individuals 
  • Animals and rehabilitation programes (addiction, abuse, offenders) 
  • Animal behaviour and welfare assessment 
  • Methodological issues in animal welfare assessment
  • The role of animals in society, art, science, philosophy and law
  • Ethics and human-animal interactions
  • Animal abuse and human abuse - relationships, prevention

Supervision will be carried out in English or Slovenian.

Current Humanima Projects

  • Animal-assisted interventions in nursing homes
  • CPD for mental health professionals on animal-assisted interventions
  • CPD on communication, goal setting, interpersonal relations, emotional intelligence, leadership development, using animal assisted coaching
  • "Pets and exercise"--impact of pets on human health
  • Newsletter Humanima
  • Collaborating with animal welfare societies, offering consultations, professional development and guidance.

Membership in Humanima

Academic and other institutions, organisations and societies can become associate members. Academics and experts can become associate or full members of the Centre. Sponsors are welcome to join as sponsor members.


You can contact us via email on, You can follow us on Twitter @humanimaEU or like us on Facebook

Doc. dr. Daša Grajfoner, CPsych CSci AFBPsS
Head of the Centre for Anthrozoology Humanima

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