In 2011 a number of us in Norway with an interest in human/non-human animal relations took inspiration from Minding Animals International and its upcoming conference in Utrecht to see how we could best express these interests in Norway. Our first act was to organise a Minding Animals Pre-conference Event in Oslo, which was successfully held on October 14 and 15, 2011. From this, a decision was taken to form Minding Animals Norway as a member organisation which acts as a space for the interface between academics and activists for better understanding and treatment of animals across the spectrum of human/non-human animal interactions.
Minding Animals Norway has duly been convened as an NGO within Norwegian law. Its officers are Morten Tønnessen (chair), Frode Bakke Bjerkevik (vice chair), Iselin Linstad Hauge, Gunnar Kornberg, Ida Knutsen and August Torp. Its purpose is to further discussions on the topic, plus it aspires to become the gateway for all interests in the topic, including Human-Animal Studies in Norway, through this website (www.mindinganimals.no) and through at least one annual conference/workshop.
The Pre-conference Event focused on the theme “Shared Worlds”, looking at how both humans and non-human animals co-construct the worlds they inhabit. It featured two species-specific Round Table discussions – one on human-horse and one on human -wolf relations. Rod Bennison, Tora Holmberg, Liv Emma Thorsen and Nelly Mäekivi gave plenary addresses. The Pre-conference Event also included a Position Paper Workshop where efforts were made to find a position on the ethical treatment of animals to which both academics and activists could sign up.
Minding Animals Norway will continue to seek to attract new members and to engage with key issues in human-animal relations in Norway, in collaboration with other local, Nordic and International actors. We will be holding a meeting in Utrecht before the actual conference in which all are welcome to join us.
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