Redlands Resources: The Relationship Between Humans and Animals

kathi jenni

Kathie Jenni, professor of philosophy and director of the university’s new human-animal studies minor, is available to talk about topics including animal cruelty, animal ethics, how animals used for food are treated in industrialized countries, and the role that pets play in families, societies and cultures.

This summer, Jenni presented two papers at the Minding Animals conference in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia:

  • “Animals and Education: Possibilities in Universities,” discussed her role in establishing the new minor at Redlands, and
  • “Bearing Witness to Animal Suffering,” was presented at a session on denial and animal ethics. That paper included a discussion of whether it is ethical for animal rights advocates to show graphic pictures of animal abuse to increase public awareness and understanding.

The conference was a week-long, international gathering of more than 400 scholars, animal caregivers and activists.

Human-animal studies is a quickly growing field devoted to examining and evaluating the relationship between people and animals—leading to a greater understanding of the ways in which animals figure into the lives of humans, and humans into theirs.

Students in Redlands’ newly created interdisciplinary program might study relationships found in history or literature, or could focus on ecology and the ways that humans and animals are inter-related. The minor could appeal to students interested in working at zoos, animal shelters, wildlife rehabilitation centers or pursuing careers in animal law or veterinary medicine.

About Professor Jenni: Jenni speaks and writes frequently about animal rights, animal cruelty and other related topics. She has a bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. The professor spent a year at Stanford University serving as an Ethics in Society fellow.

Jenni is known on campus for her “Taking Animals Seriously” community service learning May Term course, where she leads students on a four-week internship in animal care at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.

This fall, she is teaching a first-year, freshmen seminar titled “Humans and Other Animals.” The course will include films, guest speakers, classical and contemporary readings in philosophy about animal minds, as well a discussion of ethical issues in humans’ use of animals.

Reach Jenni at or

There are more than 1,700 trees on the University of Redlands campus.

In April 2010, it was designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Redlands is among just three other colleges or universities in California to receive this designation.

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