HAI in Italy
Based on an interview with Luca Farina, director of the Italian National Reference Centre for Anima Assisted Interventions, Ministry of Health
Italy considers there is only “One Health”. In other words, healthcare is an inclusive concept where human and veterinary medicine stand on the same level. This perspective enhances the credibility of animal-associated activities and therapies, as they are officially recognized by the national healthcare system. Government officials work with Italy’s regions and provinces to establish clear terminology and guidelines for dealing with animal-associated issues.
According to Luca Farina, there are three main categories of animal-associated activities, each of which corresponds to a specific type of needs:
1) Therapy: HAI can be prescribed as a remedy for behavioral problems. In such a case, it is tantamount to a prescribed medical treatment.
2) Education: This category includes programs in prisons and social welfare institutions, where animal-assisted activities are leveraged to address the needs and issues of people in unstable or at-risk circumstances.
3) Leisure: This refers to animal-associated activities geared toward discovery, relaxation, and enjoyment. They may take the form of educational farms, cultural events, or environmental initiatives.