Based on an interview with Luca Farina, director of the Italian National Reference Centre for Animal Assisted Interventions, Ministry of Health
Italy adheres to the concept of “One Health”, viewing healthcare as inclusive and placing human and veterinary medicine on the same level. This enhances the credibility of animal-associated activities and therapies, which are officially recognized by the national healthcare system. Government officials have consequently worked with regions and provinces to establish clear terminology and guidelines for dealing with animal-associated issues.
Three main types of animal-associated activities correspond to specific types 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 issues of people in unstable or risky 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.