ICES Gh. Zane

Iasi, T.Codrescu Street, No 2


Irina Frasin


Animals and Society/ History/ Human Culture

On the 28th of February 2020, Animals and Society/ History/ Human Culture workshop was organized. The debate was moderated by Irina Frasin. The participants were as follows: George Bodi, Codrin Dinu Vasiliu, Ionut Bârliba, and Liviu Măgurianu. Animals are present in the myths, legends, and folklore of all people around the world. The religions of all communities include animals in their cosmologies, beliefs, rituals, or practices. Animals have been worshipped, regarded as taboo, sacrificed, or associated with various deities and spirits. Animals exist as cultural symbols and linguistic metaphors, and whenever we wish to think of an animal beyond what our culture taught us, we come to realize that we are addressing a difficult approach. Animals live as mirrors of our thinking, and, with their help, we can reflect, discuss, and classify the existent beings and ourselves. However, far from and beyond, animals are present in our daily life, and the way in which we see and interact with them is largely based on the traditions inherited. In recent years, we have started realizing that animals, just like us, are beings that wish to live a pain-free life. Due to the massive dependency of human society to the non-human animals, they have been treated as simple resources, animals-machines for an exceedingly long time. However, nowadays the cognitive ethology and other animal-related sciences question the magnitude of the differences between us. The debate suggested by this workshop has concentrated on the ways in which animals have been perceived and understood in different societies and cultures. The following themes have been addressed:
  • Ideas, concepts, and beliefs about animals
  • Theories on the differences and gap between humans and animals
  • Animals rights and human obligations towards them
  • Species extinctions and human responsibility
  • Animals in literature, mythology, arts, or folklore
  • Animal psychology
  • Cognitive ethology
  • Mental models and economic values in the human-animal relationship froma historical perspective
  • Animal protection movements and supporting legislation
  • Speciesism and anti-speciesism
Workshop organized within the project “Ethics and Non-human World. Ethical Fundamentals for Rethinking the Human-Nature Relationship”, code: GAR-UM-2019-XII-3.1-9/15.10.19.

Ethics and the Non-Human World. The Anthrozoology Symposium – Third Edition, 2020.

The Anthrozoology Symposium reaches its third edition this year (2020), and it is an event organized by “Gh. Zane” Institute of Economic and Social Research (Romanian Academy – Iasi Branch), in association with the Faculty of Biology (“Al. I. Cuza” University of Iasi), Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (“Babes – Bolyai” University of Cluj), Faculty of Veterinarian Medicine (“Ion Ionescu de la Brad” University for Agricultural Studies and Veterinarian Medicine of Iasi), Rural Development Research Platform, and Moldavia’s History Museum (“Moldova” National Museum Complex).

As animals are omnipresent in our lives, society, and thoughts, it would be quite difficult to understand ourselves as humans in their absence. Thus, due to their ubiquity in our lives, we are concerned with understanding the ways in which animals were, have been, and are still represented in different cultures and societies worldwide, to unravel the way they are perceived, imagined, and experienced and why they bear different significations. Further, we are interested in finding ways that will improve our relations and hopefully lead to a better life for all the individuals involved (human and non-human) and for the welfare of the community, in general. The fact that we are able to know more and understand better the other animals should normally lead to changes in the ways we treat them. However, our long history in understanding nature as simple resource that will and should be used merely for the benefit of our species makes this transition much more difficult. The belief that humans are morally and cognitively superior is deeply rooted in personal convictions, social organization, and legal systems across our world. The fact that billions of animals are killed and exploited for the human use is hardly affected by the knowledge of the extraordinary abilities possessed by other beings to feel and suffer in similar ways to us. It is true that our abusive attitude to the other animals has led to the re-discovery of ethical theories that state the inner value of all living beings and has also produced many social movements which support the animals’ protection and rights. But the impact of this non-anthropocentric view, although on a continuous rise, is still not enough. Under the circumstances, it is absolutely necessary to re-evaluate our relations with the non-human world based on feelings of empathy, compassion, and the belief that all sentient beings deserve moral consideration.

This year’s edition of the Symposium is addressing the subject of how can we think beyond traditions and preconceptions to reach a morality where all living beings deserve respect, whether they are rational, they have language, or the ability to adhere to the moral community. Thus, we will be able to produce more inclusive theories and higher effective strategies that will hopefully help us protect the other animals from further suffering and exploitation. Within the third edition of the Anthrozoology Symposium, we would like to invite you take part in a debate forum focused on the following topics concerning the human — animal interactions:

• Ideas, concepts, and beliefs about animals;

• Theories about the differences and distance between humans and animals;

• Animal rights and human responsibilities;

• Species extinction and human responsibility;

• Animals in literature, mythology, art, and folklore;

• Animal psychology;

• Cognitive ethology;

• Mental models and economic value in human-animal interactions from a historic perspective;

• Animal protection movement and the laws that support it.

The Anthrozoology Symposium will take place online (via Google Meet), between the 6th and 8th of November, 2020.

Moral Obligations. Animal Rights

Workshop, Iași city, June 19,  2020, 16.00

Our interaction with the other animals is conditioned by our anthropocentric limits of understanding humanity and our responsibility towards animals, conceptual frames which determine, in terms of socioeconomics, our relationship with everything that is alive, and our wish to build a better world in the only world we have and share with other beings. We realize that our continuous development is at a fast pace which is no longer sustainable. We have also come to understand that the exceeding exploitation of the other animals and natural environment is less and less effective and comes at high costs. Furthermore, we are starting to discover the intrinsic value of nature and other animals which not so far ago was regarded as merely instrumental. The present workshop proposes a debate on the subject of respect towards nature and environment, rights for the other animals, and our moral obligations towards them. We can see that the animal advocacy has taken baby steps in reforming the exploitation system of the non-human animals. However, the core idea, according to which it is morally acceptable to exploit the other animals, has remained unchanged.  This the reason why, philosophers and activists have tried to reformulate our theories for highlighting the contradiction of this type of exploitation. There are more possible viewpoints such as the welfare view, ecologist perspective, or animal rights’ point of view. The discussions of this meeting will focus on the possible answers to the appeal of ceasing the exploitation of other animals, and hopefully achieving it under fairly accurate parameters. The workshop will be held online and address both members of the research team and all colleagues interested in this subject. For participation details, please use the following contact  email: Workshop held within the project – Ethics and the Non-Human World. Ethical Fundamentals for Rethinking the Human-Nature Relationship, GAR-UM-2019-XII-3.1-9 Irina Frasin, R2 (Recognized Researcher): House photo created by freepik –” target=”_blank”>Foto Cred

Theorizing the Difference and Rethinking the Human-Animal Relationship. Workshop December 20, 2019.

The fundamental belief sustaining all legal systems and social organizations around the world is that humans are cognitively and morally superior to all other animals. This justifies using all other animals to the sole benefit of humans. The control and destruction of the lives of non-human individuals to serve the selfish human interests is based on speciesism theories fueled by monotheistic religious belief, humanism, scientific theories that hierarchically categorize all living beings and legal systems founded on these convictions.

Gradually, mentalities drawing strict lines between human individuals and those of other species started to be replaced by a more inclusive way of thinking, blurring the differences. This is due to the new scientific discoveries that emphasize the rich and complex mental, emotional and social lives of individuals belonging to different animal species. This non-anthropocentric way of thinking motivated a re-evaluation of the relations that humans have with the other species, emphasizing empathy, compassion and the more and more obvious conviction that all the sentient beings deserve moral consideration.

The purpose of the debates during this workshop is to explore and critically examine the histories, mentalities and theories that funded and fueled the current view on animals, but also to draw attention to the new conceptions that aim developing new attitudes fairer and more humane.


George Bodi – Theoretical Models for the Construction of Human-Animal Relations in the Prehistoric Archaeology

Aurora Hrițuleac – Neuroscientific Arguments for Rethinking the Difference in the Human-Animal Relations

Codrin Dinu Vasiliu – Anthrozoology between Frontend and Backend Discursive Development

Lavinia Codrea – The Needs of Animals in Legal Approach

Irina Frasin – Humans, Non-human Animals, and Rights for all Sentient Beings

Ionuț Bârliba – The Human-Animal Interaction. Possible Contributions to Self-Development

Liviu Măgurianu – Animals that Defy Science

Project Launching: Ethics and the Non-human World. Ethical Fundamentals for Rethinking the Human-Nature Relation.

The Romanian Academy, Iași Branch announces the launching of the project Ethics and the Non-Human World. Ethical Fundamentals for Rethinking the Human-Animal World, financed by Fundația Patrimoniu (Patrimony Foundation) of the Romanian Academy within GAR-UM-2019. 

The implementing team of the project is as follows: Irina Frasin (project manager), George Bodi, Codrin Dinu Vasiliu, Ionuţ Bârliba, and Liviu Măgurianu. The project is run with “Gh. Zane” Institute of economic and Social Research of the Romanian Academy, Iași Branch.

The project objective lies in expanding the current available knowledge in Romania on a n essential subject for the philosophical reflection, namely the human relationship with the non-human animals and nature overall.

The project is run between October 2019 and September 2021, and aims at investigating the consequences and impact of the way we, humans, understand the world mirrored by our relationships with natural environment and non-human animals, and also highlight the role played by rethinking our relationships with the other animals in understanding and redefining our own humanity.