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A review of the literature on the relationship between animal and human indicates that whales and dolphins may have a mutually beneficial role to play in human therapeutic situations. Florida researchers have discovered that interaction with dolphins has favourably altered the behaviour of neurologically impaired people, and of autistic children who are usually withdrawn and uncommunicative.

Explorations with both wild and captive cetaceans may find suggestive direction from extensive research currently being done with pets and domestic animals. Growing scientific evidence suggests that animals can benefit not only the physically and mentally ill, the lonely and the incarcerated, but also the minds and bodies of healthy people as well. Research done at, for example, the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Interaction of Animals and Society, the University of Minnesota's Center for Study of Human-Animal Relationships and Environments, the University of Cambridge, and by members of the Society for Companion Animal Studies in Paris, indicates marked therapeutic benefits from the involvement of animals in a variety of human situations.


Paper presented at the IWC Non-Consumptive Utilization of Cetacean Resources Conference, Boston, June 1983.