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Niina Silvennoinen

In 2011, I decided to embark on a BSc Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, with the wish of engaging in a career to help animals. The degree introduced me to Anthrozoology, and I decided to continue my studies in this field by applying to do the MA in Anthrozoology.  During the course of the MA, various opportunities came my way, such as presenting my BSc Dissertation, titled Factors Influencing Attitudes Towards Animal Testing, at the first Anthrozoology Student Conference in 2015. My MA Dissertation continued exploring current attitudes towards nonhuman animal use in medicine, focussing on the age group known as the Millennials; those born between the mid-1980s and year 2000, as I believe this demographic plays a key role in deciding the future of laboratory animals. I also submitted a chapter, based on my two Dissertations, for a book on the future of animal testing, a salient animal welfare and rights issue very close to my heart. My submission was successful, and the book, titled The ethics of animal experimentation: working towards a paradigm change, edited by Kimberley Jayne and Kathrin Herrman, is currently under review. 

The MA Anthrozoology is challenging and rewarding, and I enjoyed exploring and challenging not only the traditional human–nonhuman animal binaries in our society, but my own (rather strong!) views on animal welfare and humankind’s influence over it as well.  Whilst all modules, ranging from animal testing to wildlife conservation and media influence in how we view animals, were extremely well-structured and interesting, by far I most enjoyed the interaction with the other students and supervisors, particularly at the Residential Weekend in 2016. I am currently working in non-profit social housing whilst deciphering the best way forward to help nonhuman animals, hopefully a life-long mission for me to come.