What ethical implications follow from the close cognitive and emotional kinship between human and non-human animals that scientists have uncovered? Which forms and degrees of animal instrumentalization are morally impermissible and which are not? Which normative questions arise from the increasing use of high-tech in veterinary medicine, and how can veterinarians weigh the interests of human clients and animal patients? How should concepts of vulnerability, of disease and health, of cognition and consciousness be understood in the light of new scientific and philosophical research? What is the impact of digitization on humans and animals in farming contexts? What are the new concerns surrounding meat-eating, zoos, representations of animals in the media, animal experimentation, or wildlife tourism?
The Messerli Research Institute was founded in 2010 with support from the Messerli Foundation (Sörenberg, Switzerland) under the management of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna.
The research is devoted to the interaction between humans and animals, as well as its theoretical principles in animal cognition and behavior, comparative medicine and ethics. Its work is characterized by its broad interdisciplinary approach (biology, human medicine, veterinary medicine, philosophy, psychology, law) and strong international focus.
Research findings are an integral part of the academic curriculum in a new Master’s program and are also designed to provide guidelines for the responsible and acceptable treatment of animals. Thus, the Messerli Research Institute sees one of the main responsibilities in providing scientific information to help people responsible in the field of human-animal interactions.