We mentioned the summer animal university, which will take place this year in 2022 on the Bourbansais side (Pleugueuneuc, Ille et Vilaine). We interviewed its founder and chief facilitator, Yolaine de la Bigne.
Breizh-info.com: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
A written journalist and radio journalist, I specialized in environmental protection at the time on Living: Animal Intelligence by creating two events, the Summer Animal University in late August in Brittany and World Animal Intelligence Day at the City of Science and Industry in La Villette in early February. My interviews with experts and the resulting books are grouped on the Animal and Human page
Breizh-info.com: What is a summer animal school? What work has been done on it in recent years?
The Summer Animal University is a place of meetings and exchanges that brings together animal intelligence experts. The goal is to expand their work to a wide audience. It deals with various animals, mythical or unloved, from pigeons to chimpanzees to killer whales or cats. The conferences are followed by public discussions and workshops to bring the animals more specific.
Breizh-info.com: Can you tell us about this year’s central theme and the speakers?
There is no specific topic like all the other years, because the goal is to show the diversity and richness of animal intelligence without focusing on a specific species. In spite of everything, we have two conferences that deal with animal mediation, that is, how animals can help people through their emotional intelligence. Laurence Paoli tells us medically or psychologically about animals that do us good, help the homeless, children, autistic people and many others. And Catherine Mercier, a prison psychologist and purebred Arab breeder, explains her work in prisons with her horses to re-establish relationships with certain violent or traumatized people and teach them to respect others. During the workshop with his horses he will make us think about the sense of the group, independence or self-confidence. Ethologist Michel Kreutzer provides up-to-date information on his work on animal madness, especially those who mix too much with humans or wild animals. And because the animal is a model that inspires us, especially from an economic point of view, Emmanuelle Joseph-Dailly talks to us about biomimics and all the objects or concepts that we have created thanks to the animal model. However, you need to be able to look at it and understand the nature that surrounds us. This is the theme of the conference, the naturalist Samuel Rebulard, who will also take us on a walk to the La Bourbansais estate to explain how to observe what surrounds us. Finally, veterinarian and ethologist Farah Kesri tells us about sexuality and reproduction and all these strategies that animals developed during evolution to start a family.
Breizh-info.com: In what sense is the animal essential for humans, over the ages?
We have always tried to erase our animal personality, but man is an animal like any other. His intelligence is more abstract and his development is very different, but understanding our animal roots is the key to a better understanding of our world. In addition, animals are the basis of our diet because they pollinate plants and allow them to find food. They also helped us to develop and become who we are, I mean especially horses, without which our world would be completely different. Today, we discover many talents of certain animals, which, thanks to animal mediation, help us to cope with certain weaknesses or certain diseases. Pets also change our daily lives and all owners of cats or dogs know the happiness that their companions give them. And although the 6th extinction exposes nature to great danger, we understand how much animals can inspire us through their talent and strategies. Besides, would it be a world without animals? Their grace and beauty give the world their poetry.
Breizh-info.com: Your UDT seems to avoid certain pitfalls, especially radical animal groups that try to oppose humans and animals. How do you do that?
Although I respect everyone’s work on animal defense, I have not contacted radical associations to avoid conflicts, especially when the summer school of animals is held in a zoo, which is a very controversial concept. If there are places and moments when a discussion or even a fight is necessary, the aim of this university is not to bring together an audience of animal lovers. If the animal cause remains the red thread of all interventions, it is astonishment at the genius of nature. So that we can better understand and respect it
Breizh-info.com: How to register and participate in your UDT?
You must register on the labourbansais.com website.
Photographic credit: DR
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