I am an Anthrozoology PhD student. Having lived and worked in Cyprus for the last 7 years I have a keen interest in the traditional and cultural aspects of animal welfare in Cyprus. I have worked with animals and people professionally for many years, starting my working life as a veterinary nurse and continuing to work within the veterinary profession at Cambridge University, Department of Veterinary Medicine, until my late twenties, rubbing shoulders with researchers such as Professor Donald Broom, who sparked my interest in animal welfare. After a career change, I worked as a psychotherapist within both NHS and private sector organisations, prior to moving to Cyprus. This provided me with a wealth of knowledge about what it is to be human and in later years, how important the bond between humans and nonhuman animals can be, as I started to work with one of my dogs as part of the therapeutic process. Once living in the sun, I turned my attention to animals, working in a local veterinary clinic and becoming involved with local shelters and gaining a broader understanding of animal welfare in Cyprus. The difference in how nonhuman animals are perceived in Cyprus compared to the way I experienced them in Britain fascinates me and has shaped my desire to explore hunters and their connections to nonhuman animals. When not working, I enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in the countryside with my eight dogs.
My PhD research centres on aspects of hunting with dogs in Cyprus. The hunting industry is thriving in Cyprus with the activity being practiced enthusiastically. It receives endorsement and condemnation in equal measures but with recent reports of mass illegal bird trapping, a negative focus has once again turned on the hunting fraternity. However, tradition and culture are powerful arguments to sustain and justify the pursuit and ultimately the death of wildlife. Attitudes towards animal welfare in Cyprus are complex and Cartesian views can be witnessed in the way some hunting dogs are kept and used. Yet hunters openly discuss these views and the divisive practices are very visible, suggesting a desensitisation to suffering. I propose to engage with the hunting community and reflect from the inside to gain understanding and insight into the social, cultural ontology. I intend to discover how they relate to the dogs that enhance the process of the hunt, how they experience the hunt within nature and ultimately the inevitable killing of another animal. By doing so I want to answer the following questions:
* How are hunters and hunting in Cyprus defined? Is it sport, recreation, environmental management, trophy hunting, being in nature, or domination and how do these components intertwine?
* How do hunters relate to the dogs that accompany them and what is the importance of this relationship for both canine and human parties?
* How can hunting dogs be given a voice and their sentience valued?
* What is the impact of hunting on local communities?
* What future does hunting have in contemporary Cyprus?