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Understanding camp dogs: the relationship between Aboriginal culture and western welfare

Bindi Bennett, Clare Archer-Lean

2023 Australia

This article examines how rising concern for animal welfare in Australia is manifested in increased media coverage of these topics, including growing coverage of animal sentience, rights, and welfare. In Australia, canine existence is often determined by their positioning within cultural frames. Dogs have been integral to Aboriginal social, family, and environmental relationships for generations; however, colonisation brought fundamental changes to these established relationships, with ramifications that have prompted welfare concerns about camp dog populations. The goal of this article is to review existing research discourses and epistemological positioning of the supposed camp dog problem. We are not assessing individual programmes or reporting on fieldwork conducted with communities. Instead, this initial paper reviews some of the current literature to identify ways forward in facilitating Aboriginal self-determining of camp dog interactions in communities.

Aboriginal, camp dogs, colonisation, welfare