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"Do Not Feed the Animals?"

Hosted by Egenis and the Centre for Human Animal Environmental Bioarchaeolgy.

Signs stating ‘Do not feed the animals’ are ubiquitous in zoos, national parks and urban spaces. They stress that uncontrolled feeding by people can affect animal health, alter wild animal behaviour and create public hygiene and nuisance issues. However, humans appear to have a deep-seated proclivity to feed animals. Many ancient cults fed animals, some modern religions require it, and feeding is often actively encouraged as a tourist attraction. Millions of people feed wildlife in gardens and in 2018, the pet-food industry was worth £2.7 billion in the UK alone.

Event details

This new project will use thousands of years of evidence to explore the human fascination with feeding animals - and explore the consequences of this feeding for the shared health of humans, other animals and wider environments in the present day.  Was domestication itself driven by the human penchant for animal feeding?  Is this process accelerating? Is animal feeding any good for them - or for us?  The project is funded by Wellcome Trust, led by the University of Exeter (Departments of Archaeology/Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology), in collaboration with the Universities of Reading and Roehampton, and National Museums Scotland. 

In this webinar, the project team - of policy scholars, geochemists, museum curators, archeologists and anthropologists - will introduce themselves and their plans, and outline the details of a series of research positions that they are looking to recruit. 

To join the session, please register at Eventbrite:

For further information, please contact Prof. Naomi Sykes ( or Dr. Angela Cassidy (


Virtual event