Exploring the Potential Impact of Puppy Yoga and Goat Meditation on Adorable Animals: Insights from an Animal Welfare Scientist

The popularity of yoga classes with animals has raised concerns about the welfare of these animals. Recent investigations have exposed distressing practices, such as denying puppies sleep and water during puppy yoga sessions and subjecting them to hot rooms for extended periods of time. Similar practices have been observed in goat yoga sessions, where the animals are grabbed, chased, and cuddled against their will. As an animal welfare scientist, I believe that animal welfare should be a higher priority in these activities.

Animals such as dogs, goats, and birds are sentient beings, meaning they experience both positive and negative emotions. It is our moral obligation to consider their mental well-being along with their physical needs. When animal welfare is compromised, it not only affects the individual animals involved but also has broader societal implications. Public reactions to animal welfare issues can put pressure on industries and individuals to act ethically and responsibly.

To ensure ethical practices in animal-assisted activities like yoga, initiatives such as “one health” and “one welfare” should be implemented. These initiatives focus on the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental well-being. Animal-reliant operations should be transparent and proactive in assuring the public that animal welfare is a priority. This may require significant changes to current practices.

Assessing animal welfare requires considering the five domains: nutrition, physical environment, health, behavioral interactions, and mental state. Animals should have agency and the ability to choose their actions, including whether to interact with humans or withdraw.

Recent investigations in the UK have led to condemnation of animal yoga classes by organizations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Kennel Club. The power of social license pressure has been demonstrated in these cases. As individuals, we can also exert pressure by staying informed about what constitutes a good life for animals and not supporting practices that fail to prioritize their welfare.