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Mars, Incorporated Commits Over $2 Million to Federal Agency for Human-Animal Interaction Research
Date:8/14/2009

MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The WALTHAM(R) Centre for Pet Nutrition, a division of Mars, Incorporated, has committed more than $2 million to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to help fund comprehensive research over the next four years on various aspects associated with pet ownership, a field commonly referred to as Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) research. The NICHD will add the Mars donation, together with funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, to research funds it has allocated for the NICHD's first-ever formal program in HAI.

"Nearly 75 percent of U.S. households have a pet, yet very few large scale studies have been done to examine how the bond between people and their pets impacts our psychological and physical well-being. Mars has a deep respect for peer-reviewed science and a long history in HAI research. We look forward to partnering with NICHD to expand our knowledge and understanding in this area," explained Cathie Woteki, Ph.D., Global Director of Scientific Affairs, Mars, Incorporated.

In 2008, WALTHAM(R) initiated a formal public-private partnership with the NICHD to help build the field and promote HAI research, based on a mutual appreciation and concern for the health, development and welfare of children and animals. Within the past year, WALTHAM and NICHD have hosted two HAI research workshops to review recently completed studies and develop a research agenda to spur these future initiatives.

The WALTHAM(R) donation will help fund NICHD studies in three key areas:

  • the impact of human-animal interaction on typical development and health;
  • clinical trials that will focus on the role animals play in both physical and psychological therapeutic treatments; an
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SOURCE Mars, Incorporated
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