Kirrilly Thompson

Kirrilly Thompson
The University of Newcastle, Australia · College of Health Medicine and Wellbeing

PhD

About

201
Publications
81,010
Reads
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1,594
Citations
Introduction
I use ethnographic methods to research the cultural dimensions of risk-perception and safety, especially around human-animal interactions. I have particular interests in the public communication and understanding of science as well as behaviour change.
Additional affiliations
March 2019 - June 2019
University of South Australia
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Market research. Course code: MARK2020.
February 2019 - May 2019
Australian College of Applied Psychology
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Psychology: An Evidence-Based Approach 3. Course code: PSYC5352 (Advanced, online)
April 2018 - present
Independent scholar
Position
  • Consultant
Description
  • https://academicpublicationscoach.com
Education
March 1995 - April 2007
University of Adelaide
Field of study
  • Cultural Anthropology

Publications

Publications (201)
Book
This original and insightful book explores how horses can be considered as social actors within shared interspecies networks. It examines what we know about how horses understand us and how we perceive them, as well as the implications of actively recognising other animals as actors within shared social lives. This book explores how interspecies re...
Article
During disasters, the presence of companion animals is an identified risk for household relocation failure as well as premature return. In Australia, where bushfires are a regular summer threat, householders are encouraged to develop a written bushfire action plan that includes pets and animals. As part of this plan, householders are recommended to...
Article
Full-text available
The idea that whip use is critical to thoroughbred racing integrity is culturally entrenched but lacks empirical support. To test the longstanding beliefs that whip use aids steering, reduces interference, increases safety and improves finishing times, we conducted a mixed-method analysis of 126 race reports produced by official stewards of the Bri...
Article
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Equestrian sports are unavoidably interspecies and undeniably dangerous. Whilst there has been qualitative research into the human–horse relationship, and quantitative research into horse riding, injury and risk, there remains a need to understand how risk perception and experience is subjectively implicated in, through and by the human–horse relat...
Chapter
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This chapter has been written strategically for those who are interested in, or involved with, the application of new technologies in the rail industry. It is intended as an introductory guide for those who are largely unfamiliar with qualitative research methods. Qualitative research is particularly suited to understanding human behaviour within t...
Presentation
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The risk of accident and injury from interacting with horses is well known, but there are also personal health risks from exposure to zoonotic diseases. These include known zoonoses such as Hendra virus, salmonellosis, chlamydiosis and MRSA infection as well as emerging zoonoses. Coming into contact with bodily fluids from horses increases the risk...
Presentation
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The webinar recording for this talk (Session 1) can be viewed at https://bushfireresilience.org.au/webinar-recordings/2022-webinar-1/
Article
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In October 2021, the first contemporary detection of Hendra virus genotype 2 (HeV-g2) was made by routine surveillance veterinary priority disease investigation in a horse near Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, as part of routine veterinary priority disease surveillance. This discovery followed an update of Hendra virus diagnostic assays follo...
Article
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Negative outcomes associated with the road transport of horses are a significant welfare issue. This study aimed to describe the injuries sustained by horses during road transport in New Zealand and factors associated with trauma while in transit. New Zealand horse industry participants were surveyed on their horse transport experiences and equine...
Presentation
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In this presentation, I talk about sustainability in terms of Social License to Operate, which I operationalise as 'permission'. I argue that horse people need to see themselves as custodians of the permission we have so fortunately been granted. Safeguarding this permission requires taking care of the environment, ourselves, each other and - of co...
Technical Report
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In Part 3 of my series on 'Science Critique 101', I consider research bias. As one of the ‘big four’ science critiques, research bias is usually a personal attack on one or more of the authors of a research publication, suggesting that they only found what they wanted to find. In these circumstances, rather than considering research findings on th...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In the first part of this Science Critique 101 series, I highlighted the need to be critical of research but also warned about dismissing a study entirely because it has shortcomings. No piece of research is perfect, however this doesn’t mean that the findings are not useful. It just means that their limitations need to be taken into account when...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Science is about continuous improvement – getting closer to confidence and certainty by continually testing, revisiting, reviewing and sometimes replacing or outright rejecting that of which it was confident yesterday. That is, science is not perfect. Science is self-critical, as are its consumers. Researchers and the general public are critical o...
Article
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The annual Melbourne Cup Thoroughbred horse race has iconic status among many Australians but sits in the context of increasing criticism of the welfare of Thoroughbred racing horses and the ethics of gambling. Despite heated debates and protests playing out in the public domain, there is scant empirical research to document Australian attitudes to...
Technical Report
Full-text available
An article has recently been published titled ‘An Ethnographic Account of the British Equestrian Virtue of Bravery, and Its Implications for Equine Welfare’. In this magazine article, I consider Rosalie Jones McVey's conclusion in light of the gendered history of horse riding and bravery. In most so-called western equestrian cultures, women are a...
Technical Report
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Logical fallacies function as unhelpful distractions from the issues at hand. The term ‘logical fallacy’ can be misleading. It doesn’t refer to an error being a logical one to make. Rather, it refers to an error in logic or reasoning. Logical fallacies are good at ending arguments, but they often worsen conflict. They overlook common ground and sha...
Article
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The equestrian industry reports high rates of serious injuries, illness and fatalities when compared to other high-risk sports and work environments. To address these ongoing safety concerns, a greater understanding of the relationship between human risk perception, values and safety behaviours is required. This paper presents results from an inter...
Technical Report
Full-text available
We found whips make no difference to horse steering, jockey safety, or even a horse’s speed. Our study offers scientific findings that support Racing Victoria’s recently announced plan to gradually phase out whip use until whips are only being used when absolutely necessary.
Technical Report
Full-text available
The term ‘agency’ is commonplace in human-animal studies and was recently featured in public debate via ‘the Equitation Welfare Workshop’. The event gave practitioners, equitation science researchers, vets and therapists from around the world a chance to openly discuss agency and the sport horse. But what is agency and how does it relate to people...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Horse people! We have a reputation for being a bit, well, crazy. But not just in the eccentric way. I mean in the way that we don’t get along very well with one another. It’s quite ironic given that if anyone was going to understand our level of crazy, it would be one of our own. Sadly, however, we are often thought of as know-it-alls who can’t g...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In the March-April magazine, I wrote about the window of tolerance, which is kind of like a comfort zone. In this article, I discuss how you can grow your horse’s individual window of tolerance so they can become more resilient to the demands we impose. I also introduce the concepts of pendulation and titration whilst revisiting self-regulation.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This article explains how Daniel Siegel's anthropocentric concept of the window of tolerance can be applied to horses to contextualise equine behaviours and reactions within a framework of comfort, discomfort, activation and deactivation. The idea of stimulus stacking is presented to help horse riders, trainers and handlers approach apparently 'une...
Presentation
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Technical Report
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Therapeutic riding is a well-established and highly regarded equine-assisted activity for helping people with physical disabilities. Horses are also becoming increasingly recognised for their beneficial role in interventions designed to improve mental health and wellbeing, especially in relation to PTSD and other forms of trauma. But horses don’t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Bias beware! Why you should recognise your biases and how they influence your thoughts and behaviours Those mental shortcuts that help us navigate our lives more efficiently also lead us to make unfounded assumptions and disseminate unhelpful myths. Research has identified more than 50 biases, Dr Kirrilly Thompson rounds up and uncovers the most c...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Humans and horses have been relating to and with each other for at least 5,000 years. Horses benefitted from these relations by receiving food, medical treatment and protection from predators and the elements. However, it is fair to assume that the original purpose of these relationships was primarily for human benefit – food, transport and militar...
Technical Report
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Discussions about quantitative and qualitative research should not be about which one is more scientific, truthful or ‘better’. They should be about which approach is most appropriate.
Technical Report
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Anthropomorphisation is, literally, the application of human (anthropos) form (morpho) to animals and is, essentially, the attribution of human characteristics to animals. An example would be to interpret our feature photo as two horses laughing at the camera. Anthropomorphising is understanding animals on human terms – not their own. Given that a...
Chapter
Competitive dressage is multidimensional. As a sport, dressage horses and riders are expected to perform and gain a competitive edge. As an art, dressage is subject to specific aesthetic evaluation. The best combinations are the ones who run the fastest or jump the highest They are the ones who are assessed as being right, good and beautiful. In co...
Article
Full-text available
Horse owners and carers are responsible for judging the health and welfare status of animals in theircare, deciding if and when professional advice should be sought and following any recommendations fortreatment. However, little is known about how horse owners perceive and determine the well-being ofhorses in their care, or the themes that inform t...
Article
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Injuries resulting from road transport are common in horses and are a potential welfare concern, as well as, a source of economic loss. An online cross sectional survey was used to determine the prevalence of road transport related injuries to horses in New Zealand and the association of human factors including demographics, industry background, tr...
Article
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Background: Animal ownership has been identified as a risk factor for human survivability of natural disasters. Animal guardians have been reported to react or act in ways that may put their own safety and that of emergency services personnel at risk when faced with a natural disaster. Recent research has suggested that this risk factor could be r...
Technical Report
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Very few horse riders would deny the fact that a helmet will mitigate the severity of a contact injury to their head, but for many riders, this is not reason enough. Not every horse rider wears a helmet every time they ride for various reasons that might even make seem to sense (e.g. “I wouldn’t get on a horse if I thought I was going to fall off ”...
Article
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One of the most famous natural disasters in history is the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The collection of plaster casts and skeletons of those who died as a result are an ongoing source of morbid public fascination. It includes a cast of the twisted body of a collared dog, who appears to have been chained to a post when it perished in Pompe...
Article
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Surveys and questionnaires are regularly used in studies of human–animal relationships. However, little attention has been given to understanding how survey participants are provided with instructions for the selection of a single animal within a multi-pet household, let alone the implications for reporting and interpreting data. We reviewed the in...
Article
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This article commences by outlining five perspectives on the sustainability of equestrian cultures covering the environment, the economy, human health, horse welfare, and social licence. Next, it presents findings from an online survey developed to understand how horse owners in Australia have been affected by major weather and climate events, how...
Article
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Little is known about the horse health management practices of Australian horse caregivers (owners). This article presents findings from a convenience sample of 505 horse owners who participated in an online survey. No large-scale welfare issues were identified, but there were some areas of potential concern, including owners who did not regularly...
Article
One of the aims of equitation science (ES) is to improve horse welfare through a scientific approach. However, little is known about how equestrians perceive ES. To determine what equestrians think about ES, we analysed the ‘everyday talk’ of equestrians participating in an online forum thread debating ES. Using qualitative data analysis techniques...
Chapter
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In this entry, we discuss previous critiques of food charity as outlined by Poppendieck (1998). We then consider the potential for community food security approaches to address these critiques. We find that community food security approaches are a step in the right direction, but a socially and ecologically innovativemodel is needed to move beyond...
Article
Pets factor into the daily decision making of many people. Importantly, various characteristics of these human-animal relationships are known to strongly influence pet owners’ risk behavior and, consequently, their animals’ welfare during disasters. Yet, few studies have examined a range of such characteristics concurrently in order to describe ris...
Presentation
Full-text available
Horse owners and carers are responsible for judging the health and welfare status of animals in their care, deciding if and when professional advice should be sought and following recommendations for treatment. Research has shown that owners tend to overestimate horse wellbeing, and given trends towards first generation horse ownership, it would be...
Article
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Objective: To gain an understanding of general horse-keeping practices in Australia, including shelter, social contact, exercise, watering and supplementary feeding. Methods: An online survey was conducted with 505 owners in relation to one 'representative' horse in their care. Results: The majority (83%) of horses were managed at pasture. App...
Presentation
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This presentation is based on a literature review in preparation for a Masters in Communication (by Research) with Central Queensland University, Australia. Horses in sport and welfare perspectives - how the attitudes of horse organisation members about horse welfare can inform the design of a communication framework for horses-in-sport organisatio...
Article
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Food waste is a global issue with serious economic and environmental implications. Although a number of psychosocial and cultural factors have been identified, little attention has been paid to how food waste is culturally presented, circulated, and mediated. In this exploratory study, we consider how food waste is presented in the thriving genre o...
Article
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Human sleeping arrangements have evolved over time and differ across cultures. The majority of adults share their bed at one time or another with a partner or child, and many also sleep with pets. In fact, around half of dog and cat owners report sharing a bed or bedroom with their pet(s). However, interspecies co-sleeping has been trivialized in t...
Book
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This edited volume demonstrates the broader socio-cultural context for individual human-horse relations and equestrian practices by documenting the international value of equines; socially, culturally, as subjects of academic study and as drivers of public policy. It broadens our understanding of the importance of horses to humans by providing case...
Chapter
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There is a general recognition of a global trend towards increasing female participation in equestrian sports. However, it is important to understand the different ways in which global trends can impact or be challenged by equestrian cultures at their location of origin. For example, whilst women in Southern Spain are frequent competitors in the ‘O...
Chapter
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In this concluding chapter, we consider the aggregate significance of our volume. In relation to expanding our understanding of equestrian cultures around the globe, contributions fortified the existing research on equestrian cultures in England, Europe and North America. They also provided rare insight into the scarcely studied equestrian cultures...
Chapter
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The changing status of equines is revealing of the many important material and symbolic societal transformations ushered in by (post)modernity - affecting global and local contexts alike. However, few have asked if the changing status of equines is consistent across cultures near and far in time and place. In looking deeper into this question, we r...
Article
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The higher education sector is a dynamic environment where universities compete on a global basis for resources, students, and high-quality staff. The impending retirement of the baby boomer generation will create increased competition for research leaders. One way to address this is to develop research leaders from existing researchers. However, l...
Article
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Crammed together in tight folds of humanity, the suburban rail passengers of Mumbai, India, experience the most densely crowded trains in the world (Basu & Hunt, 2012). Whilst the immediate physical descriptors of crowdedness in Mumbai are well understood (Hirsch, 2016), there is little knowledge of the effect this has on the multitude of passenger...
Presentation
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From freestyle dressage to music through mounted bullfighting in Southern Spain to natural disaster preparedness and human behaviour change for animal welfare and human safety.
Article
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Simple Summary Research on the transportation of horses has largely focused on the movement of horses by commercial livestock carriers. Information on factors associated with horse injuries sustained during private (non-commercial) transportation in small horse trucks and trailers is limited. This study surveyed drivers transporting their horses to...
Article
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Purpose: To describe organisational strategies that support early career researchers in building a successful track record which can lead to a successful academic research career. Design/methodology/approach: This paper draws on more than a decade of experience designing, implementing, and evaluating professional development programs for early care...
Article
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This article examines how human-animal connections influence risk perception and behaviour in companion animal guardians exposed to bushfire threat in Australia. Although the objective role of psychological bonds with companion animals is well accepted by researchers, subjective interpretations of these bonds by animal guardians are relatively unde...
Chapter
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Latour (1993) describes an ongoing human preoccupation with 'purification' from categories such as technology from society, nature from culture and human from animal. He identifies a certain irony in that such processes of purification simultaneously enable a proliferation of hybrid states of being: those that fall between the conceptual gaps. One...
Presentation
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Kirilly Thompson: Being Cruel or Being Kind? How Australian horse owners determine the health and happiness of horses in their care. View the talk on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t6VHGKGaK0
Article
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Context: Few studies have examined the prevalence of animal ownership among populations likely to be at greater risk from disaster events within a bushfire context. Objective: To investigate the proportion of vulnerable community members keeping animals and the types of animals kept, as well as perceived risk of harm to pets, and their inclusion...
Poster
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In January 2015 the Sampson Flat bushfire in South Australia burnt over 12,000 hectares in the peri-urban area of the northern Adelaide Hills, South Australia. (Figure 1). A survey of 120 horse owners affected by the fire was undertaken in late October, 2015 to help develop ways to improve horse owners’ and horses’ safety in future fires while mini...
Article
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Sleep is critical for the healthy development of children, yet most children simply don't get enough. Whilst school based sleep education programs have been developed for parents and their children, they have had mixed success. We consider how use of behavior change theory in existing school-based sleep education programs can be improved by applyin...
Article
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Nonhuman animal guardians are more at risk during natural disasters because they are likely to delay or refuse evacuation and return to evacuated disaster sites to rescue animals. Research on the human-animal bond (HAB) views animal guardians’ actions as a reflection of a strong attachment. However, in addition to guardians, disaster planners, resc...
Presentation
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How does culture impact the risk perception and risk mitigation behaviours of horse people?
Article
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It has been suggested that one in five riders will be injured due to a fall from a horse, resulting in severe head or torso injuries. Attempts to reduce injury have primarily focussed on low level risk controls, such as helmets. In comparison, risk mitigation in high risk workplaces and sports is directed at more effective and preventative controls...
Article
Objectives The extension of research into public practice is enhanced by communication and behaviour change strategies that are consistent with consumer needs and perspectives. To gain support for equine research (or to appreciate the perspectives contributing to disagreement), it is necessary to determine how aware consumers are of research, what...
Poster
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Thank you to the 120 horse owners/carers/guardians who took part in our Sampson Flat Fire online survey in 2015. The findings are in this infographic.
Article
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Mumbai's (India) suburban rail system has the world's most densely crowded trains (Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd, 2013) and risks to passengers' safety and security are high. While a number of papers and reports analyse threats to passenger security from a government or policy perspective, there is a dearth of literature about the impact of...
Data
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In the military or emergency services, operational requirements and/or community expectations often preclude formal prescriptive working time arrangements as a practical means of reducing fatigue-related risk. In these environments, workers sometimes employ adaptive or protective behaviours informally to reduce the risk (i.e. likelihood or conseque...
Article
The widespread tendency of modern-day pet owners to self-identify with their companion animals psychologically, symbolically and relationally demonstrates how the constructed identities of animal and owner are strongly linked. This becomes particularly apparent during natural disasters. In this review, the new concept of the pet-owning self is disc...
Article
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This review examines the perceptual and behavioural influences that pet-attachment has on the ways in which owners view risk, appraise threat, and respond to environmental hazards. Understanding how human-companion animal relationships function in this context has profound implications for the welfare of both people and their animals. Despite origi...
Article
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Objectives To investigate issues faced by horse owners in Australia, their suggestions for addressing those issues and the financial or economic barriers impeding their equestrian activities, Methods An online survey of 930 horse owners subject to statistical and qualitative data analysis. Results The majority (89%) of participants reported horse h...