Who We Are - Learning Animals
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Who We Are

our work, our experience, our life

Founders of the Learning Animals Institute:
Francesco De Giorgio & José De Giorgio-Schoorl

De Giorgio & De Giorgio

People with passion to support an evolution.
Experts within the dimension of interspecies relationship-dynamics,
in which they are leading pioneers when it comes to understand and facilitate subjectivity.

Be there - without being there

Francesco De Giorgio

FFrancesco De Giorgio is a biologist, ethologist, naturalist

Born in 1965 in Italy.

Graduating from Parma University in 1989, Francesco began his career as an independent field researcher, supporting several universities while indulging his lifelong passion for horses and dogs as an Equine and Canine Learning Professional (helping owners enhance their relationships with animals)

Active within the field of anti-speciesist philosophy.

Founder of the International Learning Animals Study Institute together with his wife José, he develops and promotes a knowledge paradigm, consisting of both theory and practice, within a liberation battle for Animality.
The “immersive” combination of a practical and critical approach regarding animal science and the coexistence with an extended family of animals, support his activities of study developments, academic and non-academic lectures and other activities of diffusion where Francesco illustrates, explains and teaches the application of the Learning Animals socio-cognitive model of learning, of relationship development and facilitation-ability.

Francesco dedicates his energy not only to facilitate animals in difficulty, but also teaches how to change perspective and how to understand nonhuman animal quality of life, from an animality point of view. He puts “The Animal Question” in general in a different light, from a critical perspective, refering to the liberation of animal subjectivity and the animal mind, from an anthropocentric and speciecist heritage, cultural imprinting and in general the animal training industry.

Simple and everyday gestures, such as distributing hay for horses or carrying out activities connected to a life in coexistence with animality, are intwined with an intense background of studies and knowledge, a profound insight regarding animal cognition, which over the years has led to a unique, multidisciplinary model (the LA socio-cognitive model) for reflection and understanding of the animal perspective.

Described by his university mentor and the former Director of the International School of Ethology (Erice, Italy), the late Danilo Mainardi, as “a man who works with his head and his heart and his hands,” Francesco “walks the walk and talks the talk,” integrating scientific knowledge into ethical day-to-day practice.

Francesco is in fact the author of several scientific articles, popular articles, and popular science books, in particular with a critical view towards the anthropocentrism and speciesism within animal science and day-to-day culture. Among his published books; Dizionario Italiano / Cavallo (2010), Comprendere il Cavallo (2015) – both published in Italy, Equus Lost? (2017) – published in the United States, aka The Cognitive Horse (2013), In the name of Animality (2018) – self published, with the Spanish translation En nombre de la Animalidad – currently in progress.

Being yourself - together

José De Giorgio-Schoorl

JJosé De Giorgio-Schoorl is co-founder of the Learning Animals Institute.

Giving people an opportunity to see other animals through different eyes, José De Giorgio-Schoorl is working for the change in awareness and understanding of the relationship between human and other animals.
Her knowledge and abilities are formed from a life time of curiosity, intrigued by capturing true attention:

In 1976, at the age of two, I had a special encounter. I met an individual with a striking curiosity and I can still remember the sensation of being captivated, by his inquisitive mind, the way he was engaged in exploring and understanding the world around him.
I met a young goat, and was really intrigued by his own attention – not with a desire to get the goat’s attention, to get a reaction, to have an interaction, but simply noticing and following where his attention went. This fascination for others and inner attention has stayed with me throughout my life in all kinds of encounters, human and nonhuman animals. It brought me where I am today.“ [TEDx, 2018]

Graduating from the university of applied sciences in business and engineering in 1997 in the Netherlands, specialized in organizational behavior and organizational change, José started her professional career combining this keen eye for dynamics with her skills to oversee complex situations and ability to facilitate cultural differences.

She continuous to study and integrating knowledge regarding personal growth and development and cultivating her passion for the nonhuman animal perspective.
In 2006 this results in a critical position against the performance oriented approaches and animal objectification in animal assisted interventions and the same result oriented tendency in company life, where she sees human individuals getting more and more trapped in process optimization and desensitized in social dynamics. She decides to leave the company world, and to dedicate herself in investigating and preserving interspecies interaction dynamics (human‐nonhuman animals) as well as human‐human interactions.

In 2008 Francesco and José meet in Italy, and from the fusion of their knowledge, experience and passion to facilitate an improvement of quality of life and better understanding of animal-others, they found the Learning Animals Institute. She has been working ever since to create awareness, developing study programs based on the Learning Animals socio-cognitive point of view, teaching in Human-Nonhuman Animal relationships, as personal growth facilitator, and external advisor on topics as inclusion and recognition of subjectivity, striving for an inclusive coexistence, where everyone can be understood for their own cognitive way of being in the world.

She has several publications published in English and Italian. Main publication in English: Equus Lost?: How We Misunderstand the Nature of the Horse -Human Relationship, 2017 by Francesco De Giorgio and Jose De Giorgio-­Schoorl, published by Trafalgar Square Books, ISBN 978-­1570767982. First published in 2013 as The Cognitive Horse.