Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award


Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

Program or Major

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Andrew Conroy


The high operating costs of the New England alpaca industry were putting the majority of alpaca farmers in this region in a state of financial loss. On a separate note, American communities were experiencing a prevalence of anxiety and depression. What if a single solution could help improve the outcome of both these challenges that seem to have little to do with each other? Alpaca Animal Assisted Activities (alpaca AAAs) was a possible solution. This study explored New England alpaca farm profitability and alpaca AAAs in a way no other research study has done before. A Farmer Survey was mailed to 183 alpaca farmers across New England asking questions about demographics, profitability, and alpaca AAA use. A Therapeutic Survey was handed out to participants of an alpaca AAA to take account of anxiety and depression levels after the visit. It was found that there wasn’t a single path to profitability, however, paid alpaca AAAs generated money that farmers could utilize in their farm businesses. At the same time, alpaca AAAs had the ability to reduce anxiety and depression and in no cases increased these emotional states. If you are an alpaca farmer looking to add an additional source of revenue to your farm business while also improving the emotional welfare of your community, this thesis is worth a read!