Tell your friends about ASI:
The Human-Animal Studies Report
April 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the Animals & Society Institute's Human-Animal Studies Report. 

This month’s “Animals and COVID-19” section of the Human-Animal Studies Report highlights the connections between industrialized animal agriculture, pandemics, and climate change. 

The crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 virus both exacerbated and illuminated animal abuses within industrialized animal agriculture. In addition to the inhumane conditions under which animals become meat through factory farming, the connections between factory farming processes, zoonotic disease emergence and spread, and pandemics are clear. Yet the effective ongoing lobbying by agricultural industry groups and subsequent inaction by governments continue to thwart productive movement forward. Now one UK nonprofit organization is funding legal proceedings against the government, attempting to ensure factory farming’s impacts on the climate crisis and future pandemics are addressed. (Note: Other COVID-related surveys, articles and calls appear interspersed below.)

I hope you and those you care about continue to weather the changes brought about by the pandemic, and that you all stay healthy and safe.


Editor’s note: The HAS e-newsletter is organized as follows: Jobs, grants, and calls are ordered chronologically by deadline dates, with the earliest first, and will continue to be posted until the deadlines expire. Books and articles include, where possible, links to access them directly from this email. Because publication reference styles vary by source, they might not always be consistent or pretty, but they will get you there. To read more about the topics discussed, click the bold hyperlinks for source material and additional information.

Please send your comments, suggestions, and submissions to:, and if possible include a URL link to your project or announcement.

Animals and COVID-19

Animals and COVID-19

Concerns over New Pandemics and Climate Change 
Spur UK NGOs to Take Legal Action to End Factory Farming

We’ve all seen them, the photos of the killing floors. Some of us may avoid looking, fearing the nightmares they induce. Others steel themselves to bear witness to the trauma and deaths. Still others immerse themselves behind the scenes in the brutal worlds of knives and stun guns that bring death to billions of farmed animals each year. They do so in order to bring images of these acts of violence to others in the hope of advancing change. Amy Jones and Paul Healey are two such documentary photographers, videographers, and activists who, in their ongoing project, Moving Animals, focus on the gruesome nature of the industrialized animal agriculture industry. (See also Jo-Anne McArthur’s We Animals.)

As Jones discusses about her photo essay, “Next in Line: The Emotional Trauma We Inflict on Farmed Animals,” “Research shows that farmed animals are sentient and emotionally complex individuals: cows are able to “catch” each other’s feelings of stresssheep can recognize fear in other sheepchickens worry about the future, and pigs can take the perspective and feel the emotional state of another.” 

While these characteristics of nonhuman animals might come as no surprise to those concerned with the abuses within industrialized agriculture, the industry itself does its best to dispute such research. Last year, for instance, cognitive ethologist Marc Bekoff in his blog, Ontario Farm Organization Claims Animals Don't Think or Feel, cited the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s contribution to a report in support of an ag-gag bill as professing "We simply do not know if animals are capable of reasoning and cognitive thought." He countered, “The Ontario Federation of Agriculture claims we don't know if nonhumans think, so therefore they don't. Both [ideas] are anti-science, defy reality, and are inane…. Their misguided views support and will continue to perpetuate the extremely cruel and brutal treatment of ‘food animals’ and ignore a wealth of scientific data.”

In addition to the inhumane conditions under which animals become meat through factory farming, the connections between factory farming processes, zoonotic disease emergence and spread, and pandemics are clear. The crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 virus both exacerbated and illuminated animal abuses within industrialized animal agriculture. As a direct result of pandemic-caused factors—slaughterhouse closures, disrupted trade, and supply chain problems—untold millions of chickens, cattle and pigs were killed. Further millions of fur-farmed animals suffered similar fates. Industrial farming’s model of intense human and animal density in restricted spaces stresses the biological and mental health for members of both species. This creates a problem that ties the industry’s inhumane treatment of animals with social justice concerns for the humans involved, where economic instability and lack of insurance force workers into unsafe conditions. 

On the positive side, press coverage spotlighting these issues placed the industry under scrutiny. Indeed, a November 2020 survey by the ASPCA found the COVID-19 crisis drove United States residents’ desire to reform animal agriculture. The survey found 89% of participants were concerned about industrial animal agriculture, citing animal welfare, worker safety, or public health risks as a concern. Moreover, 85% of farmers and their families support a complete ban on new industrial animal agriculture facilities—almost twice the level of support expressed by the general public.

From another angle, the nexus is clear between animal welfare within industrialized framing settings and climate change. Intensive animal food production contributes an estimated 15% of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions to the climate crisis. This, by one account, is more greenhouse gas than is produced by the petroleum burned to power all the world’s planes, cars, ships, trains, and trucks. The methane produced, supply chain transportation, and deforestation all contribute to the industry’s climate change impacts. On this, too, the industry is fighting back. "The largest meat and dairy companies in the U.S. have spent a considerable amount of time, money, and effort into downplaying the link between animal agriculture and climate change, and into fighting climate policy more generally" says researcher Oliver Lazarus who with his co-authors Sonali McDermid and Jennifer Jacquet examined the world’s 35 largest meat and dairy companies' climate reporting and policies. "U.S. beef and dairy companies appear to act collectively in ways similar to the fossil fuel industry, which built an extensive climate change countermovement," the authors conclude. "Meat- and dairy-related trade associations have more traditionally been used to lobby for access to grazing lands, fees and manure management regulations, and to influence government regulation, but more recently they have been involved in blocking climate policy that would limit production." This means that animal agriculture companies contribute to both the physical impacts and public opinion of climate change. (Original article here.)

“We are in a complex crisis with current food production,” says Lars Angenent, an environ­mental scientist at the University of Tubingen. “The meat is cheap, but at the cost of many other things that are not sustainable.” Two of those factors are water and productive soil, both negatively impacted by intensive farming. Without changes that include shrinking industrialized agriculture’s footprint, argues Tom Philpott, agricultural correspondent for Mother Jones, the US agricultural system is on the road to collapse

The bottom line is that in addition to the abuse of the billions of animals slaughtered annually, the meat industry negatively impacts human health and the environment in ways that are significant, worsening, and place the sustainability of life on the planet at risk. The solutions are simple enough to understand, if difficult to implement. From the public health side, warnings abound that if we want to avoid the next pandemic, we need to stop factory farming. Climate scientists tell us this is a “make or break” point in time, and that the same call to change our agricultural practices applies to the climate crisis.

If indeed what is past is prologue, the stage is set; without significant change we have seen the future in this past horrific year. Yet the apparently effective ongoing lobbying by agricultural industry groups and subsequent inaction by governments continue to thwart productive movement forward.

This has prompted non-profits such as UK-based Sustainable Food Knighton, to crowdfund judicial reviews of farming practices, and one UK-based NGO, Humane Being, to launch a Scrap Factory Farming campaign. As of April 27, Humane Being had already crowdfunded almost £25,000 out of a target of £60,000 to fund possible legal proceedings against the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to ensure the government addresses issues involving factory farming’s impacts on the climate crisis and future pandemics. Human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield is spearheading this campaign to ban factory farming in the UK to better protect people, the planet and animals.

The callousness and violence of industrialized agriculture’s treatment of animals alone mandates we reconsider our relationship to them. For the sake of the planet that supports our own and other species, such an examination also includes the need to stave off new zoonotic disease pandemics and tackle the climate crisis. Envisioning and enacting interspecies futures that include saving humans and other animals both from the destruction of habitats and ecosystems and from the traumatic and deadly consequences of the killing floor provides a way forward—if we have the will to make it happen.

More Resources:
Welcome to the Anthropocene, an interdisciplinary lecture series organized by the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities.

Anti-Pandemic Diet informs the public about the connection between the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our dietary behavior.

David Quammen, 2013. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. W.W. Norton.

Merritt Clifton, 2021. COVID-19 & “The Next Big One”: Spillover revisited. Animals 24-7. recorded webinars on animals, people and the planet.

Andrew Knight: “Climate Change: The Livestock Connection” YouTube presentation.

The Last Pig: A Farmer’s Ethical Crisis chronicles one farmer’s final year on the farm as he questions his beliefs and the value of life.

Gregg Sparkman, Bobbie NJ. Macdonald, Krystal D. Caldwell, Brian Kateman, Gregory D. Boese, Cut Back or Give it Up? The Effectiveness of Reduce and Eliminate Appeals and Dynamic Norm Messaging to Curb Meat ConsumptionJournal of Environmental Psychology, 2021, 101592.

NOTE: The “Animals and COVID-19” section of this Report is copyright © 2021, the Animals & Society Institute. All rights reserved. This material may be reproduced for personal use or by not-for-profit organizations with proper credits and the web site link For other uses, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or distributed, in print or through any electronic means, without the written permission of the Animals & Society Institute. Contact


We at ASI are excited to announce the addition of two members to our Board of Directors, who will help us accomplish our vision of a compassionate world where animals flourish: Thomas Aiello and Kimberly Spanjol. Read more about them here.

ASI is seeking applications from those with non-profit finance expertise for its Board of Directors. If you have experience in nonprofit finances, we would love to talk to you. Whether you have experience working with a hands-on board or are thinking about joining a board for the first time, this may be the right opportunity for you. Learn more here.

ASI is also looking for a Grant Proposal Writer. This contracted position is responsible for actively supporting ASI programs and cultivation activities. The successful candidate will have the expertise to craft funding proposals and reports in a clear and compelling manner. Read more here.

Finally, ASI is pleased to announce that downloads of full-texts of individual articles for the ASI-managed Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS) was 31,226, a 10% gain over last year. In addition, JAAWS added three new members to its Board of Editors to increase the fledgling but growing interest in animal welfare in Asian countries: Xiang Li, Northeast Agricultural University, China; Bo ZhouNanjing Agricultural University, China; and Katsuji Uetake, Azabu University, Japan. 


ASI Board President Ken Shapiro will be keynoting at the Human-Animal Relations: Opportunities and Challenges in Changing Realities, along with Barbara J. King and Phillip Tedeschi. Hosted by The Community for Human-Animal Studies Israel (HASI) | The Israeli Anthropological Association in collaboration with The Coller-Menmon Animal Rights and Welfare Program at the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel-Aviv University, the conference will be held virtually between June 1-3, 2021, and will include special guests and participants from all over the world. Register here.

Margo DeMello’s second edition of her book, Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies, is now avalable! After 15 years directing the Human-Animal Studies Program at ASI, Margo is now an assistant professor in the anthrozoology program at Carroll College. 

This month’s LINK-Letter from the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence covers: Major bills addressing animal sexual abuse, pet custody, and cross-training and cross-reporting between child, domestic, animal, and elder abuse agencies and veterinarians are working their way through Congress and legislatures in Florida, Maine, New York, Texas, West Virginia, and Connecticut. Canada is recognizing The Link between animal abuse and human violence in child protection orders and law enforcement training. And attorneys and juvenile and family court judges are learning how to best protect all vulnerable members of families—including the pets.

The World Federation for Animals—a membership organization for animal protection groups whose purpose is uniting the movement by sharing information and developing focus on key policy issues impacting animals—has launched a newsletter series. Sign up here.

HAS Funding and Opportunities

The Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) in Waukesha, WI seeks a dedicated professional to lead the growth and development of its Animal Behavior and Training Programs. The ideal candidate must have a passion for animals and a strong interest in animal welfare. Candidates with appropriate credentials (Master’s or equivalent) may have opportunities to teach in a partnership with the Animal Behavior program at Carroll University. This and other positions are available here.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a Scholarship and Clerkship to Howard University School of Law. The $25,000 scholarship is available to a second-year law student at the University, and includes a clerkship with the nonprofit. For more information, contact media@aldf.orgNo deadline given.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has several funding opportunities for Human-Animal Interaction research. Submissions are due November 30, 2021.

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to consider the history of breeding technologies and animal welfare in cattle. Full advertisement and further details here

Podcasts, Webinars, Lectures, and Courses
This section includes both upcoming live events, and past events that were recorded.

The forum for Philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science is hosting and online public event, Who's a Good Boy?, Monday, May 17, 2021 6:00pm to 7:15pm (no time zone given, but we assume BST). The forum will address morals in nonhuman animals, and two great philosophical questions: what does it mean to be moral and what (if anything) makes humans unique?

Hosted by the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde, the Postgraduate Animal Studies Symposium will take place virtually on Monday, May 24-25, 2021.

The Society for the Psychology of Human-Animal Intergroup Relations (PHAIR) at the University of Kent is hosting a research talk May 27, 2021, 11am EDT/4pm BST with Catherine Forestell on Reducing Omnivores’ Desire and Intentions to Eat Meat.

The Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law are hosting talks for their Talking Animals, Law & Philosophy Series on May 6 and 18 and June 7, 2021. Topics include, respectively, “Animal Law: Human Duties or Animal Rights?”, “International Law, General Principles, and Animal Welfare” and “Rights-Holding Persons and the Personhood and Rights They Hold.”

New HAS Books and Monographs

Following are some recent books published of interest to the field of Human-Animal Studies.

Wendy Doniger, 2021. Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares: Horses in Indian Myth and History. University of Virginian Press.

Boria Sax, 2021. Avian Illuminations: A Cultural History of Birds. Reaktion Books.

New HAS Articles and Book Chapters
Following are some recent research articles and book chapters published in the field of Human-Animal Studies.

Phil Halper, Kenneth Williford, David Rudrauf & Perry N. Fuchs (2021). Against Neo-Cartesianism: Neurofunctional Resilience and Animal PainPhilosophical Psychology.

Merritt, M. Dances with dogs: interspecies play and a case for sympoietic enactivismAnimal Cognition, 24, 353–369 (2021). 

Peng S, Broom DM. The Sustainability of Keeping Birds as Pets: Should Any Be Kept? Animals. 2021; 11(2):582. 

Calls for Papers: Journals and Chapters

A call is out for articles for a special issue of the Journal of Ecotourism, on the topic of posthumanism and ecotourism. The call seeks original posthumanist theoretical, methodological, conceptual, and empirical manuscripts that consider how we may equitably foreground nonhumans’ (flora and fauna) rights, welfare, and agency in (eco)tourism. The deadline for abstracts is June 30, 2021.

People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice has issued a call for articles on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Human-Animal Interactions in Families, Communities and Organizations.” The call is open until June 30, 2021, but articles can be submitted at any time and will be published incrementally. Submit here.

A special issue for the journal, Philosophies, "Critical Thinking and Animal Ethics" has a call out for submissions. The goal of this issue is to encourage reflection on the status of different types of arguments and persuasive attempts about ethics and animals. This reflection should yield critical-thinking insights into how to make stronger, more persuasive, and effective arguments and cases regarding ethics and animal issues. Abstracts could be sent either via the special issue website or to guest editors via email, Nathan NobisThe deadline for final manuscript submissions is November 1, 2021. The deadline for submitting abstracts is July 1, 2021.

A call is out for articles in a special issue of Social Sciences, dealing with "Human-Animal Interactions and Issues in Criminal Justice: Toward a Humane Criminology." Guest editors Kimberly Spanjol, Cathryn Lavery, and Heath Grant, seek broad contributions of original research of application and theory of human–animal interactions in Criminal Justice. This includes issues that impact companion, wild, and farmed animals. The deadline for manuscript submissions in August 31, 2021.

You are invited to contribute a scholarly essay on the topic “Communication in Defense of Nonhuman Animals During an Extinction and Climate Crisis,” to the 2022 special issue we are editing for the open-access international journal Journalism and Media (ISSN 2673-5172). The Article Processing Charge (APC) for open access publication in this Special Issue will be waived, which means that you have the privilege to publish your paper free of charge in an open access scholarly journal. Find details hereThe submission deadline is October 31, 2021.

Calls for Papers: Conferences
and Workshops

A call is out for abstracts for The Manchester Centre for Political Theory MANCEPT Workshops 2021 panel, Politics, Animals, and Technology. The MANCEPT Workshops is an annual conference in political theory, organized under the auspices of the Manchester Centre for Political Theory. The conference will take place on September 7-10, 2021. Submission deadline is June 1, 2021.

The Humans and Other Living Beings EASA Network, a working group of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, has issued a call for participation for its biennial meeting July 6, 2021, 9:30-17:00 /CET. The program, Thinking through the “More-Than-Human”: Contestations and Collaborations, will draws scholars working with different kinds of beings into direct dialogue with another. Therefore, participants will not be asked to present a paper, but rather to enter into dialogue and foster a debate on the issues that emerge from their own particular research contexts. Participants will be grouped into smaller working groups based on the species they work with, and then bring the results of those discussions to the group as a whole. Registration deadline is June 22, 2021.

A call for papers is now open for the Anthropology and Conservation conference, to take place online October 25-29, 2021. Several of the panel topics might appeal to human-animal studies scholars. The deadline is July 2, 2021.

The Centre for Privacy Studies (University of Copenhagen) and the Kent Animal Humanities Network (University of Kent, UK) are planning an online workshop in November 2021, ANIMAL / PRIVACY: Historical and Conceptual Approaches, exploring the intersections between Privacy Studies and Animal Studies. Proposals (250-300 words) for a 20-minutes paper to contribute to the workshop are due July 31, 2021.

The 2021 annual conference of the North East Popular Culture Association (NEPCA) will be virtual, taking place Oct. 21 – 23 (EDT, Thursday evening, Friday late afternoon, Saturday morning). Proposals for the Animal and Culture area are invited. Abstracts are due August 1, 2021. 

Upcoming Conferences

Registration is open for the Sport, Animals, and Ethics (virtual) ConferenceMay 25–29, 2021. Registration is free.

(Note: I am including the following because there are many strong parallels between how humans interact with animals and the human-plant connection.) A free online conference "Toward a New Way of Being with Plants" is slated for June 17-18, 2021. The conference will explore human/plant connections, including ethics in human treatment of plants, plant sentience and communication, and opportunities for developing more respectful and reciprocal relationships between humans and plants.

Registration is open for the 2021 ISAZ virtual conference, “The Changing Nature of Human-Animal Relationships,” June 22–24, 2021.

The registration page is open for the virtual Animal Advocacy Conference produced by the University of Kent, UK, “Insights from the Social Sciences, June 30-July 2, 2021Find info and register here.  

As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of activity and progress going on today in the field of Human-Animal Studies, and we always invite your input and participation.

Your donation to the Animals & Society Institute will enable us to continue to expand the field in many more ways and work in conjunction with others around the world who share these goals.

Thank you for supporting our Human-Animal Studies efforts!

Gala Argent, PhD
Human-Animal Studies Program Director