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The Human-Animal Studies Report
July 2020
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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

Our Animals and COVID-19 section continues to present and analyze aspects of how the virus is affecting animals and people. This month I focus on the effects on wild animals of the decreased human activity and mobility caused by lockdowns around the globe. (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 as well as you can, 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

The Pandemic, Wildlife and the “Anthropause”

Despite the inconvenience, uncertainties and concern we are all facing because of the pandemic, there are some high points for animals. The unprecedented lock-downs, quarantines and social distancing—whether imposed or self-initiated— that have kept us at home have had both positive and potentially challenging impacts on wildlife around the world.

Fewer humans out and about and less traffic and transport have allowed wild animals access to areas they have previously avoided. Coyotes, bears, foxes, deer and bobcats are enjoying areas usually reserved for crowds of human visitors at U.S. national parks, elk are using sidewalks in Canada, and  lions are napping on roads in South Africa's Kruger National Park

Beyond venturing into areas they previously avoided, outlined in this  National Geographic article  is another advantage of the lack of human activity: the notable decline in roadkill. During the peak of the lockdowns in the United States in March and April, traffic fell by as much as 73 percent, and deer, elk, moose, bear, mountain lion, and other large wild animal fatalities dipped 58 percent. Road deaths of dogs, sheep, and other domestic animals show a similar plunge. These reductions in roadkill benefit humans as well as wildlife; each year an estimate of 200 people die in car crashes involving animals, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  In Maine, where volunteers count up amphibians and help them across the roads , wood frogs, salamanders and newt—those animals most vulnerable to roadkill—fared twice as well this spring as in previous years. And in Dorset, UK,  an endangered species of seahorse has returned to its former stronghold due to the coronavirus lockdown , with marine conservationists crediting the seahorse comeback to ecosystem recovery due to fewer people and less boat traffic in the area.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also  slowed international shipping and cruise ships, to the advantage of whales and other marine mammals sensitive to noise . One study by wildlife biologists in Glacier Bay, Alaska has been following and recording the vocalizations of Humpback whales for 35 years, and this year things are different—the loudest sounds underwater in May 2020 were less than half as loud as those in May 2018. (The article has audio of the two instances.) This means that the whales have to work less hard to accommodate the noise, which is presumed to be to them much like people at a loud party. "In order to communicate with each other, they might have to be close together," says wildlife biologist Christine Gabriele. "They might have to repeat themselves. Or they might have to wait for a quieter moment before they start vocalizing." With the decrease in boat traffic Gabriele notes, "It's much quieter," Gabriele says. "Just by listening to it you can tell." A similar phenomenon is noted in the waters near Vancouver, British Columbia, home to the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, where  underwater noise was found to be around only half as loud in April  than a few months before. 

While we can only assume this gap in noise pollution generated by cruise and commercial ships offers a welcomed respite to these intelligent social mammals who communicate vocally, we can be certain that "the pandemic has created this unexpected opportunity for science, kind of a once in a lifetime chance to look at whale communication behavior in its natural, undisturbed form," Gabriele says. 

More broadly, the pandemic-induced reduction in human mobility—which scholars Christian Rutz et al. have termed the “anthropause”—is  allowing researchers to quantify the effects of human activity on all types of wildlife . The report’s authors call for researchers to pool their data and expertise to develop general insights about the extent to which modern human mobility affects wildlife—across different species, geographic regions, ecosystems, and levels of human activity—and note several initiatives that are at work preparing global-scale collaborative research projects to achieve this. 

And while this can include the positive impacts of decreased human activity, Rutz et al. note that anthropause studies can also look at ways in which the pandemic may have created new challenges for wildlife.: “For example, various urban-dwelling animals, like rats, gulls or monkeys, have become so reliant on food discarded or provided by humans that they may struggle to make ends meet under current conditions. Interestingly, in some countries where lockdowns allow outdoor exercise, humans are flocking to green spaces in or near metropolitan areas potentially disturbing resident wildlife. At the same time, reduced human presence in more remote areas may potentially expose endangered species, such as rhinos or raptors, to increased risk of poaching or persecution. Finally, concerns have been raised that, in low-income countries, economic hardship may force increased exploitation of natural resources.”

One example of the latter instance above concerns wildlife in Kenya, and across Africa, where the  Coronavirus is crushing tourism—and cutting off a lifeline for wildlife . Tourism there “underpins a symbiotic human-wildlife ecosystem—the private conservancy—that is essential to wildlife conservation in many African countries. The model is simple: Community shareholders, mostly cattle herders, receive tourism revenue from wildlife safaris as compensation for lost grazing land, and salaried jobs proliferate at new hotels and for rangers. Wildlife becomes more valuable alive than dead, disincentivizing poaching.” By late June Kenya's tourism operators had lost $750 million, 82 percent had put employees on unpaid leave, and shareholder payouts were reduced or suspended. Because of this, “communities are considering a return to grazing, jeopardizing decades of wildlife conservation efforts across the continent’s vast grasslands.”

It is inevitable that this decrease in human activity will end, and it remains to be seen how these changes will affect these animals in the long term. Human-wildlife conflicts, for instance, may increase once people return to the areas wildlife have come to inhabit during the anthropause. "Probably the wildlife are really rapidly getting used to having a place to themselves and using areas closer to where people would normally occur but are not found now,"  University of Alberta biologist Colleen Cassady St. Clair told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  “So I think the big surprises are going to come when those areas reopen." When parks open up again, St. Clair says, “We should be ready to cut [the animals] some slack and to use extra precautions and just double down on all the things we know we should do."

It is also possible that changes caused by the pandemic might carry forward. For instance, if working remotely becomes normalized, this might prompt a reduction in our need to drive, which in turn could have multiple positive impacts on people, animals and the environment. 

Whatever the future holds, the observations and studies that are being conducted during this time have already shown both known and unknown impacts we have on wildlife, and foregrounded solutions that we might use toward mitigating the results of our enormously imposing human footprint. For instance, the roadkill article above notes that studies like the one reported can help people appreciate the importance of making highways safer for wildlife. “Solutions for mitigating wildlife-people collisions include fencing off roads and building bridges or tunnels for animals to cross safely,” says Renee Seidler, a former road ecologist for the state of Idaho. "It’s expensive, it’s a huge change on the landscape, it can be really stressful for the animals at some level,” she says. “But it may be one of the best solutions, because human nature is incredibly hard to change. It’s way easier to change wildlife behaviors.”

Finally, the insights gathered from the global anthropause initiatives, the authors hope, “will inspire realistic, evidence-based proposals for improving human–wildlife coexistence…, will challenge humanity to reconsider our future on Earth [and allow us to] forge a mutually beneficial coexistence with other species.” They note, “It would be wonderful if careful research during this period of crisis helped us to find innovative ways of reining in our increasingly expansive lifestyles, to rediscover how important a healthy environment is for our own well-being, and to replace a sense of owning with a sense of belonging. We hope that people will choose to hear the wake-up call.”

We hope so too.


The latest issue of the  Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science  (JAAWS) , 23(3) is out, with the articles below! Managed and edited by ASI, JAAWS  is the leading peer-reviewed journal on the science of animal welfare for veterinarians, scientists and public policy makers. It presents articles and reports on practices that demonstrably enhance the welfare of wildlife, companion animals and animals used in research, agriculture and zoos. Find more information on JAAWS  here .

Jennifer L. Federico & Ron E. Banks. Pages: 253-264

Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky , Lucia Medina , Karola Dillenburger & Camilo Hurtado-Parrado. Pages: 265-301

Kimberly Woodruff & David R. Smith. Pages: 302-314

Adam Buckland & Nicoli Nattrass. Pages: 315-324

Heather Browning. Pages: 325-337

Stanisław Łapiński , Joanna Orel , Piotr Niedbała , Weronika Kucharska , Magdalena Jakubowska ,Agnieszka Lisowska-Lis , Barbara Tombarkiewicz & Marcin W. Lis. Pages: 338-347

Jaime Mondragón-Ancelmo , Patricia García Hernández , Rolando Rojo Rubio , Ignacio Arturo Domínguez Vara , Marcia del Campo Gigena & Fabio Napolitano. Pages: 348-355

Tizeta Bekele , Barbara Szonyi , Aklilu Feleke & Delia Grace. Pages: 356-365

M. Placci , G. Marliani , S. Sabioni , G. Gabai , E. Mondo , P. Borghetti , E. De Angelis & Pier Attilio Accorsi. Pages: 366-377

Lisa Millican , Raphael Vanderstichel , J. McClure & Kathleen MacMillan. Pages: 378-384

Note: The Animals & Society Institute offers Scholar and Student Scholar members a discount JAAWS subscriptions.  JAAWS  may be ordered directly from the  Taylor & Francis website  for $123 USD per year for personal subscription which includes both print and online access. The discounted ASI member price is $42 USD and includes both print and online access.

Additionally, ASI members have access to  Full Articles   for Volume 1 thru 2 years before current issue. Should you decide to  become an ASI member , please email  once your account has been verified for your discounted ordering information.

HAS Funding and Opportunities

The Sentience Institute is  looking for a researcher to work with them on understanding moral circle expansion and related social phenomena , particularly in the contexts of animal ethics or artificial intelligence. This position offers a lot of flexibility with few requirements other than the production of high-quality research that fits within  our mission . We are open to a variety of social science methods: qualitative (e.g. historical case studies, interviews, conceptual analysis), quantitative (e.g. nationally representative surveys, behavioral experiments, analysis of existing industry and survey data), or mixed methods. The position is full-time, US based and can be remote (although they are unable to sponsor US visas).  The application deadline is July 31, 2020 .

The Wellcome Trust in the UK has funded a major interdisciplinary project 'Feed the Birds-Do Not Feed the Animals' exploring a range of issues relating to the non-utilitarian feeding of animals—particularly garden birds and cats. The project will be recruiting PhD students and Postdocs.  The team will hold a webinar on Thursday July 30, 11.00-1300 (UK time) . This webinar will introduce the project, the team and outline the research positions that we are looking to recruit. If you have any queries about the PhD places or the Postdoc in anthropology, please contact

Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Program is inviting  immediate applications for a full-time, six-month Fellowship  to manage a research project studying policy responses to live animal markets, also called “wet markets”—sites around the world that have been known to facilitate the transmission of zoonotic diseases like avian flu, SARS, and COVID-19. NYU’s Center for Environmental and Animal Protection, University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and potentially other academic institutions will be collaborating with HLS on this project. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible. Work will commence as soon as a candidate is selected. The Fellow does not need to live in the Cambridge area as all work will be performed remotely. For further information, contact Chris Green at .

Applications are now open for funded PhD scholarships  at Curtin University for domestic Australian candidates working in areas aligned with the research program Posthumanities, Animalities, Environments: Transformative Concepts and Methods for the Anthropocene No deadline given.   Contact: Matthew Chrulew < >

This sub-section allows us all to assist established and emerging researchers in understanding aspects of human-animal relationships. (And I don’t know about you, but I find them fun.) Let’s help out these scholars!

Researchers at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia, are asking pet owners over 18 who read and write English to  assist in a study exploring the risks and benefits of pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic . The study examined relationships between pet owner wellbeing and health, and pet welfare. 

New HAS Books and Monographs

Following are some of the books out this month that we are excited about!

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

Calarco, M., 2021.  Animal Studies: The Key Concepts . London: Routledge, 

Fenske, Michaela and Tschofen, Bernhard, 2020.  Managing the Return of the Wild: Human Encounters with Wolves in Europe London: Routledge.

Vink, Janneke. 2020.  The Open Society and Its Animals .  The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

New HAS Articles and Book Chapters

Following are some recent research articles and book chapters published in the field of Human-Animal Studies.

Arcari, P., Probyn-Rapsey, F., & Singer, H., 2020. Where species don’t meet: Invisibilized animals, urban nature and city limits.  Environment and Planning E: Nature and pace

Anjum, Tasneem, 2020.  Ecofeminism: Exploitation of Women and Nature International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences , 5(4) Jul-Aug 2020.

Fitzgerald, A. J., Barrett, B. J., Gray, A., & Cheung, C. H., 2020. The Connection Between Animal Abuse, Emotional Abuse, and Financial Abuse in Intimate Relationships: Evidence From a Nationally Representative Sample of the General Public.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Gordon, Jeremy G., 2020. A fowl politics of urban dwelling. Or, Ybor City’s republic of noise,  Journal of Urban Affairs

McCubbin, Sandra G. & Van Patter, Lauren E., 2020. Trophy Hunters & Crazy Cat Ladies: exploring cats and conservation in North America and Southern Africa through intersectionality.  Gender, Place & Culture , DOI:  10.1080/0966369X.2020.1791802

Mulvenna, A., 2020.  Mapping Child-Animal Care Relations in Shaun Tan's Tales from Outer Suburbia .   Journal of Childhood Studies , 454(2), 67-84.

Pendergrast, N., 2020. The vegan shift in the Australian animal movement,  International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy , ahead-of-print.

Sze, J., 2020. Race, Animality, and Animal Studies.  American Quarterly , 72(2), 497-505.  doi:10.1353/aq.2020.0028 .

Walker, Rebecca L., 2020. The Unfinished Business of Respect for Autonomy: Persons, Relationships, and Nonhuman Animals, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, jhaa016,

Wauthier, L., & Williams, J. M., 2020. A Qualitative Study of Children’s Accounts of Cruelty to Animals: Uncovering the Roles of Trauma, Exposure to Violence, and Attachment.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence

Westerlaken, M. 2020. What is the opposite of speciesism? On relational care ethics and illustrating multi-species-isms.  International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy , Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

White, Richard, 2021.  Towards Trans-species Social and Spatial Justice through Critical Animal Geographies, Anarchist Praxis and a Total Liberation Ethic . In: Edward Elgar, ed.  A Research Agenda for Animal Geographies

Calls for Papers: Journals

A call is out for proposed articles for a special Issue of the journal  Religions , entitled “ Gender, Nature and Religious Re-enchantment in the Anthropocene .” This special Issue aims to put gender and religion center stage in discussing more-than-human sociality in the Anthropocene. We welcome theoretical papers as well as extended case studies that discuss the central topic cross-culturally and from different disciplinary perspectives. We aim to include a variety of studies in rural, urban and religiously diverse contexts. Please submit a paper proposal including a (preliminary) title and short abstract (maximum of 250 words) by August 15, 2020.

The Human Animal Interaction (HAI) Section of the American Psychological Association has issued a  call for papers  for a special issue covering “Therapies Incorporating Horses to Benefit People: What are They and How are They Distinct?” Please direct any inquiries (e.g., suitability, format, scope, etc.) about this special issue to the guest editor: Wendy Wood The deadline for manuscript submittal is November 30, 2020.

Call for papers: Special Issue of the journal  Diversity  on " Humans and Wild Animals: Interactions in Deep Time, Recent History, and Now. Deadline for manuscript submissions is December 1, 2020.  

The open-access journal, Animals , will publish a special issue on " Social Isolation and the Roles That Animals Play in Supporting the Lives of Humans: Lessons for COVID19 ." Deadline for manuscript submissions: April, 30 2021. 

Calls for Papers: Conferences
and Workshops

Editor’s note: Assume that events noted within this HAS E-News are in flux. Although I have left calls and notifications for conferences in, I suggest you contact the conference organizers to ascertain whether or not gatherings of interest will occur.

This is a  call for panelists for a special roundtable on Political Ecologies of COVID-19  for the Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN), “Contested natures: power, politics prefiguration,” which will be held virtually 22-25 September 2020. As an area of inquiry that examines the intersections and mutual constitution of power and environment across scale, political ecology is well suited to examine key dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its emergence, the routes through which it travels, and its impacts. In this roundtable, we aim to bring together contributions that advance a political ecology of COVID-19. We invite contributions that can shed light on particular themes and processes but also develop a more wide-reaching conversation around what a political ecology of COVID-19 might look like and how it might contribute to building a more just and sustainable world. Send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Libby Lunstrum < > and Amber Huff < >. We particularly encourage contributions from under-represented scholars including those from the Global South.  The deadline is August 10, 2020.

The European Association for Critical Animal Studies has issued a call for presentation proposals for  a conference, Animal Futures: Animal rights in activism and academia , to be held in Viljandi, Estonia on May 8-9, 2021.  The deadline is September, 30, 2020. 

Save the Date: The Minding Animals— Animals and Climate Emergency Conference  (ACEC) conference and events will be held over 22 to 29 July, 2021, in Sydney, Australia, in a central Sydney city venue. A conference registration website and the call for abstracts will appear mid-year. In the meantime, please see  for further information. For information, please contact Rod Bennison at .

Meetings, Conferences and Presentations

Below are upcoming meetings and conferences for which the submission deadlines have passed, or for which submissions were not requested. Again, given the COVID-19 situation, please contact the conference conveners to confirm the conference is still being held. 

Amid coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions,  Animal Place  has organized the Farmed Animal Conference E-Summit (FACES), a new and free online event featuring leading figures in the animal activist community, such as moral philosopher and author of Animal Liberation Peter Singer. Additionally, the summit will feature Animal Place executive director Kim Sturla, author Melanie Joy (Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows), author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (When Elephants Weep and The Face on Your Plate), and evolutionary biologist and author Marc Bekoff (The Emotional Lives of Animals), among others. The summit replaces the Farmed Animal Conference that Animal Place usually hosts at its 600-acre sanctuary in Northern California. To register for FACES, or if you are an organization or activist interested in fundraising as an affiliate, visit The summit will take place on August 3-9 .

The 67th meeting of the Society for the Study of Ethics & Animals will be held on August 12th via Zoom . This workshop will have a pre-read format. If you'd like to join the e-list for the papers and conference link, email:

The ISAZ 2020 conference will be going virtual,  September 3-5, 2020 . In addition, the satellite seminar, "Putting Animals at the Centre of Animal Assistance" held virtually on  Tuesday, September 1st  is FREE for all ISAZ members. The conference theme is "One Health, One Welfare: Wellbeing for All in Human-Animal Interactions." This year's virtual conference will feature five live expert plenaries, seven live interactive workshops, and almost 200 oral/poster presentations that you can access at your leisure. Join us to share and hear about cutting edge anthrozoology research from international researchers around the globe.  View the preliminary schedule of live events.

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