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The Human-Animal Studies Report
November 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 zoonotic disease emergence, and the nexus between the farming of mink for fur, COVID-19 and public health. (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’s Impacts on Animals: The Case of the Mink 

The understanding that viruses spread reciprocally from humans to domesticated animals and vice versa is of course not new. Zoonotic diseases such as bird and swine influenzas have caused devastation in many instances, with the most well-known and severe to date the global 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic caused by genes of avian origin. Such instances do not typically end well for the domestic animals involved. As recently as early November, 2020, the government of the United Kingdom dealt with two instances of bird flu, a low-pathogenic H5N2 strain and a highly pathenogenic H5N8, by causing 14,000 to be slaughtered. 

Similar bird influenzas such as the H5N1, discovered in 1996 and prevalent across Asia and Africa, have plagued the poultry industry. More than 240 million birds—including chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese—have either died from that virus or were slaughtered in an effort to stop it from spreading. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, H5N1 has caused over 700 infections in humans worldwide and the mortality rate of 60% is high for humans. 

Transmission of bird influenzas to humans usually occur with direct or close contact with infected birds. The confined and unsanitary conditions in which farmed-animal production takes place, the stress of the situation on the animals that lowers their immunity, and the close contact between these animals and the farm workers creates a perfect environment enabling such animal-to-human transmission. Although rare, the viruses then move on to be passed through human-to-human channels. What concerns health officials is the very serious likelihood of such viruses mutating within the animals, becoming through those mutations more easily transmissible between humans, and then being passed to humans. This potential is exactly what spurred concern when both mink and the humans working on mink farms became ill with COVID-19 this year. 

The first cases of coronavirus in mink were noted in spring in Europe. Scientists noticed the first spillover of COVID-19 from humans to mink, and mink to human, in April 2020 in the Netherlands. Since that time similar instances have been found in Denmark, Spain, Italy, the USA, Sweden, Greece, and most recently, Poland. With regard to these infections, according the The Lancet: Infection Diseases, the concern has been the possibility of the virus within the mink who had been infected by humans being passed back to humans after mutating in ways that might render human vaccines under development useless. Furthermore, other animals farmed by their fur such as foxes and raccoon dogs may infect humans with coronaviruses, and presumably the potential for such mutations exist with them as well. Although it is unclear whether the virus had been passed from humans to the mink or vice versa, in July, Spain culled nearly 100,000 farmed mink at one farm alone after seven staff members and 87% of the animals tested positive for the coronavirus. (The scope of that slaughter at one farm alone is simply unfathomable.) By that time, over one million mink had been slaughtered in the Netherlands, and that figure has grown worldwide since that time. 

It does now seem the culling frenzy might have been ill informed. By November 10th the Danish government had postponed its ongoing plan to cull all of the country’s 15-plus million farmed mink when it was pointed out both that the mutations noted did not pose a serious threat to undermining human vaccines. Of course, whether the mink were gassed for a COVID-19 cull or later for their fur are equal evils for those animals involved.

Animal protection advocates are spotlighting the spread of COVID-19 within captive mink populations to (again) call for the ending of fur farming. Dr. Joanna Swabe, of Human Society International, said, “In addition to fur factory farming being inherently cruel, the potential for zoonotic disease spread, and for mink fur farms in particular to act as reservoirs for coronaviruses, incubating pathogens transmissible to humans, is an unavoidably compelling reason for the world to call time on fur farming.”

Some governments are heeding that call. Fur farming is already banned in several countries, including the UK, Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Luxembourg and Belgium. In other countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, it highly regulated. France has announced a fur farming ban to be completed by 2025, as has the Dutch parliament, with a phase out by 2024 (recently changed to 2022), Israel has announced it will ban the fur trade, and a bill banning fur farming is making its way through the Polish parliament

The issue has not escaped popular culture. A November 13, 2020 piece in the fashion magazine, Vogue, “Millions of Mink Being Slaughtered in Denmark Proves Why Fashion Needs to Disown Fur” declares the fashion industry finally needs to disown fur. It notes, “No longer the marker of luxury it was, fur is now often seen as a retrograde product mired in unjustifiable ethical issues.” On the same day, in what could usher in the beginning of the end for the global fur trade, the world’s largest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur, announced it will close its doors within the next two to three years

The case of the COVID-19/mink/human connection highlights not only another instance of the unnecessary cruelties and deaths caused by the fur farming trade, but also our shared continuities and deep interconnectedness with other animals. If the trend to do away with fur farming holds, perhaps we might view this positively, as an instance of human awakening brought about by COVID-19. I would like to think so. But whether this collective human decision shows actual concern for the suffering of these animals or mere fretfulness and alarm aimed at human self-preservation, we’ll take it—for the animals.


The latest issue of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS), 24(4) is out. 

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.

This issue includes this limited time open-access, and following, articles:

LIMITED TIME OPEN-ACCESSDevelopment and Validation of Broiler Welfare Assessment Methods for Research and On-farm Audits. Meaghan M. Meyer , Anna K. Johnson & Elizabeth A. Bobeck, Pages: 433-446.

Companion Animals:
Survey of Massachusetts Animal Shelter Record-Keeping Practices in 2015. Theresa Vinic, Seana Dowling-Guyer, Joann Lindenmayer, Anne Lindsay, Richard Panofsky & Emily McCobb, Pages: 385-401.

Influence of the Competition Context on Arousal in Agility Dogs. Alison M. Carpenter , Jonathan H. Guy & Matthew C. Leach, Pages: 410-423.

Farm Animals:

Kerli Mõtus, Tarmo Niine, Arvo Viltrop & Ulf Emanuelson, Pages: 447-466.


Social Behavior of a Reproducing Pair of the Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) in Captivity. Filip J. Wojciechowski , Katarzyna A. Kaszycka & Milada Řeháková, Pages: 493-507

Isabel Callealta, Imke Lueders, Ilse Luther-Binoir & Andre Ganswindt, Pages: 508-519.

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.


ASI’s Human-Animal Studies Facebook page continues to grow into a robust, interesting and informative international community, with members so far from the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Poland and Austria. Spread the word!

This month’s LINK-Letter from the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence covers family court judge training on how animal abuse affects domestic violence and elder abuse cases, and how police officers in Ontario are receiving mandatory training on animal abuse’s Links to other crimes, among other topics.

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College, UK, are seeking pet owners to take part in a national survey to chart puppy buying behaviours before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Pandemic Puppies” study will compare how and why puppies were bought between January 2019 and now, to gain an understanding of buying behaviors and intentions. The survey is open to every dog owner in the UK who purchased a puppy of any breed or cross-breed between 1 January 2019 and now. The puppy must have been below 16 weeks old when it was brought home and must have been purchased from a breeder or private seller, rather than adoption from a formal rescue organization.

Researchers at the University of Milan are looking for dog owners’ help with a Dog Personality Survey. The aim of this study is to compare various scales for the measurement of canine personality. Specifically, this study is comparing four scales measuring different aspects of canine personality, in order to produce single complete and concise instrument. 

Researchers from the University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand, want individuals who have adopted a ‘rescue’ dog (or more than one) and been living with them for over 6 months to fill out a survey about life with rescue dogs. You must be over 18 to participate. 

Hybrid Lab Network’s Learning Teaching and Training Activity, "Alive Together I: Human/Animal Relationships in Crisis?" with artist Louise Mackenzie, ethologist Anna Olsson and guest speaker, artist Maja Smrekar, sets the foundations for exploring human/animal relationships across disciplines. The course will take place online over 5 days, spread across 2 weeks: 30th November, 4th December and 9th to 11th December 2020.

The Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law Veterinary Association (AWSELVA) is hosting an event “Looking back on developments in animal welfare over the last quarter century” on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. The event is designed for researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, students in animal welfare, animal science, veterinary, animal ethics, animal law, animal  charities, animal forensics, veterinary nurses, farming, and agriculture. 

Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Social and Political Movements at the University of Kent,  Corey Wrenn will be leading a panels discussion on “Activism Amidst COVID-19” on December 2, 16:00-17:00 (UTC).

Will Kymlicka, co-author of Zoopolis: A Political Theory of Animal Rights, will discuss the role of animals in the political process in “Towards an Animal-Friendly Democracy,” a virtual lecture, on Friday., Dec. 4, 2-3:30 p.m. EST. To RSVP for the lecture, hosted by NYU Animal Studies, please visit the event page is presenting a webinar, “Animals as Drivers of Climate Change,” on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 from 12-noon to 2:30pm EST (Eastern Standard Time, USA). A focal point of this session will be the link between agriculture and climate change. They would also like to gather thoughts on envisioning a post-animal agriculture future and on the role and status of animals in a changing climate. 

Andrew Knight addressed topic of “Climate Change: The Livestock Connection” in a recorded seminar.

In this recorded webinar, “Chimpanzees & Dolphins: from Research Subjects to Legal Persons” Lori Marino of the Whale Sanctuary Project and Mary Lee Jensvold of the Fauna foundation discuss why all great apes and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) should be retired to sanctuaries and how this can be accomplished.

HAS Funding and Opportunities

Applications are open from the Tiny Beam Fund for fellowships and research grants for tackling problems related to global industrial animal agriculture with deadlines of November 24, 2020.
• Fellowship Awards of up to $25,000 are available for individuals.
• Research Planning Grants of up to $10,000 are available for institutions.

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. The next deadline is November 30, 2020.

The Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin, Germany is advertising a three-year post-doc beginning September 1, 2021, for the working group "Reclaiming Turtles All the Way Down: Animal Cosmologies and Paths to Indigenous Sciences." The application deadline is January 15, 2021.

Harvard Law School's Animal Law & Policy Program is now accepting Visiting Fellow applications for the 2021-22 Academic Year. The Animal Law & Policy Visiting Fellowships provide opportunities for outstanding scholars from a range of disciplines and legal practitioners to spend from three months to one academic year undertaking research, writing, and scholarly engagement on academic projects in the field of animal law and policy. The deadline to submit applications is January 15, 2021.

The Human-Animal Bond Research Insititute (HABRI) has released its 2021 request for proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. Proposals are due February 11, 2021

A funded Ph.D position on “Theories and practices of justice beyond the human” is available through the University of Sydney. This emergent research theme aims to understand how concepts, practices and institutions of justice need to be transformed to take into account the interests and flourishing of all beings, human and more than human. No deadline given.

New HAS Books and Monographs

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

Carol J. Adams, 2020. The Pornography of Meat: New and Updated Edition. USA: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Arnold Arluke and Andrew Rowan. 2020Underdogs: Pets, People, and Poverty. University of Georgia Press.

Katja Guenther, 2020. The Lives and Deaths of Shelter Animals. Stanford University Press.

John Hartigan, Jr., 2020. Shaving the Beasts: Wild Horses and Ritual in Spain. Minnesota University Press.

Kathy Merlock Jackson, Kathy Shepherd Stolley and Lisa Lyon Payne (Eds), 2020Animals and Ourselves: Essays on Connections and Blurred Boundaries. McFarland.

New HAS Articles and Book Chapters

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

E.P. Derryberry el al., "Singing in a silent spring: Birds respond to a half-century soundscape reversion during the COVID-19 shutdown," Science (2020). … 1126/science.abd5777

Jack Harrison, 2020, From the horse’s mouth: musical ‘originality’ in freestyle dressage, Ethnomusicology Forum, DOI: 10.1080/17411912.2020.1831395

Angie Pepper, 2020. Glass Panels and Peepholes: Nonhuman Animals and the Right to Privacy. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.  

Robino, A., Corrigan, V. K., Anderson, B., Werre, S., Farley, J. P., Marmagas, S. W., & Buechener-Maxwell, V., 2020. College student mental health in an animal-assisted intervention program: A preliminary study. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. 
Walter Veit and Heather Browning, 2021. Perspectival pluralism for animal welfare. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 11(9).

Calls for Papers: Journals and Chapters

Editors Susan McHugh (University of New England) and Robert McKay (University of Sheffield) have put out a call for proposals for chapters for a forthcoming volume titled Animal Satire. The interest is on essays that focus on animals, cultural history of what might be called animalist satire, and/or of animal imagery in the history of satire. The editors’ firm preference is for contributions that find nonhuman animals themselves somewhere in the satirical field of vision. For more information and to submit your abstract, email and smchugh@une.eduAbstracts of 300 words are sought by November 30, 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 wendy.wood@colostate.eduThe 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. 

A call is out for chapters in an edited volume, The Nonhuman in American Literary Naturalism, to be edited by Kenneth K Brandt and Karin M Danielsson. Essay proposals of a maximum of 500 words on any topic relating to the nonhuman in American literary naturalism are due by the deadline of the 8 January 2021. Please include a title, a maximum of five key words, and a brief biography. We aim to reply to respondents by 25 February 2021, and full drafts of essays (5000–8000 words) will be due 1 September 2021. Please send a 500-word maximum proposal and a brief biography to and

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 is April, 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.

Calls for Papers: Conferences
and Workshops

A call is out for presentations for a session at the European Conference on Politics and Gender, 7-9 July 2021, University of Ljubljana, with the theme “Fundamental Challenges to European Politics: Gender, Race, Intersectionality, and the More-Than-Human.” The conveners welcome empirical studies as well as theoretical or philosophical essays. Ideally, the panel would host a mix of these approaches. Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words, as well as a short author biography, to by November 29, 2020.

As a celebration of emerging voices, the University of Exeter’s Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics (EASE) working group invites current and prospective students interested in human-animal encounters to participate in our upcoming 2021 conference: “Anthrozoology as International Practice: A Student Conference in Animal Studies.” The event is scheduled to take place virtually March 4-5, 2021. The theme of the inaugural conference is ”Emerging Voices where we will welcome presentations from students and early career researchers in anthrozoology and related fields (such as human-animal studies, natural sciences or philosophy). Abstracts on topics in all areas of anthrozoology will be considered, and applicants from any college or country are welcomed. This conference aims to spotlight research being undertaken by students around the world, in the hopes of building a global support network. Presentations based on PhD research proposals are also welcome. The submission deadline is December 15, 2020.

An international and interdisciplinary conference held by the Research Centre “European Dream Cultures” of the German Research Foundation (DFG) has issued a call for papers on “Dreams and the Animal Kingdom in Culture and Aesthetic Media” to be held September 23-25, 2021 at Saarland University, Saarbrücken (Germany). Submit proposals to no later than January, 15 2021.

The virtual Animal Advocacy Conference, “Insights from the Social Sciences,” will take place June 30 – July 2, 2021. This conference uniquely bridges the gap between academic researchers and activists/professionals in the field of vegan and animal rights advocacy. To contact the conference organizers, please email submission portal will open on December 1, 2020 and will close on February 28, 2021.

Meetings, Conferences and Presentations

Below are upcoming meetings and conferences for which the submission deadlines have passed, or for which submissions were not requested.

Presentations from the ISAZ 2020 conference, including recordings of the live events and all pre-recorded presentations, are now available online

Sessions from the International Animal Rights Conference are now available on the group’s YouTube channel. 

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