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The Human-Animal Studies Report
October 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 use the COVID-19 pandemic as a springboard to focus on the nexus between climate change-induced habitat loss, subsequent human and animal migrations, and pandemic emergence. (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: [email protected], and if possible include a URL link to your project or announcement.

Animals and COVID-19

Of Climate Change, Animals and Pandemics

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) shows no sign of letting up soon. As the northern hemisphere moves into colder weather, an uptick in cases is materializing. Right now, much attention is focused on finding ways to defeat the virus and return global human life and mobility to some semblance of our pre-pandemic realities. As we look forward, it is important to recall that this illness came to us via zoonotic transmission, and to recognize that dangers inherent in aspects of the human-animal interface remain—and likely are intensifying—for both human and non-human animals.

Six out of ten infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates tens of thousands of Americans become ill annually from diseases spread from animals. Among them are zoonotic influenza, Salmonellosis, West Nile virus, Plague, Emerging coronaviruses, Rabies, Brucellosis and Lyme disease. Furthermore, emerging infectious diseases are increasing.

What might not seem so apparent is that many anthropogenic factors that contribute to zoonotic disease emergence also feature into climate change issues. These include human population growth requiring more space for food production, industrialized food production itself, globalization and urbanization, and climate changes that are forcing humans and other animals to migrate and redistribute geographically. In what follows, I assess this latter factor and its resultant effects.

As Bill McKibben notes in his review of Mark Lynas’ new book, Our Final Warning, “Researchers once hoped that modest warming of two degrees might actually slightly increase food production, but ‘now these rosy expectations look dangerously naïve.’ He cites recent studies predicting that two degrees will reduce ‘global food availability’ by about 99 calories a day [and] the pain will not be equally or fairly shared…. Current warming means everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is effectively moving southward at about 12.5 miles a year. That’s half a millimeter a second, which is actually easy to see with the naked eye: ‘a slow-moving giant conveyor belt’ transporting us ‘deeper and deeper towards the sub-tropics at the same speed as the second hand on a small wristwatch.’

The climate crisis is already driving mass human migrations around the globe. Maps are readily available that show further, anticipated climate change-caused migrations, with refugees fleeing sea level risetemperature increase and resource scarcity. The redistribution of life on earth is not limited to humans. As their previous habitats become less and less hospitable, animals, too, are searching for homes more like those to which they are adapted. For land animals, this means moving to cooler, higher elevations habitats, while marine animals are moving to colder, deeper waters. 

I can speak to climate crisis migration directly. In 2018, I relocated my multi-species family consisting of humans, horses, dogs and birds from California’s Sierra Nevada foothills to northern Illinois. This was not a joyous decision. It was, rather, one forced upon me after observing the environment around us changing. First, over decades I’d watched the wildflowers, particularly one of my favorites that blankets the foothills in gorgeous blue sweeps, the lupine, bloom earlier and earlier each year. The May blooms became April blooms, then March then February. Over those same decades the fire season, previously limited primarily to the month of August, started earlier and lasted longer, with by 2018 spotter planes and plumes of smoke a daily occurrence from June through November. The last few years, for those seven months we were on constant standby with a go-bag by the door lest we received last-minute notification to evacuate nine beings. The final sign came not from a news source but from the ecosystem itself. That last year, I saw on my own acreage plants in the landscape and birds at the feeders that I’d never seen before, moving up from the valley into the mountain foothills in search of a cooler place to survive. It was then I realized we should follow their lead. The relief I felt at having our little pod (more) safe (for now) has lessened neither my grief at the loss of a place I loved nor my anxiety for the people, creatures, and biome I left behind. Moreover, I am not unaware that my own experience and emotions over this dwindle in comparison to all those of any species who make a living off the land, any land, and are going through similar, and likely worse, uncertainties and disruptions. I was able to move and had a place to move to; others are not so fortunate.

A review article in ScienceBiodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being by Gretta Pecl and colleagues notes that in 2017 at least 25% and perhaps as much as 85% of Earth’s estimated 8.7 million plant and animal species are already shifting ranges in response to climate change. We can assume these percentages are higher in 2020. The article points out that this unprecedented species redistribution of life on Earth has numerous implications for both the impacted animals and human-well-being. In a broader sense, human and animal forced migrations due to climate change, coupled with ongoing population growth, mean that there will likely be many more instances of human encroachment on wild animal habitat. From the animal side, this loss of habitat can be devastating to already stressed species. From the human side, this means that interactions with wild animals with the potential to serve as zoonotic primary or intermediate hosts will likely increase—with the possibility of COVID-19 or similar, new diseases being passed back and forth between humans and animals. Infectious diseases can also operate through vector-borne transmission, and warmer temperatures can lead to vectors such as mosquitos inhabiting greater, or different, geographic regions. For these reasons, Sarah Zhang points out in a recent article in the AtlanticThe Coronavirus Is Never Going Away, that “the existence of animal reservoirs that can keep reinfecting humans is also why scientists don’t speak of ‘eradication’ for [zoonotic] viruses.”

What can we do? At the broadest level, researchers and policy makers need to work together. Just as human societies are going to have to find ways to accommodate massive human migrations caused by the changing climate so, too, should we consider what similar modifications might look like for animals. Along these lines, new management strategies are needed, and some researchers are calling for a more nuanced approach when it comes to flora and fauna that adjust their range to accommodate a warming world. One suggestion is to modify our definitions of “native” and “invasive” and adapt existing tools like the Environmental Impact Classification of Alien Taxa (EICAT) to assess potential risks associated with moving species. “Some people think that anything that’s not native is invasive, which isn’t necessarily the case.” says Stas Burgiel, Executive Director of the U.S. National Invasive Species Council (NISC). Because resources are limited and land management and conservation are publicly funded, Burgiel says, it is critical that the public understands how the decisions are being made. Furthermore, nations are going to have to work together to establish governance to deal with species redistribution beyond political boundaries. This is echoed by Pecl, et al. (linked above), who recommend that “with the predicted intensification of species movements and their diverse societal and environmental impacts, awareness of species ‘on the move’ should be incorporated into local, regional, and global assessments as standard practice.”
Another possible solution comes from a new opinion article, Ecological Fever: The Evolutionary History of Coronavirus in Human-Wildlife Relationships, in which authors Felipe Campos and Ricardo Lourenço-de-Moraes state firmly that “the coronavirus crisis results from the human disregard for biodiversity in their natural habitat and the wildlife trade spillover to spreading diseases. The substantial increase in deforestation of species-rich regions (e.g., Amazon forest and Southeast Asian forests) may be the beginning of a new pandemic.” Clearly, such deforestation contributes to the climate crisis as well. Campos and Lourenço-de-Moraes recommend that we highlight the need to preserve natural habitats of wildlife in order to prevent future pandemics, and to support conservation studies and efforts which explore the eco-evolutionary consequences of climate change in managing public health. 

Finally, while all of this might seem beyond our personal abilities to address, we can support those working on these issues. Those reading this already undoubtedly recognize our obligations to the world’s animals and the ecosystems that sustain them. Here and now we must realize that our human futures are linked to the Earth’s animals in ways that make the pandemic and climate crisis crucial to address. For humans and animals alike, our support for individuals and organizations who are attempting to tackle the connections between pandemics, the climate crisis, wildlife habitat destruction, and the migrations that are coming has never been more imperative.

For more information on the connections between animals, climate change and global health check out:

Check out this series of six seminars with leading experts from around the world, produced by with the aim of inspiring an in-depth conversation—and actions—at the nexus between animals x climate change x global health. Upcoming seminars consider Animals in Crisis, Animals Affected by Climate Change, and Animals as Drivers of Climate Change.

Oli Brown, n.d. Migration and Climate Change #31. Migration Research Series. International Organization for Migration. Geneva, CH.

Brett R. Scheffers and Gretta Pecl, 2019. Persecuting, protecting or ignoring biodiversity under climate changeNature Climate Change, 9, 581-586.

Recorded sessions from the the 28th Annual Animal Law Conference: Impacts on Animals in a Changing Climate. Co-presented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School. October 2020.


The latest issue of Society & Animals, Vol. 28(4), has just been published.

Managed and edited by Society & Animals is the premier peer-reviewed journal covering the relationships between humans and non-human animals and the ways in which nonhuman animals figure in human lives. The journal publishes studies from the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, other social sciences, history, literary criticism, and other disciplines of the humanities. Find more information on Society & Animals here.

This issue has the following articles:

LIMITED OPEN ACCESS: Patterns in Horse–Human Relationships: The Case of Wales. Helen Sampson, Pages: 333–356.

Maasai Relationships with and Perceptions of Dogs in Northern Tanzania. Lena K. Webster and James J. Ebersole, Pages: 357–376.

Minority Cultural Rights and Bullfighting in a Portuguese Context, Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues, Pages: 377–394.

The Three R’s as a Framework for Considering the Ethics of Animal Assisted Interventions. Martina Simonato, Marta De Santis, Laura Contalbrigo, Barbara De Mori, Licia Ravarotto, and Luca Farina, Pages: 395–419

The Pleasure of the Death of the Shark. Brett Mills, Pages: 431–435.

Note: The Animals & Society Institute offers Scholar and Student Scholar members a discount to Society & Animals subscriptions. Society & Animals may be ordered directly from the Brill website  for $201 USD per year for personal subscription which includes both print and online access. In addition to a discounted subscription, ASI members have access to Full Articles for Volume 1 thru 3 years before current issue. Should you decide to become an ASI member, please email [email protected] once your account has been verified for your discounted ordering information.


This month’s LINK-Letter from the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence covers criminal justice, child protection, social work issues.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a Guidance for Handlers of Service and Therapy Animals.

The Department of English at the St Berchmans College invites applications for an Online Autumn School on Literary/Cultural Theories and Philosophy. The target participants of the program are Researchers (Postdoctoral, Professional Doctoral, Doctoral and Pre-Doctoral, including Mres, MPhil), Academics and Post Graduate Students (including MA students) who would like to engage with critically inclined research and thinking on Literary/Critical theories and Philosophy. Attendance for all the lectures is a prerequisite to complete the program. Lecture sessions take place during Oct and Nov, usually on a Saturday or Sunday. The event is advertised on the college website.


The Animals & Society Research initiative has launched a Distinguished Lecture Series of monthly Zoom webinars. Check them out and pre-register here.

Several new resources for informative webinars came on our radar this month. Check out both the new calendar of virtual conferences, webinars and workshops published by the Society for the Study of Ethics and Animals (SSEA), and their Zoom Colloquium 2020 virtual talk series. Also see the website for their monthly Zoom webinar series designed to bring together a diverse audience of people interested in animal studies, critical animal studies, animal ethics, animal politics, animal law, environmental studies, environmental law, migration studies, as well as climate law/studies.

Professors Leonie Cornips and Pim Martens are running an online short course, Human and Animal Relationships and Interactions (HARI), November 21-22, 2020 at the Maastricht University in The Netherlands. The study language of the €199 course is English, and credits are available.

HAS Funding and Opportunities

The Morris Animal Foundation has open proposals for Established Investigator, First Award, Pilot Study and Fellowship Training Grants under the Wildlife/Exotics category due November 11, 2020. 

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 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

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.

Conservation Northwest, a regional non-profit organization working in Washington state and British Columbia, is seeking an outgoing, energetic, and technically proficient person to join our ~20 person staff as the Conservation Program Manager. The job entails leading forest, wildlife and habitat conservation efforts on the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie national forests and associated public lands. Those with strong forestry, fire ecology, and watershed restoration abilities are most welcome. No deadline noted.

New HAS Books and Monographs

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

Christine Nicol, 2020. Understanding the behaviour and improving the welfare of chickens. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing.

Joseph Pugliese, 2020. Biopolitics of the More-Than-Human: Forensic Ecologies of Violence.Duke University Press.

New HAS Articles and Book Chapters

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

A new issue of the Journal for Critical Animal Studies is out. JCAS Vol. 15(5), October 2020.

Arkow, P., 2020. Human-animal relationships and social work: Opportunities beyond the veterinary environment. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 1-16.

Benjamin Geffroy, Bastien Sadoul, Breanna J. Putman, Oded Berger-Tal, László Zsolt Garamszegi, Anders Pape Møller and Daniel T. Blumstein. Evolutionary dynamics in the Anthropocene: Life history and intensity of human contact shape antipredator responses. PLOS Biology

Fitzgerald, Amy, Betty Jo Barrett, Allison Gray, and Chi Ho Cheung, 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

Fraser, Heather, Taylor, Nik, & Riggs, Damien W., 2020. Victims/Survivors of family and domestic violence in diverse, multispecies households. QUT Centre for Justice Briefing Paper.

Deborah Kalte, 2020. Political Veganism: An Empirical Analysis of Vegans’ Motives, Aims, and Political Engagement. Political Studies.

S.Y. Landau and F.D. Provenza, 2020. Of browse, goats, and men: Contribution to the debate on animal traditions and cultures. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 232, November 2020, 105127.

Pauina Lundberg, Elke Hartman & Lina S. Roth, 2020. Does training style affect the human-horse relationship? Asking the horse in a separation–reunion experiment with the owner and a stranger. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 233. OPEN ACCESS.

Monsó, S., Osuna-Mascaró, A.J. Death is common, so is understanding it: the concept of death in other species. Synthese (2020).

for the History of Environment and Society, 2019, 11-40.

Calls for Papers: Journals and Chapters

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 [email protected] and [email protected].

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 [email protected] and [email protected]Abstracts 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 [email protected]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 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

The Thurman Arnold Project at Yale (TAP @ Yale) and the Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale Law School invite paper submissions for a virtual conference, Big Ag & Antitrust: Competition Policy for a Sustainable and Humane Food System, on the role and power of antitrust and competition law and policy in shaping the American food system. The conference will be held on Saturday, January 16, 2021. Abstracts are due on November 6, 2020.

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 [email protected] by November 29, 2020.

European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) is hosting its biennial conference, themed “Same planet, different worlds: environmental histories imagining anew” at the University of Bristol, UK July 5-9, 2021. Proposals are invited that move from the premise of an entangled world: first and foremost enmeshed in a global pandemic, a shared ecological crisis and climate catastrophe, as well as cultural connections from past colonial and postcolonial histories. The submission deadline is October 31, 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 [email protected] no later than January, 15 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