Tell your friends about ASI:
The Human-Animal Studies Report
September 2020
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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

While the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives, travel, and academic institutions, it appears that we may be settling somewhat into an adaptive pattern with it all. Calls for papers for virtual academic conferences and journal and book contributions remain up. Also, scholars are finding innovative ways to both stay in touch and get information out virtually, such as podcasts, smaller and more spontaneous webinars, and live and recorded interviews. I highlight a few of these below.

Our Animals and COVID-19 section continues to present and analyze aspects of how the virus is affecting animals and people. Continuing the theme of companion animals from last month, here I focus on the effects of COVID-19 on humans and animals who have contracted the virus, calls for research into animals who have become ill, and an exciting research survey/platform in which all stakeholders may participant aimed at identifying challenges to animal welfare due to the coronavirus. (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 Effects of COVID-19 on Humans and Companion Animals

Buddy, a seven-year-old German Shepherd, became the first dog in the US confirmed positive for COVID-19 after contracting the disease from his caretaker in April. Buddy died ten weeks after showing symptoms, and his case has raised several issues related to companion animals and the pandemic. First, although Buddy had other members of his interspecies family to care for him, many animals whose caretakers become ill with the virus do not have similar support systems in place, raising the question of what happens to pets when their caretakers become ill with the virus? This causes concern not only for the animals left behind when their solo caretakers are taken to hospital or do not return home, but also for those infected people fearing for their animals left behind and looking for options for assistance at an exceptionally trying time. 

In at least one instance, a solution was developed. In late April, New York City’s emergency management and animal welfare offices introduced a hotline for people who were struggling to care for their pets because of the virus. The hotline’s primary goal is to help struggling or sick New Yorkers avoid surrendering their pets, connecting callers to things like subsidized emergency veterinary medicine and the city’s network of free pet food pantries. Also helping animal companions left behind are team of specialists coordinated by Animal Care Centers of NYC, who don full-body personal protective gear to enter homes to feed—at no charge—famished animals whose owners are hospitalized with the virus, or to take custody of pets belonging to patients who do not return home. It would seem that this or similar programs could serve as a valuable model to be replicated in other areas with similar needs. (See, also, the ASPCA’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative.)

Buddy’s situation also raises a second concern. At the time of his death, Buddy tested positive for both the coronavirus and lymphoma, leaving it unclear whether the cancer made him more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, or if the virus was responsible for any of his symptoms. According to the first article referenced above, Buddy’s case highlights significant knowledge gaps about coronavirus in companion animals, specifically: Are animals with underlying conditions more likely to get sick from the coronavirus, just as humans are? The answer is that we don’t know, and we don’t know because little information has been collected or disseminated about infected companion animals. To date, twelve dogs and at least 10 cats have tested positive in the U.S. but few case details have been made available to researchers.

It appears that this research gap may be obscuring the number of animals who have contracted the disease. Recently, a small Canadian study (17 cats, 18 dogs and one ferret) suggests that a substantial proportion of companion cats and dogs whose guardians had been infected with COVID-19 tested seropositive themselves. The animals were first tested with PCR swab testing, then blood work was used to assess the presence of antibodies indicating past infection. While the PCR swabbing was negative for all animals tested, 20% of dogs and 88% of the cats tested positive for IgM or IgG antibodies, used to detect recent or past infections, respectively. Researchers here concluded that a “substantial proportion of pets in households of persons with COVID-19 end up developing antibodies.” 

To be clear, both the CDC and the World Health Organization of Animal Health send similar messages: While it appears the virus can spread from people to animals in some situations, there is to date no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of the virus. Therefore, neither the CDC nor WHO are pushing testing in animals—in fact the opposite is true. The CDC has a guidance on COVID-19 and animals for veterinarians that concerns when to test, which it argues against. The International Companion Animal Management Coalition echoes the “do not test” position, making “a plea to the veterinary community to limit their use. Positive test results have no impact on how vets treat symptoms as there are no specific treatments for SARS-CoV-2 in animals. However there is a significant risk of causing unnecessary fear in owners and communities from the media attention each positive case brings.” This position would appear to go against the calls for more testing and research noted above.

Although animal companions usually have mild symptoms and recover, these instances argue that there is much to do research-wise to keep them safe and healthy amidst—and from—the pandemic. A recently developed platform might soon help fill this research gap by serving as a repository for research. The EmVetNet - Covid 19 Thematic Platform on Animal Welfare is a collaboration among Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), the International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW), the Israeli State Veterinary Services and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The group seeks to query how the pandemic has resulted in three threats to animal welfare: (1) the measures taken to contain the disease has caused disruptions in many animal-related activities, such as shelters, zoos, riding schools and institutes using laboratory animals; (2) our food supply chain have been impacted by disrupted trade and changed consumption patterns, having an impact on the farmed animals, and (3) the pandemic will have a lasting economic impact, which in turn again will impact animal ownership and animal care. The goals of the platform are to map the worldwide impact of COVID-19 on animal welfare, to observe trends, to identify lessons, and share solutions and best practices in order to aid research, policies, and future events. The platform collects information on all animals; livestock and companion animals (dogs/cats), leisure horses, zoo and exhibition animals, lab animals and wildlife. All stakeholders may participant, and we encourage those with knowledge about these issues to do so through this easy-to-use Qualtrics survey platform.

For those of us who live with cats, dogs and other animal companions, the message continues to be to observe careful hygiene if we are ill lest our animal friends contract the virus from us. Until more research fills the gaps of knowledge about when and how COVID-19 is passed along—and should be treated—in our companion animals, the bottom line at this point is to avoid contact with other animals if we are sick with COVID-19. 

Finally, in response to my reporting last month about higher rates of animal abandonment at particular shelters, a reader pointed out that while specific shelters may be having increased intakes, overall, there is good news. The national database of sheltered animal statistics developed by the nonprofit organization, Shelter Animals Count, has been producing special COVID impact reports, and the data comparing January-August 2019 and 2020 show that, for the over 1300 reporting agencies, intakes for 2020 are in fact down compared to 2019. 


ASI’s Human-Animal Studies Facebook group is becoming quite a community, soon closing in on 2000 members! Join us there to hear about, discuss, and post newly published scholarly research, blogs, CfPs, surveys, and news items!


Dr. Leslie Irvine, Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is teaching "Animals and Society," a three-course specialization through the University of Colorado, Boulder, hosted through Coursera. You can audit the courses for free or enroll to earn a certificate. Click here for more information.

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.

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 Queens University Belfast are asking for participants in a survey regarding Human characteristics and behaviour of dogs through lifestyle changes relating to COVID-19.The purpose of this study is to further our understanding of how human psychological constructs such as self-esteem and self-efficacy affects the way people relate to and manage their dogs’ behaviour. There are currently no scientific studies examining how these variables relate to one another.

A research study within the University of Windsor is investigating The Effects of a Dog’s Presence on the Well-Being of Individuals at Work. The purpose of the study is to explore whether there are any differences when individuals work in the presence of a dog. Therefore, we are surveying employed people who live with a dog, and due to the COVID pandemic, are currently doing their full-time jobs from the home in which the dog resides. 

HAS Funding and Opportunities

A new niche jobs board, Passion Placement, has launched. The site features mission-focused jobs in animal advocacy, veganism and environmental sustainability. The site is designed as a single resource platform where like-minded employers, organizations, alumni and students can connect to explore job opportunities and internships focused on reducing and ultimately eliminating the needless exploitation of animals, help build sustainable solutions for our food system and contribute in other environmentally sensitive ways. 

Check out, too, the job opportunities at @animalbehavioropps, with listings from a variety of organizations, educational institutions, and listserves, primarily related to animal behavior science.

The University of Oslo, Norway is offering a three-year research position in Environmental Humanities at the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH), at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), starting January 2021. Applicants with research and teaching interests in interdisciplinary approaches to environmental humanities, including postcolonial and Indigenous approaches; multispecies and extinction studies; Anthropocene studies; environmental histories; blue (aquatic) humanities; or energy humanities are especially encouraged. (Deadline is October 15, 2020.)

A competitive position is available at Purdue University for a highly motivated and promising individual seeking a Masters or PhD related to the psychology of human-animal interaction with Dr. Maggie O’Haire. The successful applicant will be housed within the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. The research program will focus on several areas of human-animal interaction research, primarily the scientific evaluation of the efficacy of service dogs for military veterans with PTSD and their families. Applications due November 1, 2020.

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 AnthropoceneNo deadline given. Contact: Matthew Chrulew <>

New HAS Books and Monographs

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

John Beusterien, 2020. Transoceanic Animals as Spectacle in Early Modern Spain. Amsterdam University Press.

Elizabeth Cherry, 2020. For the Birds: Protecting Wildlife through the Naturalist Gaze. Rutgers University Press.

Cimatti, Felice, Salzani, Carlo (Eds.), 2020. Animality in Contemporary Italian Philosophy. Springer.

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

Angus Nurse and Tanya Wyatt, 2020 Wildlife Criminology. Bristol University Press.

Octavian Rujoiu, Ed. 2020. Social Psychology of Everyday Life: About Human-Animal Interactions, 2d ed. (Romanian). Bucharest University of Economic Studies. 

Chie Sakakibara , 2020. Whale Snow: Iñupiat, Climate Change, and Multispecies Resilience in Arctic Alaska. University of Arizona Press.

New HAS Articles and Book Chapters

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

New journal: The inaugural issue of the International Journal of Humane Education (IJHE) is now available! As the first peer-reviewed journal of its kind, IJHE strives to build a scholarly community, expand a collective knowledge base, and validate the quality of research within all sectors of humane education. This issue of IJHE includes scholar-practitioner articles and an invitational essay on various aspects of humane education in practice and theory.

The Journal of Food Law & Policy, 16(1), Spring 2020 issue includes five articles about dairy issues:
• Dairy Tales: Global Portraits of Milk and Law
Jessica Eisen, Xiaoqian Hu, and Erum Sattar

• Something to Celebrate?: Demoting Dairy in Canada's National Food Guide
Maneesha Deckha

• Milk and Law in the Anthropocene: Colonialism's Dietary Interventions
Kelly Struthers Montford

• "A Glass of Milk Strengthens a Nation." Law Development, and China's Dairy Tale
Xiaoqian Hu

• Milk and the Motherland? Colonial Legacies of Taste and the Law in the Anglophone Caribbean

Laurent Begue, 2020. Explaining Animal Abuse Among Adolescents: The Role of Speciesism. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Katharine Gelber and Siobhan O’Sullivan, 2020. Cat got your tongue? Free speech, democracy and Australia’s ‘ag-gag’ laws. Australian Journal of Political Science.

Henschel, M., Winters, J., Müller, T.F. et al. Effect of shared information and owner behavior on showing in dogs (Canis familiaris). Anim Cogn 231019–1034 (2020).

Kai Horsthemke, 2020. Non‐Human Animals and Educational Policy: Philosophical Post‐humanism, Critical Pedagogy, and Ecopedagogy. Journal of Philosophy of Education

Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, 2020. Abandoned aquariums: Online animal attractions during quarantine. Journal of Environmental Media, 1 (Supplement).

Wilks, Matti, Lucius Caviola, Guy Kahane, and Paul Bloom. 2020. Children Prioritize Humans over Animals Less Than Adults Do. OSF Preprints. September 11. doi:10.1177/0956797620960398.

Calls for Papers: Journals and Chapters

The Journal of the History of Biology invites contributions to a topical collection exploring “Human-Animal Boundaries: Biological and Social Connections.” This collection provides a space for historians to interrogate how the biological sciences, broadly construed, have contributed to answering the question of what is human and what animal? No deadline given.

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. 

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

Calls for Papers: Conferences
and Workshops

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. 

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 31st October 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 15 January 2021.

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.

A Free Digital Conference. A new field of academic inquiry has been born: Veterinary Humanities. It gains its impetus from the growth in human-animal studies and the rising interest in veterinary ethics. The 1st conference of the network will be held online 8-9 Oct 2020. The program and a link to Blackboard Collaborate can be found HERE.

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

The First Annual Meeting of the International Association of Vegan Sociologists conference program sessions are now available on the group’s YouTube channel. 

The Virtual Conference: “Other Worlds—Octopuses in Interdisciplinary Perspectives” will take place October 30-31, 2020. Hosted by University of Kassel and GLASMOOG, the conference explores the octopus in reference to the title of Peter Godfrey-Smith’s book Other Minds as another consciousness and subject, to interrogate the octopus’s world (or worlds) and the cultural and scientific worlds in which we encounter them – both physically and as representations. There is no fee for attending. Please register for the conference as soon as possible and not later than October 11 via:, including info regarding institutional affiliation (if you have one), full name, email address to be used for the conference software and country.

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