Tell your friends about ASI:
The Human-Animal Studies Report
March 2021
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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

This month’s “Animals and COVID-19” section of the Human-Animal Studies Report highlights the growth in alternative meat products, spurred at least in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns over industrialized agriculture schemes are nothing new. The treatment of the animals raised and processed through them, environmental sustainability, and climate change impacts all factor into arguments against the industry—and meat eating itself. Now it appears the coronavirus has accelerated the growth of the alternative meat market, and consumers are noticing. (Note: Other COVID-related surveys, articles and calls appear interspersed below.)

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


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

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

Animals and COVID-19

The Coronavirus Pandemic Fuels the Growth of ‘Alternative Meat’ 

As we begin, slowly, to edge our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a much clearer picture of the intersections between zoonotic diseases, climate change, and global health for both humans and other animals. As noted earlier in this series, one area in which these junctures converged over the last year was industrialized agriculture, where issues developed regarding the possibility of zoonotic diseases passing back and forth between farmed animals and workers.

Concerns about factory farms are nothing new. The treatment of the animals raised and processed through them, environmental sustainability, and climate change impacts all factor into arguments against the industry—and meat eating itself. 

From the perspective of environmental harm, Vasile Santescu points out in his chapter,Cowgate: Meat Eating and Climate Change Denial, “Arguably, the single most categorical and effective statement on the environmental dangers of the raising of animals for human consumption was issued by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)… [which concluded] that animal farming presents a ‘major threat to the environment’ with such ‘deep and wide-ranging’ impacts that it should rank as a leading focus for environmental policy.” 

Now it appears the coronavirus has accelerated the growth of the alternative meat market, a category that includes both in-vitro (also known as “clean,” cell-based, “cultured,” or “lab” meat) and plant-based meat substitutes. 

“Clean” meat, produced by taking samples as small as a sesame seed from animals and using that to “grow” meat, is gaining support across lines usually not crossed. According to a discussion on Jane Unchained: Voices for the Voiceless, “Ingrid Newkirk the co-founder and president of PETA is excited for lab-grown meat and even the former CEO of Tyson Foods, Tom Hayes, is in support of the process.” As the above discussion notes, proponents for clean meat point out that it spares animals the horrors of factory farming, is sustainable, and takes up less space. But the debate is not closed. Opponents argue that it is not better for the environment because it uses more energy and fossil fuels to grow the meat, and does not do away with all animal agriculture but aims to end factory farming solely. 

Plant-based meat products do away with these concerns, and consumers are noticing. According to Nielson, purchases of plant-based meat alternatives nearly doubled every month of 2020. A Good Food Institute report noted plant-based meat experienced higher dollar and volume sales than animal-based throughout 2020, with a particular bump in March, the beginning of the pandemic when people were pantry stocking. That month, sales growth of plant-based options was 454% higher than the previous year, while animal-based products’ sales increase was only 100%. This compares to only a 26% increase in overall grocery sales

The pandemic had other impacts as well. The characteristics and management meat processing facilities that led to COVID-19 outbreaks among workers also highlighted concerns about the safety of the meat coming out of them. Despite the knowledge that COVID-19 is not foodborne, in May of 2020, 33% of those surveyed said they were concerned about meat safety given the outbreaks in the packing plants. The same survey found, because of this, that 25% would be less likely to buy meat retail, and 29% would be likely to order less meat dishes at restaurants. Of course, other factors play into consumers’ decisions to eat plant-based meat, among them the desire to try new foods, and the growing awareness that plant alternatives are healthier that animal options.

Plant-based meat alternatives are trending in many regions worldwide. As outlined in a recent Guardian article, concerns over carbon emissions, zoonotic pandemics, and food crises are fueling a move away from meat consumption as a symbol of wealth in China, and plant-based meat substitutes are becoming accepted. And a 2019 report by the Good Food Institute points out that China’s plant-based meat market is projected to grow between 20 and 25% annually. This was due in part to the Chinese government’s 2016 plan to cut the country’s meat intake by 50%. The plan is working, and companies producing meat-free substitutes are expanding across the region, if slowly.

Globally, the plant-based meat market is expected to continue to grow through 2024, with new product launches, growing investments by vendors in the market, and an increase in the number of people following the vegan lifestyle, according to MarketWatch. However, with meat the meat industry still doing well, the question remains open as to whether or not growth of alternative meat will mean a takeover of the meat market. “There aren't any examples of that happening in the food business,” says Nick Fereday, executive director of food and consumer trends at Rabobank. “The sweetener market is a good example. There are many alternative sweeteners on the market—both artificial and natural. And they're still just a small portion of the market, which is still dominated by sugar.”

The ongoing suffering of animals within, environmental unsustainability of, and zoonoses-related concerns about factory farming schemes should continue to concern us all. At this point it is heartening to consider that while the growth in plant-based products may not be overtaking the animal meat market, it does appear to be putting a dent in that industry. And that’s a start.

More Resources
Cassuto, D. N., 2010. The CAFO Hothouse: Climate Change, Industrial Agriculture, and the Law. Ann Arbor, MI: Animal and Society Institute.

Batini, Nicoletta, Ed., 2021. The Economics of Sustainable Food: Smart Policies for Health and the Planet. All Island Press.

Hwang J, You J, Moon J, Jeong J., 2020. Factors Affecting Consumers’ Alternative Meats Buying Intentions: Plant-Based Meat Alternative and Cultured Meat. Sustainability, 12(14), 5662.

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

Vasile Stanescu, 2018. “‘White Power Milk’: Milk, Dietary Racism, and the ‘Alt-Right,’” Animal Studies Journal, 7(2), 103-128. 

Katie Whiting, 2020. How soon will we be eating lab-grown meat? World Economic Forum.

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

Help ASI Help the Animals by Taking Our Survey
Are you concerned about improving animal lives? We are, too! The Animals & Society Institute (ASI) are asking for your help with our mission of advancing human knowledge to improve animal lives by completing a ten-question survey. Your responses about ASI’s programs, resources, research topics, and membership benefits, will help us create and promote efforts in the coming year that YOU think are important. Find the survey here. Thanks in advance for your participation.

ASI Seeks Board Members with Non-Profit Finance Expertise
Do you want to help create a more compassionate world? Would you like to see evidence-based research used to strengthen human-animal relationships? If you do, you may be a match for ASI’s open board member positions. If you have experience in nonprofit finances, we would love to talk to you. Whether you have experience working with a hands-on board or are thinking about joining a board for the first time, this may be the right opportunity for you. Learn more here.

This month’s LINK-Letter from the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence covers: how animal abuse is a greater risk for domestic violence survivors in the midst of the pandemic; how Ohio veterinarians are learning to recognize and report animal abuse; and how police officers from Canada to Moldova are learning about how animal abuse is Linked with human violence.

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

The Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver has a new Orientation to Human-Animal Interactions course. The course is self-paced and can easily be completed by busy working professionals who need to learn on a flexible schedule and timeframe. 

The University of Redlands has just expanded its Human-Animal Studies minor into a full new major. Congratulations!

Doctoral student, Renee Lindquist ask for assistance with her research study on Canine Assisted Therapy exploring how using Canine Assisted Therapy in individual therapy affects the development of the therapeutic alliance. 

HAS Funding and Opportunities
The Institute for Human-Animal Connection is hiring a bilingual (English and Spanish) part-time Research Assistant to support the final year of data collection for our Pets for Life as One Health study. Position is remote with travel to our four study sites (Granger, WA; Madison, WI; Seattle, WA; and Wilder, ID) required. Position starts May 1st. More information here.

We Animals Media is looking for a Marketing and Media Outreach Manager. The position will be responsible for We Animals Media’s overall marketing strategy and media outreach. As an ideal candidate for this role, you are an energetic person who is always thinking a few steps ahead, and you passionately believe that animal photojournalism needs to be amplified. No deadline given.

The Research Group in Environmental & Animal Ethics (GRÉEA) in association with the Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ) is launching a competition for a postdoctoral research fellowship for the 2021/22 academic year ($43,000/year, gross salary). Subject to evaluation, the position is renewable for an additional nine months. The fellowship is open to applicants whose research is on environmental and animal ethics, broadly conceived. More information hereThe deadline to submit an application is April 16, 2021.

The U.K. Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) is releasing the second batch of funding to support research that furthers our understanding of the human-animal bond. There are eight funding grants available ranging from £1,500-£10,000. The application deadline is April 30, 2021.

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

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

The latest episode of Knowing Animals interviews Kyle Johannsen about his book, Wild Animal Ethics: The Moral and Political Problem of Wild Animal Suffering (Routledge, 2020) on 

A new film, Gunda, chronicles the unfiltered lives of a mother pig, a flock of chickens, and a herd of gunda asks us to meditate on the mystery of animal consciousness, and reckon with the role humanity plays in it. Executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix. See the trailer here. For more information about sharing the film with your community, contact Corinne Bourdeau, President and founder, 360 Degree Communications at

Corey Wren has created a six-episode podcast on her upcoming book, Animals in Irish Society.The book explores the vegan Irish epistemology, one that can be traced along Ireland’s history of animism, agrarianism, ascendency, adaptation, and activism. This podcast series contributes to the growing field of postcolonial Critical Animal Studies by applying theories vegan feminism and vegan socialism to the Irish context.

Marc Bekoff joined the UWindsor Anthrozoology Department as a guest speaker to share his insight and advice on a wide range of animal-related topics. View the video recording here.

The Animals & Society Research Initiative is hosting its second Writing Animals Program, April 13–June 10, 2021. The program is a free motivational forum for animal law and policy scholars to come together to move forward in their writing projects, generate outstanding scholarship, and further the academic and public influence of animal law and policy as a field. Find out more by emailing Maneesha Deckha at, or register here.

New HAS Books and Monographs
Following are some recent books published of interest to the field of Human-Animal Studies.

Amber George, Ed., 2021. Gender and Sexuality in Critical Animal Studies. Lexington Books.

Laura Jean McKay. 2020. The Animals in that Country. Scribe.

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

The latest issue of the Journal for Critical Animal StudiesVolume 18, Issue 1, February 2021 has been published.

Andrew M. Campbell, 2021. Behind the mask: Animal abuse perpetration as an indicator of risk for first responders to domestic violence. Forensic Science International: Animals and Environments, 1, 

Daniel Burton‑Rose, 2020. Towards a Sinophone Insect Humanities: A Review Essay. Journal of the History of Biology

Kurki, V., 2021. Legal Personhood and Animal Rights. Journal of Animal Ethics, 11(1), 47-62.

Kari Weil, 2021. Animal Magnetism as Ecocriticism for a Time of Pandemic. Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, 25(1), 126-135, DOI: 10.1080/17409292.2021.1865057

Wren, C. 2021. Beehives on the border: Liminal humans and other animals at Skellig Michael. Irish Journal of Sociology, 0(0) 1–23.

Calls for Papers: Journals and Chapters
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.

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

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

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

Calls for Papers: Conferences
and Workshops
Co-presented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, the 29th annual Animal Law Conference is slated for October 15-17, 2021. This year’s Animal Law Conference will address the role of the law in defining, mediating, and reimagining our relationships with animals in every corner of our lives. The Animal Law Conference organizers are now accepting presentation proposals relevant to the conference theme. Please submit a proposal by March 29th, 2021. 

The Human-Animal Studies Initiative at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is sponsoring a virtual event, “Witnessing & Worlding Beyond the Human: An Interdisciplinary Interspecies Conversation,” May 28-29, 2021. For more details about the symposium goals and guiding themes, visit this link.  Any questions and/or concerns may be directed to Austin Hoffman (he/they): And/or Jesann Gonzalez Cruz (she/her): jesanng2@illinois.eduThe deadline is April 11, 2021.

The Postgraduate Animal Studies Symposium (PASS) is a two-day training and conference event that will bring together postgraduate research students working in the field of animal studies. The event will be held online, via Zoom, on the May 24-25, 2021. We encourage applications from all PGRs and early career scholars engaged in work that has an animal studies focus, regardless of subject or discipline. To submit a paper for one of the panels please send a 200-350 word abstract and a short biography to Or, if you would prefer to be considered for the ‘five-minute thesis’ sessions please send a short biography and a brief overview of your research (including the title of your Masters or PhD thesis.) Deadline for submissions is the April 16, 2021.

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

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

Upcoming Conferences

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

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

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

The conference, “Wet feet: flooding, resilience and the climate crisis,” will be hosted online on May 19th, 2021, with access to posted papers available for one week before and after the conference. Please note: conference attendees must watch the panels in the week prior to the conference; on the conference day (19th May 2021) there will be live discussions about the presentations. It is free and open to all. All delegates and speakers should access the conference here. Attendees will be sent a link to join the conference’s site and speakers’ talks, hosted by the University of Sheffield. Register for the conference via Eventbrite by 19th April.

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