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The Human-Animal Studies Report
September 2021

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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

Last month’s COVID-19 and Animals section of this report in which I discussed the connections between the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and the very real despair many are feeling in the face of this ecological crisis, really struck a chord. Some people made their own “warming stripes” graphic and shared them on social media. Others dropped me a note to say how useful the individual actions to help stem biodiversity loss were.

Due to this unusual amount of feedback, in this month’s Animals & COVID-19 section I cover more resources on meaningful actions we can all take that will benefit the animals affected by the anthropogenic changes they are facing, specifically here, light pollution.

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

Meaningful Actions against Biodiversity Loss:
Lights Out for Bugs and Birds

It’s easy to understand how biodiversity loss, like many impacts of anthropogenic change, has sneaked up on many of us in our home environments. Certainly we are aware of news and research about species frailty and ecosystem ruin. Yet compared to these seemingly more-rapid transformations in distant ecosystems, it’s often difficult to notice incremental changes where we live. It often takes casting back to an earlier time to identify the differences between then and now. For instance, many of us can recall—as does biology professor Dave Goulson in a recent op-ed in the Guardian—the summer splats of bugs on our car windshields that prompted vigorous and frequent windshield washing. “Today, our windscreens are disturbingly clean,” Goulson notes. For me, the gap of decades I spent in California before returning to the Midwest allowed me to notice what seems like a huge decline in lightning bugs (AKA: “fireflies” in other parts of the US), something I might not have noted had I not left. 

Last month I made the link between biodiversity loss, pandemics and the climate emergency and provided actions we can do to help in our own home environments. I discussed how the western fixation with turf lawns contributes to the “insect apocalypse,” and how converting monoculture lawns (or portions of them) to native plants for these animals can help with biodiversity loss. Here I expand upon actions we—both individually and collectively—can take that are both personally rewarding and do make a difference. 

In addition to reducing the damage caused by diminished habitat through regenerative plant management (or non-management) on the ground, another action we can all take deals with a threat that is far less intangible, dramatically increasing, and largely unrecognized: light pollution. The use of artificial light at night (ALAN) has detrimental impacts on insects. One study evaluated the impact of light intensity and sky quality at night on insect diversity in rural and urban areas of Saudi Arabia, concluding “excessive ALAN and poor sky quality at night disrupt insect biodiversity.” A 2021 UK study found just how much disruption ALAN can cause: street lighting strongly reduced moth caterpillar abundance by 43% in hedgerows and 33% in grass margins. 

As Goulson points out, staving off the particular ecological disaster facing insects is in our interests. “The world would not function without these tiny creatures: they pollinate our plants; control pests; recycle all sorts of organic material from dung to corpses, tree trunks and leaves; keep the soil healthy; disperse seeds, and much more. They are a vital source of food for many larger creatures such as birds, bats, lizards, amphibians and fish.” There are other reasons animal advocates might consider insect and other invertebrate decline a significant topic to address—welfare considerations regarding questions of their sentience, intrinsic value, and that they might suffer.* 

And it’s not just insects who are affected by ALAN. According to an article by Davide M. Dominoni, “Light pollution is considered a threat for biodiversity given the extent to which it can affect a vast number of behavioral and physiological processes in several species. This comes as no surprise as light is a fundamental, environmental cue through which organisms time their daily and seasonal activities, and alterations in the light environment have been found to affect profoundly the synchronization of the circadian clock, the endogenous mechanism that tracks and predicts variation in the external light/dark cycles.” 

Specific to birds, light pollution has also been shown to disrupt birds’ sleepsinging behavior, and reproductive physiology and molt activity, among other impacts. Perhaps the most insidious impact of ALAN are its disruptions to migrating birds. During avian migrations, most of which occur at night, light attracts and disorients birds, confusing and exhausting them, and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings and other urban threats. Songbirds are particularly at risk, because when they become disoriented by artificial light over brightly lighted cities, they send out more “flight calls.” These social calls are designed to help the group with orientation, navigation and other collective decisions, but instead, in this situation the distressed bird's calls lure other birds to their death. 

According to a 2015 review article, the number of migratory birds killed annually by building collisions in Canada is between 16 and 42 million, and between 365 and 998 million in the US. And a 2019 study estimated that number of migratory bird deaths due to ALAN nationwide in the US at between 100 million and 1 billion.

There are actions we can take. To provide safe passage for nocturnal migrating birds, Audubon recommends the following:

  • Turn off exterior decorative lighting
  • Extinguish pot and flood-lights
  • Turn off interior lighting especially on higher stories
  • Substitute task and area lighting for workers staying late or pull window coverings
  • Down-shield exterior lighting to eliminate horizontal glare and all light directed upward
  • Install automatic motion sensors and controls wherever possible
  • When converting to new lighting assess quality and quantity of light needed, avoiding over-lighting with newer, brighter technology

The Audubon link above provides other resources for taking it further than our own action into creating bird-friendly communities, including fact sheets and form letters for elected officials. Another resource, the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA), promotes public policy and provides information on what “dark sky friendly lighting” entails, points that include color temperature toward the warm spectrum and shielding that keeps the light pointing downward only. The organization also provides sources for purchasing such lighting, suggestions on talking with neighbors about their lighting, and how to become a Dark Sky advocate. 

IDSA also promotes Dark Sky Communities: towns, cities, municipalities or other legally organized communities worldwide that have shown “exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies.” Such places promote their choice to go dark-sky as preventing negative effects on wildlife, and also preserving the night sky as a natural resource. They show that taking these actions need not come at the expense of economic development and are indeed enhancing the communities involved. It seems to be catching on. Indeed, in 2019 France adopted a new law, designed “prevent, limit and reduce light pollution, including excessive disturbance to persons, fauna, flora or ecosystems, causing energy wastage or preventing observation of the night sky.” Imagine what an impact it would make if dark-sky communities and countries around the globe became the norm, not the exception.

According to the lead researcher of the UK moth-decline study cited above, Douglas Boyes of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, “If insects are in trouble—as we believe they are, and have evidence to support that—perhaps we should be doing all we can to reduce these negative influences." The same can be said about the birds and other wildlife like sea turtles who are negatively impacted by ALAN. Just last week, as reported by NPR, in one night 226 migratory birds lost their lives through striking windows in New York City. As volunteer Melissa Breyer, in charge of collecting the dead bodies, pleads, “Lights can be turned off, windows can be treated. Please do something." 

Do what you can to step up, change your outdoor lighting habits and fixtures if you need to, and turn off the lights you don’t need. Advocate at a larger scale if you have the ability. We will all sleep—and travel—better for it.


Insect and Other Invertebrate Sentience:

*For more on insect sentience and the proposal to use insects as food, see the Faunalytics article, Evaluating the Emerging Insect Industry by Trent Davidson, and the recent Dutch Council on Animal Affairs (RDA) report to which he refers. 

*For those with further interest in invertebrate sentience, Stevan Harnad, Editor-in-Chief of Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feelingis moderating two webinars on “Invertebrate Animal Sentience,” October 20th and 27th, 2021. Each webinar will a multidisciplinary panel of experts for a rich and diverse discussion of the sentience and cognitive capacity of hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), arthropods (insects, arachnids and crustaceans), molluscs and other invertebrates long considered too simple to experience feelings of distress, pain and pleasure. The October 20th webinar will feature Jennifer Mather (comparative psychologist), Robert Elwood (neurobiologist), and Jonathan Birch (ethicist). The panelists on October 27th, Lars Chittka (behavioral ecologist), Giorgio Vallortigara (neurobiologist), Irina Mikhalevich (philosopher) and Helen Lambert (animal welfare consultant). There will be opportunities for discussion with those who attend. Learn more and register by clicking here.

Lemelin, R. H., Dampier, J., Harper, R., Bowles, R., & Balika, D. (2017). Perceptions of Insects, Society & Animals, 25(6), 553-572. doi:

Jennifer A. Mather (2001). Animal Suffering: An Invertebrate PerspectiveJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 4:2, 151-156, 

Gardening and Landscaping:

Rick Darke & Douglas W. Tallamy, 2014. The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home GardenTimber Press.

Dave Goulson, 2021. Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse. HarperCollins.

Larry Weaner & Thomas Christopher, 2016. Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change. Timber Press.

Owen Wormser , 2020. Lawns into Meadows: Growing a Regenerative Landscape. Stone Pier Press.

Light Pollution:

BirdCast, Lights Out

Josiane Meier, Ute Hasenöhrl, Katharina Krause & Merle Pottharst (Eds.), 2014. Urban Lighting, Light Pollution and Society, 1st ed. Routledge.

Catherine Rich, 2005. Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting. Island Press.


There is still time to register for the BARK Animal Abuse Intervention Course. Human-Animal social work and mental health professionals, join ASI Board Members Dr. Kenneth Shapiro and Dr. Kimberly Spanjol at their upcoming live virtual course Wednesday, October 13, and Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:00–7:30pm ET. The course is presented through the NYU Silver School of Social Work. The course will use the ASI course, BARK  (Behavioral Accountability, Responsibility and Knowledge) a diversion program based on The Identification, Assessment, and Treatment of Adults Who Abuse Animals: The AniCare Approach (Shapiro & Henderson, Springer, 2016). The course is NYSED and ASWB/ACE approved for 4 Continuing Education Contact Hours. Full course and registration details here.

Call for Board Members. 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. 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. Read more about what the position entails and how to apply here.

ASI Launches Policy Paper Series and Call for Papers. ASI is launching a policy papers series to analyze and guide policy decisions relating to animals. To that end, the Institute is soliciting abstracts for policy papers on the subjects of: Companion Animals and Social Media, Urban Wildlife, Zoological Parks, Environment and Agriculture, and Training Schemes for Domestic and Domesticated Animals. These first five subjects represent an early round of analyses and will be supplemented in subsequent rounds by additional topical emphases. Find out more here


Announcing the First Society & Animals Early Career Research Prize Winner. Brill and the Animals & Society Institute are pleased to announce the winner of the first Early Career Research Prize. The prize is awarded annually for the best article published in Society and Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies. The purpose of the award is to encourage scholars to join the field and to assist them in obtaining additional exposure of their work. The winning article is announced in the journal and is made available in Open Access for no charge. The winner of this year’s award is William Sarfo Ankomah of Brock University in Ontario, Canada for his paper: Animal Studies: Let’s Talk About Animal Welfare and Liberation Issues in Childhood, Society & Animals, 28(3), 2020. Read the abstract and download the article here.

New Publication Co-authored by ASI Board Chair Ken Shapiro ForegroundsHuman-Animal Studies in Psychology
Abstract: This article presents an overview of the definition and scope of what has come to be known as human-animal studies, a transdisciplinary field. The historical role and many contributions of psychology to it are examined, as is research from many related areas involved in this area of study. In addition, the emergence of clinically based research and practice involving animals, such as Animal-Assisted Therapy and Activities, are discussed, including their effectiveness. The current and anticipated future role of how humans and animals interact are explored. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Trevathan-Minnis, M., & Shapiro, K. (2021). Human-animal studies in psychology: The history and challenges of developing clinically based ethical programs involving animals. The Humanistic Psychologist. Advance online publication.

ASI Issues Brill Human-Animal Studies Book Series Call for Proposals
The Brill Human-Animal Studies book series, in conjunction with the Animals & Society Institute, seeks new proposals from across the various disciplines that comprise the field of Human-Animal Studies. From the humanities to the social sciences to the natural sciences, the series seeks to publish groundbreaking work that advances our understanding of human-animal relationships. The broad scope of the series is an acknowledgement of the contributions of a range of perspectives from across academia that often intersect in meaningful ways to build a scholarship of the nonhuman experience through a human lens. In the process, these books challenge the disciplinary cloisters that often hinder the transdisciplinary analysis that is vital to one the fastest growing fields in the academy. Find out more here.

HAS Funding and Opportunities

Eckerd College's Animal Studies program is conducting a search for a tenure-track faculty position (Assistant Professor of Animal Studies with an emphasis on social sciences/human animal interactions) with a start date of August 2022. Please see the attached link for the full job ad description. Applications must be complete by October 15, 2021. Inquiries may be sent to Dr. Erin Frick (

Conferences, Podcasts, Webinars, Lectures, and Courses

This section includes both upcoming live events, and past events that were recorded. (Note that I have included conferences for which submission deadlines have passed here.)

Hosted by the University of Gothenburg's Network for Critical Animal Studies in the Anthropocene, a seminar, Núria Almiron will discuss her chapter in the volume ‘Like an animal’. Critical Animal Studies Approaches to Borders, Displacement, and Othering (Brill, 2021), that she coedited with Natalie Khazaal. Almiron discusses solidarity towards displaced humans and nonhumans from the ethics of communication perspective. Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 5:00-7:00 p.m. (CET). The seminar will be held online, link will be sent via e-mail the same day to those registered. TO register: Send notification to no later than September 21.

An online lunch talk and moderated Q&A with Jo-Anne McArthurThe power of photojournalism in animal advocacy, will take place Thursday, September 30, 12:15 pm -- 1:15 pm ET. Jo-Anne is the founder and president of We Animals Media (WAM) a preeminent animal photojournalism agency, dedicated to documenting and sharing images of animals caught up in the human world. This event is presented as part of the Law, Ethics & Animals Program’s speaker series, in collaboration with the Yale Sustainable Food Program, the Yale Animal Law Society, and the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism. Register here for the webinar link:

A “Roundtable on the Legal Personhood of Non-human Animals: Perspectives from Latin America (in Spanish)” will take place September 30, 2021 at 00:00 London time online vias Zoom and YouTube Live Stream. Register here.

The editors of the recently published Handbook of Historical Animal Studies—Mieke Roscher, André Krebber, and Brett Mizelle—invite you to take part in a virtual book launches and panel discussions via Zoom with chapter authors from the volume, on Sept. 30 and Oct. 8, 2021. The volume provides the first comprehensive and systematic evaluation and introduction to the history of the interrelations of humans and animals and their historical study. Thursday, Sept. 30 will cater mainly for the Americas, Europe and Africa and will take place at 8.30 a.m. PDT, 11.30 a.m. EDT, 4.30 p.m. GMT 5.30 p.m. CEST/WAT. Friday, Oct. 8 will cater mainly for Asia, Australia and the Pacific Region and will take place at 7.30 a.m. CEST, 11.00 a.m. IST, 2.30 p.m. JST, 4.30 p.m. AEST, 6.30 p.m. NZDT. For information and to register, please contact Mieke Roscher at

The 29th Annual Animal Law Conference: “Transforming Our Relationship with Animals” will take place October 15-17, 2021. The keynote speaker is ecologist and author Carl Safina. Information and registration:

2021 Centers for the Human-Animal Bond Conference organized by Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will take place November 4, 2021. The conference is virtual and free.

A new lecture by Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago, "Justice for Animals: Practical Progress through Philosophical Theory," can be viewed here.

Check out the new blog post in the Animals in Society: Animal Studies Scholar Advocacy by Nik Taylor and Heather Fraser, Doing (Critical) Animal Studies in the Neoliberal Academy.

Living One–Life in the Absence of Animal Exploitation is a free monthly webinar series produced by the Kerulos Center for Noviolence that focuses on how culture and life will look when humans and other Animals live as one community in peace and wellness. Each month, guest speakers are asked to address the question, “We know what’s wrong, but what does right look like?”

The latest Knowing Animals the Podcast episode 175 features an interview with Dr John Adenitire, lecturer in law at Queen Mary, University of London, discussing his paper "The Rule of Law for All Sentient Animals," which is forthcoming in the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. Listen here.

James Oxley of the University of Liverpool is calling all adults to take part in an international survey about perceptions of dog behavior and how people behave around dogs. Anyone can take part and they are hoping for a lot of replies.  The survey is anonymous and will require you to answer a range of questions and watch two short videos. You do not need to own a dog to take part. All the information about the study is on the first page of the survey, here.

New HAS Books and Monographs

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

Mara-Daria Cojocaru, 2021. Passionate Animals: Emotions, Animal Ethics, and Moral Pragmatics. Lexington Books.

Sarah E. DeYoung and Ashley K. Farmer, 2021. All Creatures Safe and Sound: The Social Landscape of Pets in Disasters. Temple University Press.

Gruen, L. (2021). Ethics and Animals: An Introduction (Cambridge Applied Ethics). Cambridge 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.

Anastassiya Andrianova,, 2021. To read or not to eat: Anthropomorphism in children's booksSociety & Animals. (preprint) doi:

Amy Bogaard, Robin Allaby, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, et al. (2021) Reconsidering domestication from a process archaeology perspective, World Archaeology, DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2021.1954990
Linda Brandt, 2020. Monuments of CompassionThe Journal of Public Space, 5(4):221-230. DOI:10.32891/jps.v5i4.1421

Bob Jacobs , Heather Rally, Catherine Doyle, Lester O’Brien, Mackenzie Tennison and Lori Marino, 2021. Putative neural consequences of captivity for elephants and cetaceans. Reviews in the Neurosciences.

Kieson, E, & Sams, J. 2021. A Preliminary Investigation of Preferred Affiliative Interactions within and between Select Bonded Pairs of Horses: A First Look at Equine “Love Languages.” International Journal of Zoology and Animal Biology, 4(4). DOI: 10.23880/izab-16000318 

September 2021, 101333

Tom Rice, Adam Reed, Alexander Badman-King, Sam Hurn & Paul Rose (2021). Listening to the Zoo: Challenging Zoo Visiting ConventionsEthnos, DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2021.1966070

Calls for Papers: Journals and Chapters

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. (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. The submission deadline is October 31, 2021.

A call for a Special Issue of the journal Religions is out on the topic “Religions, Animals, and X,” where “X” be other critical categories connected with social movements like coloniality, gender and sexuality, queerness, or race; topical areas of broad social concern like anti-Black racism, anti-immigrant racism, climate change, factory farming, hunting, and pandemics; new areas of religion scholarship like affect, disability, ecology, migration, monsters, plants, and science fiction; critical terms in religious studies like belief, body, grief, life, mourning, person, sacrifice, and scripture. Direct questions to Katherine Mershon, kmershon@wcu.eduThe deadline for manuscript submissions is November 15, 2021. 

Call for papers: Special issue of the APA Human-Animals Interaction Bulletin (HAIB) is focusing on animal hospice/ palliative care, euthanasia, and grief/loss related to companion animals. Direct inquiries to the guest editor: Phyllis Erdman: perdman@wsu.eduPaper submissions are due January 13, 2022.

Guest editor Kendra Coulter has a call out for a Special Issue of Animals covering “Frontiers of Animal Protection.” This Special Issue will assemble high-quality social science research that considers the social, legal, political, and employment dimensions of animal protection. Despite its importance for protecting diverse kinds of animals from human harm and the complementary benefits for vulnerable people and public safety, the animal protection landscape remains underexamined. Deadline for manuscript submissions: March 31, 2022

Calls for Papers: Conferences
and Workshops

The University of Warsaw and via Zoom worldwide conference, Re-Thinking Agency: Non-Anthropocentric Approaches, will take place February 3-5, 2022. The conference will feature a keynote lecture by Karen Barad (University of California, Santa Cruz). Deadline for abstract submission: November 15, 2021.

The British Animal Studies Network has issues a CfP for its first 2022 meeting, Care.” This will take place (we hope) face to face at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow on 6 May 6-7, 2022, with some lead-in evants taking place online. Full details can be found here.

As you can see, ASI is promoting a tremendous amount of activity in the field of Human-Animal Studies. 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 ASI's Human-Animal Studies efforts!

Gala Argent, PhD
Human-Animal Studies Program Director