News and Events

Spring 2023

Parrots can figure out how to use a tool, pick the most suitable one and even transport a set together. Read the story here.

Winter 2022-23

Argentina delights in giant otter’s return! Read the story here.

Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act passed by US Congress, removing the US as a major transit hub of shark fins. Fishermen in US waters are now required to bring sharks ashore with fins naturally attached.

Mountain lion delivers four healthy kittens in mountains near Los Angeles! Cougar P-99 gave birth to the litter over the summer in the western Santa Monica mountains.

Lynx, wild horses and vultures return to eastern Spain in latest rewilding project. Read the story here.

Fall 2022

Allowing wild horses to graze on public lands helps to prevent wildfires! The same is not true for cattle. Read the story here.

The Isle Royale Wolf population surges to 28 individuals after nearly dying off. Read all about it here.

Pine martin spotted in London for the first time in 100 years! Read the story here.

Nepal has doubled their wild tiger population to an estimate of 355 individuals. Read the story here.

Summer 2022

Wild bison return to the UK for the first time in thousands of years. Read about it here.

Iceland will end whaling in 2024 -- read the story here. Also, river otters return to the Detroit River! That story is here.

The Supreme Court has declined to review the Kansas Ag-Gag legal challenge that was requested by the governer and attorney general of Kansas.

After closing in 2017, Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey will relaunch their circus in North America in 2023 and without any animal acts!! Read about it here.

Spring 2022

One thousand fin whales, one of the planet’s largest animals, were seen in January swimming in the same seas where they were driven to near-extinction last century due to whaling. See the story here.

P22, the mountain lion who has lived in Los Angeles's Griffith Park for 10 years, has been seen wandering into residential neighborhoods. He has plenty of deer to eat, no male competitors in his territory. Read the story here.

Great News!! U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in 45 states! See that story here.

Winter 2021-22

The immaculately preserved remains of an Ice Age bear have been unearthed by reindeer herders in the Russian Arctic. The bear was revealed by the melting permafrost on the Lyakhovsky Islands in north-eastern Russia.  With teeth and nose intact, the bear is thought to be a species of brown bear who lived 22,000 to 39,500 years ago.  See the story here.

Using wildlife photographs, scientists discover why the Giant Panda has black and white fur. See the story here.

From hippos to hamsters: How Covid is affecting creatures great and small. Read the story here.

Gentle giants: Rangers prepare for return of wild bison to UK. Read the story here.

Octopuses, crabs and lobsters will receive greater welfare protection in UK law following an LSE report that demonstrates strong scientific evidence that these animals have the capacity to experience pain, distress or harm. Read the story here.

India’s first captive-bred endangered vultures set free! Numbers of the country’s carrion-loving birds dropped by over 97% in the 1990s. Now, a successful breeding scheme is giving them a boost. Read the story here.

A young female Arctic fox has shocked scientists by traveling over 3,500 km from Norway to Canada in just 76 days. See the story here.

Researchers in Siberia found a perfectly-preserved 42,000-year-old baby horse buried under the permafrost. He was in such good condition that his blood was still in a liquid state, allowing scientists to try to extract it. Read the story here.

Fall 2021

A group of wild boars have successfully freed each other from a trap in a world-first (for science) rescue attempt.  Such breakout attempts have only been recorded among a handful of highly prosocial species, including rats and ants, and are considered to represent an advanced form of empathy.  See the story here.

The President of Ukraine has signed law 2351 which includes a ban on euthanasia as a method for stray animal management, a ban on keeping bears, lions, tigers in restaurants, hotels, resorts, private houses, apartments and yards for entertainment or leisure purposes and a ban on begging with animals and using them as photo props (with the exception of zoos, circuses and dolphinariums; a separate law on circus animals is still in progress).

Wolves in the Northern Rockies move closer to protections they desperately need. See the story here. 

Bear bile farms are being phased out in Vietnam!
In the last decade, bear bile farming has ended in nine of the sixty-three provinces and municipalities in Vietnam.  There are now only seven provinces with more than 10 bears in bile farms.  Animals Asia is nearing its goal of ending bear bile farming in the country. See the story here.

In 2022, the UK will become the first European nation to ban the import and export of shark fins and any products containing them, including shark fin soup. See the story here.

Romania bans trophy hunting of brown bears, wolves, lynx and wild cats.

How much of a dog is a dingo? Over the past 200 years there has been a process of hybridisation … but the animals who are in the wild in Australia are still mostly dingo. Culling wild canids could threaten the purity of the dingo gene pool by making it more likely female dingoes will breed with dogs. Read the story here.

In Spain, sanctuaries give forever homes to rescued farmed animals.

Slovakia finally bans wolf hunting. See the story here.

Summer 2021

Wildcats return to Netherlands after centuries' absence due to the rewilding of forests and ‘saturated’ habitats in Germany and Belgium. See the story here.

Beavers back in Wales' Dyfi Valley for first time in 400 years. Read the story here.

Eli Roth’s documentary, Fin, spotlights industries that are leading to the death of more than 100,000,000 sharks each year, and could very possibly bring about their extinction. Roth’s aim with Fin is to dispel the notion that sharks are monsters, and to accentuate their importance to the well-being of the planet. See the story here.

Great News: Wolves Return!! Rare gray wolf pack makes a home in northern California. The Beckwourth pack, which set down roots in Plumas county, is only the third to establish a home in the state in the last century. See the story here. And in Colorado, the first gray wolf pups since the 1940s have been spotted. See that story here.

A new work about Isle Royale's wolves can be found  here. This link represents the independent work of film maker Slade Kemmet in association with National Geographic Society.

The descendants of pets abandoned by those fleeing the Chernobyl disaster are now striking up a relationship with humans charged with guarding the contaminated area.

Farm animals and companion animals are to be formally recognised as sentient beings in UK law. The UK will also ban ivory and shark fins. See the story here.

Bald Eagle populations soar--The number of U.S. bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with more than 300,000 birds soaring over the lower 48 US states.  See the story here.

Wells dug by donkeys and horses support desert ecosystems and boost biodiversity.

Spring 2021

Watch the first-ever recorded video footage of wolves hunting and killing freshwater fish near Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. There are many great videos of wolves going about their daily lives at

Istanbul’s street dogs are the subject of a new documentary by Elizabeth Lo, Stray. The film explores what it means to live as a being without status or security as seen through the eyes of three stray dogs (Zeytin, Nazar and Kartal) who wander the streets of the city in search of food and shelter. Since 2004, Turkey has had a no-kill, no-capture policy for all stray animals.

Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information—whalers’ logbooks show rapid drop in strike rate in north Pacific due to changes in cetacean behavior.

Animals possess ancestral knowledge -- bighorn sheep and moose learn to migrate from one another.

Graves of nearly 600 cats and dogs in ancient Egypt may be world’s oldest pet cemetery, where the last animal was buried 2,000 years ago.

Some Russian stray dogs who live in the outskirts of Moscow have learned to commute on the underground trains to and from the city centre in search of food scraps. Then after a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night.

The number of North Atlantic right whale births are up! At least 14 new calves seen off south-eastern US this season.

The first people to enter the Americas likely did so with their dogs --

Winter 2020-21

Wolves in California! In November of 2020, the Oregon wolf, OR-85, has connected with a wolf who is believed to be a female. It is hoped they will mate and have pups in the spring! In addition to these two wolves, the Lassen wolf pack is believed to be the only other wolf family in California.

San Antonio, Texas Unveils Largest Highway Crossing for Wildlife in US. See Also, wildlife crossings can help reindeer, bears – and even crabs!

Good News for Dogs: The Netherlands is the first country on Earth to completely eradicatedog homelessness AND it is now illegal In the US state of Virginia to leave a dog chained out in the cold.

Just published by The Animal Turn Book Series, Michigan State University Press--Animal Resistance in the Global Capitalist Era by Sarat Colling. See all of The Animal Turn books in the series at

In Italy, the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) was down to 100 animals in 1900 but since finally protected in 1973, Canis lupus has bounded forwarded and is MORE widespread than at any time in the last 150 years.

Fall 2020

Hungary bans fur farming of mink and fox. However, it is disappointing that the ban won’t include chinchillas.

No predators, plenty to eat: New Zealand struggles with plague of peacocks

Court upholds Obama-era protections for Alaska’s brown bears, disallows baiting.

Colorado votes to restore Gray Wolves by the end of 2023. Colorado is the first state to reintroduce wolves at the direction of voters rather than federal wildlife biologists working under the Endangered Species Act.

Denver voters pass ballot measure to repeal 30-year-old ban on pit bull dogs.

Archaeologists have discovered an extraordinary new style of aboriginal rock art that honors the human-animal bond.

Scientists have rediscovered a chameleon in Madagascar last seen 100 years ago.

A Greenland Shark who is almost 400 years old has been located in the Arctic Ocean. He has been wandering the ocean since the seventeenth century.

A video of a cougar following a human runner in Utah has gone viral. The cougar was not stalking the runner but rather protecting her kittens. See the story here:

Wolf Pups Born on Isle Royale! Isle Royale National Park has documented reproduction for wolves introduced to Isle Royale in 2018 and 2019.  GPS collar data and images from remote cameras suggest pups were born in 2019 and 2020. An exact number of pups has not yet been determined. Read the entire press release at:

The French government will outlaw the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, whale & dolphin captivity, and mink fur farms. “It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these animals.” - French Environment Minister Barbara Pompili.

Petco announced that they will no longer be selling shock collars. In a press release, the company said shock collars cause stress, fear, and pain and have no business being sold by a company "dedicated to improving” the lives of companion animals: Now, Petco, about those milled animals you sell...(thanks to Nathan Winograd for this note).

Summer 2020

Scotland bans seal slaughter --

California becomes the first US state to completely ban animal fur products! See the story here:

Mark Suchyta has received the ASA Goodall Award for best scholarly paper and Cameron Whitley has received the ASA Course Award.

India has declared feeding of street dogs as an essential service :

Spring 2020

Los Angeles bans the use of exotic animals for human entertainment, see

February 2020

Isle Royale wolves are eating more than just moose:

Dr. Terri Roth gave a seminar on research in endangered species -- 18 February -- G150 VMC 1210-1 pm

January 2020

Pigs caught on video using tools for the first time

Animal painting scene found in Sulawesi cave is 44,000 years old. Perhaps the world's oldest-recorded story? See

October 2019

Animal Studies Seminar Friday Oct 18, talk on "Natural History of the Sixth Extinction in Ann Hamilton's the common SENSE," by Lily Woodruff, Art History.

Constellation Cat Cafe opens in East Lansing! Both a coffee shop and a shelter, the Cafe is a place where people looking for pets can spend quality time with cats who need forever homes. See

Three more wolves have been relocated to Isle Royale, bringing the wolf population there to 17 !

September 2019

Susan Mikota, DVM, gave a talk on elephant welfare and health in Southeast Asia on
September 27 in the Kresge Art Center Room 041.

Isle Royale National Park staff and partners successfully moved a wolf from Michigan’s mainland to Isle Royale on Friday, September 6.  The 70 lb. male wolf, between 2 -3 years old, was captured in the Upper Peninsula and transported by amphibious aircraft to the island and released. This marks the beginning of the second year of a three- to five-year effort to establish a population of 20-30 wolves in the isolated island park.

August 2019

Dr. Cameron Whitley (Sociology and Animal Studies) has accepted a tenure track Assistant Professor position at Western Washington University. Congratulations, Cam! See his inspiring video on YouTube at

May 2019

Wolves are more inclined than dogs to be generous with their pack mates. When given the choice, wolves deliver food to their friends, even if they don’t benefit themselves. Dogs, on the other hand, quickly lose interest in the absence of personal payoff. See the  study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

April 2019

Stephen Vrla has received his dual PhD in Sociology and Education and has also been appointed Curator of Humane Education for the Detroit Zoological Society-- Congratulations, Stephen!

On April 12th, Dr. Taija Kaarlenkaski gave an MSU Animal Studies Seminar on "'Living Machines' Treated with Care: Bovine Bodies and Agencies in Modernizing Finnish Dairy Husbandry."

March 2019

Nathan Poirier, animal studies doctoral student in Sociology, gave the MSU Animal Studies March seminar on March 29. His talk was entitled "The Ideological Rift between Ethical Vegetarianism and In Vitro Meat."

Seven more Canadian wolves arrived on Isle Royale over the weekend of March 26, 2019. This latest effort brings the total wolf population on the island to 15. See the full press release at

February 2019

During a narrow weather window between storms last week, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) successfully transferred four wolves to Isle Royale National Park (March 4 News Release).

January 2019

On January 31, 2019 a relocated female wolf departed Isle Royale on theIce Bridge formed by the recent polar vortex enroute to an area close to Grand Portage where she was translocated from.

Rescuers free bald eagle from Ice in Lake Michigan.

December 2018

Jenny Brown of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary gave an Animal Studies Seminar on Friday, December 7th, in 457 Berkey.

In Brazil, Animals Cross a Road of No Return​: Highway BR-262 is ​​among the deadliest in the world for wildlife. .

November 2018

After outcry from environmental groups, China Reinstates Ban on Rhino and Tiger Parts in Medicine.

On November 9, Molly Tamulevich, MSU Animal Studies Alum and Michigan State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, gave a presentation on animal welfare in our legal system and how we can use our scholarship to become citizen advocates.

On November 12, Dr. Stefan Bargheer of UCLA's Department of Sociology gave a presentation on "Moral Entanglements: Conserving Birds in Britain and Germany."

October 2018

Restoring reindeer, rhinoceroses, and other large mammals could help protect grasslands, forests, and tundra from catastrophic wildfires and other threats associated with global warming, new studies suggest. The findings give advocates of trophic rewilding—reintroducing lost species to reestablish healthy food webs—a new rationale for bringing back the big grazers.

Two gray wolves were taken from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Minnesota aboard a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plane to Isle Royale. The wolves, a 4-year-old female and a 5-year-old male, were taken to separate release sites, and well away from the island's two remaining wolves. Up to 30 wolves are expected to be caught in Minnisota, Michigan's UP and Ontario and relocated to the island.

September 2018

Wolves from Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Minnesota will be captured and flown to Isle Royale beginning the first week in October.

SeaWorld Entertainment has agreed to pay $5 million in fines “to settle fraud charges for misleading investors about the impact the documentary film Blackfish had on the company’s reputation and business"

Animals are using Colorado’s wildlife crossings, reducing collisions, CDOT says The crossings keep animals and motorists safe along with aiding interbreeding.

Fall 2018

Welcome to incoming Animal Studies Graduate Students Blake Ginsburg (Philosophy) and Nathan Poirier (Sociology).

Summer 2018

Efforts to restore the predator-prey dynamic on Isle Royale National Park has been officially approved by the National Park Service. The NPS will introduce 20-30 wolves over a 3-5 year period to fulfill the function of the apex predator.

May 2018

Owning A Dog Could Dramatically Improve The Health Of People Living With HIV.

April 2018

Isle Royale wolf reintroduction moves closer! See 

March 2018

Professor Bill Lynn of Clark University was a featured speaker at the March Animal Studies Seminar,  "Should We Kill Your Kitty? The Science, Ethics, and Policy Debate over Outdoor Cats and Biodiversity." Dr. Lynn also gave a 2018 Fate of the Earth Symposium on March 24, Bringing Ethics to Wild Lives: Shaping Public Policy for Barred and Northern Spotted Owls." 

February 2018

Remembering Animals -- February 10-March 17, 2018. See the online art piece dedicated to remembering animals: 

Remington Moll gave a talk on "The Wildlife that Surrounds us: Understanding the Animals that Call Cities Home" on February 21, 2018.

January 2018

The nonprofit organization K9 for Warriors pairs veterans with dogs rescued from kill shelters. See National Geographic News at

November 10, 2017

Susan Mikota (Co-founder of Elephant Care International) presented a video on “The Exploitation of Temple Elephants in India."

October 27, 2017

Carol Yancho (Producer, WKAR) gave a presentation on Animal Cops and Dogfighting in Philadelphia.

September 2017

Welcome to incoming doctoral students, Seohyun Kim and Jonathan Thurston, who are specializing in Animal Studies through the English Department.

August 2017

Congratulations to Cameron Whitley, Stephen Vrla and Seven Mattes who presented their animal studies research at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Montreal.

July 2017

Congratulations to Cameron Whitley and Seven Mattes for completing their residency at the 2017 ASI-UIUC Summer Institute.

May 3-5, 2017

Cameron Whitley defended his dissertation, "Animals, People and Energy Development," on May 3rd, and graduated with his doctorate degree on May 5th. Congratulations, Cam!

April 21, 2017

Kelly O'Brien gave a seminar on human-horse relationships and the Natural Horsemanship Movement.

April 6, 2017

Patrick Dixon of Georgetown University gave a talk, "Negotiating Taste: Consumers and Workers in the Changing Poultry Industry, 1970-1990."

March 31, 2017

The Animal Studies monthly seminar featured Cadi Fung speaking on "Contention Along the Rio Negro in Brazil: Fishing, Tourism, and the Amazon River Dolphin."

March 1, 2017

Jessica Bell Rizzolo, a PhD Student in Sociology specializing in Animal Studies and Environmental Science and Policy, recently participated as an expert witness, in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, during committee hearings for Illinois State Senate Bill 1342. This bill would prohibit the use of elephants in circuses and other traveling shows in Illinois. Her testimony drew upon the work she conducted in Thailand, supported by Michigan State University and the Animal Welfare Trust, on elephant tourism and psychology. Jessica provided both oral and written testimony in support of the bill; in her testimony she noted that, "Based on the research my colleagues and I have conducted, it is clear to me that circuses and other traveling shows cannot meet the most basic physical, social, and psychological needs of Asian elephants. These venues subject elephants to cruel training methods and confinement. In the elephants I have studied, these practices cause traumatic responses and epidemic neuropsychological symptoms of Complex PTSD (c-PTSD), a disorder common to victims of torture and abuse in various species." The bill passed the committee unanimously and now heads to the full Illinois Senate and House of Representatives for a vote.

February 24, 2017

Lauren Benjamin from the Animal Studies Workshop, University of Michigan, gave a seminar on "Ferality in Modern Texts."

January 20, 2017

Amy Johnson gave a talk on an animal assisted intervention program that pairs troubled youth with hard-to-adopt shelter dogs.

November 29, 2016

Dr. Ian C. Gilby of Arizona State University gave a talk on Pan the Hunter: Chimpanzee predation, cooperation, and human evolution, sponsored by Lyman Briggs College Speaker Series.

November 24, 2016

Court rules Michigan wolf hunt law unconstitutional

November 11, 2016

Dr. Andrew Domzalski of Madonna University gave a talk on Madonna's Master of Science Program in Humane Studies.

October 7, 2016

Dr. Michelle Proctor (Chair, Section on Animals and Society, American Sociological Association) gave October's Animal Studies Seminar on "The Ethics of Zoos in Wildlife Management."

September 30, 2016

Seven Mattes (PhD candidate, Anthropology and Animal Studies) gave September's Animal Studies Seminar on "Resiliency Tactics for Animals in Disaster: Lessons from Japan."

Summer 2016

In 2.5 years, the two highway overpasses and six underpasses on Wyoming's Hwy 191 resulted in nearly 60,000 annual safe crossings for mule deer and pronghorn, reduction in vehicle collisions with pronghorn to ZERO per year, and an average 79% reduction in annual collisions with mule deer.…/article_635bcf9a-4dba-5fbc-ad6d-345f87588…

May 1, 2016

Only two gray wolves remain on Isle Royale in Michigan. The National Park Service is considering the possibility of importing wolves to the island. A public comment period is now open until May 16. Please add your voice to this important issue at

April 8, 2016

Professor Clare Palmer (Texas A&M University and author of Animal Ethics in Context) gave a talk on gene modification and conservation. 

February 12, 2016

Jill Fritz, HSUS Michigan State Director gave a talk on the wolf delisting controversy.

January 15, 2016

Bob Harvie of Sasha Farm Animal Sanctuary gave a talk on the midwest’s largest farm animal sanctuary that rescues and provides care and affection to farm animals who have been mistreated or neglected. 

December 4, 2015

Bee Friedlander, a member of Attorneys for Animals and the Board of Directors of the Animals and Society Institute, gave a talk on the work of the Animals and Society Institute, where knowledge and science meet ethics and compassion.

November 6, 2015

Dr. Laura Reese (Global Urban Studies Program and Political Science, MSU) gave a talk on urban ecosystems and roaming dogs in Detroit.

October 23, 2015

Dr. Colin Allen (Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, Indiana University) gave a talk on "Mental Continuity and the Measurement of Meaning," addressing communication between humans and other animals.

September 21, 2015

We mourn the passing of Juliet Clutton-Brock on September 21, 2015. Juliet was an inspiration to us all in her work as an archeozoologist. She was a lifelong champion of animal well being and a tireless author of scholarly work, much of which are classics in our classes, including Animals as Domesticates from The Animal Turn book series (MSU Press, 2012) which won the Choice 2013 Outstanding Academic Title.

Fall Semester 2015

Four new doctoral students have joined the Animal Studies Graduate Specialization this Fall: Marie Carmen Abney, Sandy Burnley, Aimee Leon, and Mark Suchyta. See their interests and background on the Student Page, see a November 6 Animal Studies Graduate Student group photo here:

The 2015-16 Animal Studies Graduate Students

Back row: Sandy Burnley (English), Meghan Charters (Sociology), Marie Carmen Abney (Sociology), Seven Mattes (Anthropology), Aimee Leon (Community Sustainability), Jeanette Eckert (Geography).

Front row: Mark Suchyta (Sociology), Stephen Vrla (Teacher Education and Sociology), Kelly O'Brien (Sociology)

Spring Semester 2015

The 2014-15 Animal Studies Graduate Student Community


November 4, 2014

Along with members of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Greenpeace, the Student Animals and Society Institute, MSU Chapter, helped Keep Michigan Wolves Protected stop Proposals 1 and 2, which would have made wolves a game species. The Humane Society of the United States will now challenge a third piece of pro-wolf hunt legislation, the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," in court.

MSU Animal Studies faculty Dr. Ryan Gunderson and MSU Animal Studies students and SASI members Heather Pospisil and Stephen Vrla celebrate the victory with other KMWP volunteers.

October 24th, 2014

MSU Animal Studies faculty Dr. Linda Kalof and doctoral students Cam Whitley, Jessica Bell, and Stephen Vrla present on their Picturing Animals in National Geographic project at the 20th International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

August 30th, 2014

Check out Animal Studies faculty Dr. Carl Taylor's new anti-dogfighting video!



August 27, 2014

Animal Studies faculty Dr. Linda Kalof and Dr. Tom Dietz and graduate students Danielle Miles, Heather Pospisil, and Stephen Vrla attended arally outside the Michigan State Capitol against the 'Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," a misleadingly named initiative that would strip residents of their right to vote on the designation of wolves and other animals as game species, before the House of Representatives voted on it. Unfortunately, the Republican-dominated House passed the act. Graduate Students for Animals wiill now work to ensure that residents vote "No" on two referenda of previous pro-wolf hunt legislation while Keep Michigan Wolves Protected challenges the most recent act in court.


August 25, 2014

Graduate Students for Animals had its first meeting of the academic year. Animal Studies graduate students Meghan Charters, Kelly O'Brien, Heather Pospisil, Stephen Vrla, and Cameron Whitley attended it, as did Animal Studies graduate Dr. Ryan Gunderson and Sociology graduate students Summer Allen and Jennifer Lai. This semster, GSA plans to support Keep Michigan Wolves Protected in its efforts to protect the wolf population in Michigan's Upper Peninsula from a minority of residents who support a wolf hunt.


August 17, 2014

Animal Studies graduate students Jessica Bell, Meghan Charters, Stephen Vrla, and Cameron Whitley presentation papers at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.


August 1, 2014

Last week, Graduate Students for Animals members rescued four baby rats from becoming feeder rats. Two of the rats have already been adopted, and the other two are awaiting adoption at the Capital Area Humane Society. Thanks to all those involved!


July 7th, 2014

Congratulations to recent Animal Studies graduate Ryan Gunderson on earning the ASA Animals & Society Section Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarship for his paper "From Cattle to Capital: Exchange Value, Animal Commodification, and Barbarism."

"In the past half-century, massive structural, geographic, and technological changes have occurred in livestock production. This ‘livestock revolution’ has raised considerable environmental, public health, and ethical concerns. The majority of analyses concerning the negative outcomes associated with these transformations usually condemn industrial technologies as the root of the problem. This article argues that the force behind technological developments in livestock production is to aid capital’s blind drive for self-expansion and self-accumulation and is the source of the majority of contemporary food animal suffering. It analyzes (1) the paramount role of generalized commodity production in altering the welfare of food animals and (2) the potential of fundamentally improving human relations with food animals within the system of capital."

Here's a link to the paper:

May 10th, 2014

Check out a demo of Dr. Carl Taylor's upcoming anti-dogfighting video!



May 2nd, 2014

Congratluations to Dr. Ryan Gunderson on earning his PhD in Sociology with specializations in Animal Studies and Environmental Science and Policy!

Ryan being hooded.

Ryan with his committee co-chairs, Professors Tom Dietz and Linda Kalof.


April 27th, 2014

Animal Studies student Stephen Vrla delivered a guest sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing calling for Unitarian Universalists and other people to draw our society's circle of moral community wide enough to include animals and nature. Stephen is a member of the UU Animal Ministry, "a group of concerned Unitarian Universalists and UU friends who desire to grow and express their faith as compassion towards all beings." The UU Animal Ministry's First Principle Project is a campaign to change Unitarian Universalism's Seventh Principle from "The inherent worth and dignity of every person" to "The inherent worth and dignity of every being."


April 7th, 2014

Professor Carl Taylor and Spartans for Dogs are working to stop dogfighting in Michigan and throughout the country. You can help them by submitting a selfie video of you and your dog saying that there are lots of great sports out there, but dogfighting in NOT one of them.

Here's an example of what you might say: "Hi! I'm Stephen, and this is my dog, Hermes (use your and your dog's names, obviously!). We want you to know that lacrosse (pick your favorite sport!) is a sport, but dogfighting is NOT."

Whatever you say, make it short, cool, and fun! When you're done, please email it to Professor Taylor (taylor36 [at] msu [dot] edu) with the subject line "Dogfighting is NOT a sport."

For inspiration, here are some videos submitted by MSU Spartans Denzel Valentine (men's basketball), Travis Trice (men's basketball), and Demetrious Cox (football)! And another submitted by Oakland University Grizzly Zakiya Minifee (women's basketball); her mother, MSU sociologist Pamela Smith; and their dog, Spalding!


April 4th, 2014

Animal Studies students Summer Allen, Stephen Vrla, Samantha Noll, Alexis Hinson, and Avis Stubbs have a drum circle during a meeting of Sociology 840: Animals and Social Transformations.


December 15th, 2013

Animal Studies students and friends celebrate the end of the semester and coming holidays with homemade sweaters and many laughs!


December 13th, 2013

Here are the Spartans for Dogs, working on an animal education and anti-violence project for athletes!

Pictured from left to right: Shilique Calhoun, Professor Carl Taylor, Seung-won Choi, Darqueze Dennard


November 21st, 2013

"Blackfish: Friend, Outcast, Killer," an exposé of Sea World, was aired November 20, here on campus. The presentation was sponsored by PAW, the undergraduate student animal welfare organization.


November 20th, 2013

Chris Jordan, artist and cultural activist, gave a talk on November 20 at the Wharton Center as part of MSU's Geography Awareness Week.


Novemeber 20th, 2013

Congratulations to Ryan Gunderson (Animal Studies and Sociology) for winning a Dissertation Completion Fellowship to finish his thesis next semester on how early critical theory informs sociological examinations of the relationship between humans and other animals.


October 24th, 2013

Please consider attending Dr. Timothy Pachirat’s lecture entitled, “Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of
” on November 21st in Ferndale, Michigan.


October 10th, 2013

Congratulations to Seven Mattes (Animal Studies and Anthropology) who has won a prestigious Fulbright-Hays Award to support the data collection for her dissertation on the relationship between humans and other animals in Japan.


September 28th, 2013

Animal Studies graduate student, Chris Jordan, has rescued a baby tapir during his period of research in Nicaragua. She has been named Batata. Her rescue comes in part of plans to keep her, and friends, safe.

There are plans to build a Baird's Tapir Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Re-introduction Center in Nicaragua. A fundraiser has begun to fund
this effort. Your contribution will directly contribute to saving animals tragically caught up in the illegal trade of juvenile Baird's tapirs.

Please contribute and share with colleagues and those interested in bettering the nations in which we study.

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I
must finish by acting." -Henry David Thoreau

September 27th, 2013

Announcing a new book in Linda Kalof's The Animal Turn Series:

Animals as Neighbors: The Past and Present of Commensal Animals, by Terry O'Connor
In this fascinating book, Terry O’Connor explores a distinction that is deeply ingrained in much of the language that we use in zoology, human-animal studies, and archaeology—the difference between wild and domestic. For thousands of years, humans have categorized animals in simple terms, often according to the degree of control that we have over them, and have tended to see the long story of human-animal relations as one of increasing control and management for human benefit. And yet, around the world, species have adapted to our homes, our towns, and our artificial landscapes, finding ways to gain benefit from our activities and so becoming an important part of our everyday lives. These commensal animals remind us that other species are not passive elements in the world around us but intelligent and adaptable creatures. Animals as Neighbors shows how a blend of adaptation and opportunism has enabled many species to benefit from our often destructive footprint on the world. O’Connor investigates the history of this relationship, working back through archaeological records. By requiring us to take a multifaceted view of human-animal relations, commensal animals encourage a more nuanced understanding of those  relations, both today and throughout the prehistory of our species. Purchase the book, and others in The Animal Turn series, here.

Fall 2013 Announcement

Fall 2013 Friday Animal Studies Seminars Scheduled!

September (27th, 12:15-1:30 pm at MSU Museum's Auditorium) will feature Dan Bender of the University of Toronto speaking on “Laboring the Zoo: The Human Work of Animals.” 

October (11th, 3-4 pm, 134 South Kedzie Hall) will feature Nicolae Morar of the Rock Ethics Institute, Penn State University, speaking on ethical issues pertaining to biology and human-animal communities: “ From Science to Environmental Value An Argument for a Critical Understanding of the Normative Role of Biodiversity.”


Summer News

News: Congratulations to Animal Studies student Ashley Couch for graduating with her Masters!

News: Welcome to Stephen Vrla (incoming Animal Studies and Sociology doctoral student). A magna cum laude graduate of Williams College in History, Stephen has won an Environmental Science & Policy Fellowship to support his doctoral work. Congratulations, Stephen !

News: Linda Kalof has been awarded a $247,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the representation of animals in 125 years of National Geographic.


April News, 2013

Linda Kalof is proposing a symposium for AAAS 2014 on "Co-existing with Carnivores," featuring Marc Bekoff, Stanley Gehrt and Caroline Fraser.

Animal Studies graduate student Jennifer Kelly was awarded dissertation funding for two months of field study in Costa Rica by the Culture & Animals Foundation. Congratulations Jennifer!

Congratulations to Cam Whitley for his paper "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Applying Image-based Learning to Course Design" in the current issue of Teaching Sociology (41(2):188-198

Congratulations to Ryan Gunderson (Animal Studies and ESPP) whose paper, "The Will to Consume: Schopenhauer and Consumer Society" has just been accepted by Critical Horizons (a new critical theory journal edited by Jay Bernstein of the New School).

Congratulations to Cadi Fung (Animals Studies and Geography) for winning the Animal Geography Specialty Group graduate paper competition at AAG for her paper "Buddhist Attitudes Toward Animals: A Case Study of Metta Forest Buddhist Monastery."

April 12th, 2013

MSU Animal Studies students Ian Werkheiser, Christina LeshkoSeven Mattes, and Samantha Noll presented at the First Annual Workshop On Food Justice and Peace: Bringing Theory and Practice Together at Michigan State University Lansing, Michigan.

April 8th, 2013 - Stories from the Field

Animal Studies graduate student Chris Jordan rescued a baby tapir with the Ecological Battalion of the Nicaraguan army. They named her Batata. Video of Batata

Chris writes: "Batata was confiscated from a farm in the Wawashang Reserve in Caribbean Coast Nicaragua where she was living alongside domestic pigs and dogs.  She was severely malnourished and suffering from stomach parasites.  Dr. Eduardo Sacasa, the Ecological Battalion of the Nicaraguan Army, and myself went to confiscate her on March 13, 2013.  She weighed 57 pounds when we confiscated her.  We treated her for parasites and are providing her with ample food, and she has gained over 50 pounds since.  She will reside in the area in which we are developing a tapir rescue, reproduction, and re-introduction center.  We will continue to monitor her health and how she adapts to the forest and if possible, we will release her back into the wild.  If she is too accustomed to people and domestic dogs, she will live permanently in the center, and if she is able to reproduce with a male tapir we intend to bring to the center at the end of this year, we will introduce her offspring to the surrounding forests to help ensure the survival of tapirs in the region."


April 6th, 2013

Animal Studies Graduate Students volunteered at Beekman Therapuetic Riding Center. They had a blast doing a range of spring cleaning activities, such as raking hay, cleaning out stalls, and moving fences.

April 4th

 There was a conference at the MSU Law School on April 4th, "Chicken Farming in the 21st Century" dealing with welfare and environmental issues - chicken/

March 14th, 2013

Please join us for a talk on Michigan's Wolves!

John A. Vucetich

John Vucetich is scheduled to give a talk in Holmes Hall C102, 11 - 12:30 on March 20. Snacks will be served. Please join us for this important and timely discussion of wolves in Michigan.

February News

The Hunters Did It -- human hunting was responsible for the extinction of large mammal species in tropical Australia (Rule et al., Science 335:1483-1486, 2012, Summary on 1452).

Wildlife in a Warming World is a report about climate change impacts upon species, region by region, throughout the U.S.

January 31st, 2013

Check out this new report about climate change impacts upon species, region by region, throughout the U.S:

Wildlife in a Warming World

The section covering the Great Lakes Region starts on page 28. 


January 25th, 2013

Jill Fritz, State Director for HSUS gave a talk on January 25 to the animal studies community on the HSUS initiative, "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" which intends to collect more than 225,000 signatures of Michigan voters to place a referendum on the ballot in 2014 that would allow voters to choose whether or not to enact the legislature's recently passed wolf hunting law. See their website at

Next month we will hear from Pat Lederle from the Michigan DNR on how they are managing the wolf population in the state.


January 2013

Interspecies Exhibit at The Gallery Project continues through Feb. 10 at The Gallery Project, 215 S. Fourth Ave.

See the Interspecies Exhibit at The Gallery Project, Ann Arbor co-curated by Linda Kalof, Rocco DePietro and Gloria Pritschet. This exhibit runs through February 10 and features the animal-focused work of dozens of artists, filmmakers and scientists (including Christina Leshko and Jessica Bell).

Read coverage of the exhibit here!


January 2013



January’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on January 25 (12:00-1:00, 221 Natural Resources) and will feature Jill Fritz, Michigan State Director for The Humane Society of the United States.   Jill will talk about the Humane Society’s Wolf Protection Campaign.

February’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on February 8 (12:00-1:00, 221 Natural Resources) and will feature Pat Lederle, Research Section Supervisor of the Wildlife Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Pat will talk about managing wolves in Michigan.

March’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on March 29 (12:00-1:00, 221 Natural Resources) and will feature Carl Taylor, Professor, Senior Fellow in University Outreach and Engagement and MSU Extension Specialist.  Carl will talk about the intersecting problems of dog fighting, gangs and violence.

April’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on April 26 (12:00-1:00, 221 Natural Resources) and will feature Page Yaxley, DVM and founder of MSU’s Hospice Veterinary Care Program and co-facilitator of the Companion Animal Loss Support Group.  Page will talk about the vet school’s hospice service which manages compassionate and palliative hospice care to animal companions with terminal illness.

Download PDF Flyer here or View Schedule Here


January 17th, 2012

The Animal Studies and Ecological Change and Cultural Studies Writing Group will meet every other week, starting on January 17th, 2013, at the MSU Main Library. We will work on publications, presentations, and understanding our individual writing processes. For more information, please contact Seven Mattes.


December 2012

The Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies has a final Table of Contents. Chapters will go online as soon as they are completed, and the printed volume will be released in 2015.


November 2nd, 2012

Animal Studies graduate students and Graduate Students for Animals members rescued four kittens from outside Berkey Hall this week.

During the cold, rainy nights surrounding the eastern onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, the feral mother and kittens had sought shelter inside a nearby office. Unfortunately, the kittens were placed right back outside by the office resident. Upon hearing of their status, Alexis Hinson, a compassionate undergraduate here at MSU, sought out the small kittens and informed Animal Studies students of their predicament. After much deliberation and, finally, searching, Christina Leshko, Meghan Charters, Jennifer Kelly, Seven Mattes, Rachel Kelly, and other Animal Studies graduate students rescued the kittens and located the resources needed for bettering their lives. They are now in a warm, safe location and will be spayed/neutered, and adopted out to loving homes. The feral mother will be trapped, spayed, and released.


October 2012

Congratulations to Cam Whitley who has a paper forthcoming in Teaching Sociology: "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Applying Image-Based Learning to Course Design."


October 2012

October's Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag featured MSU's Professor Meredith Gore of Fisheries and Wildlife & Criminal Justice. Professor Gore discussed her work on the ethical basis for conservation policy with a focus on the case of inbred wolves on Isle Royale.


October 27th, 2012

Animal Studies graduate Student Christina Leshko organized a panel titled "Animals and Culture" at the 2012 annual Michigan Sociological Association meeting in Grand Rapids, MI. It was a divserse panel that displayed the diverse nature of animal studies.

The Panel Presentations were as follows:

Jennifer Kelly, Christina Leshko, and Seven Mattes, Michigan State University
Perceptions of Wildlife: The Case of Ingham County Michigan.
Ryan Gunderson, Michigan State University
The Frankfurt School on the Animal Question.
Ian Werkheise, Michigan State University
Fighting Nature: An Analysis and Critique of Breed-Specific Flourishing Arguments for Dog Fights.
Cameron Whitley, Michigan State University
Animal Imaging: Communicating Climate Change in National Geographic.
Seven Mattes, Michigan State University
PETA’s Sea Kittens: Linguistic Absurdity in the Animal Rights Movement.
Jennifer Kelly, Michigan State University
Human Populations and Jaguars in Costa Rica.
Brigitte H. Bechtold, Central Michigan University
Infanticide and Siblicide: A Comparison of Human and Animal Culture.


September 2012

Animal Studies Students participated in the Great Lakes Bat Festival in Southfield, Michigan! We interacted with research students from Oakland University and learned valuable information and tips on our furry, flying neighbors.


September 2012: Upcoming Event

September's Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on September 28 from 12:00-1:00, in 223 Natural Resources. It will feature Mike Neault, DVM, Emergency Programs Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. Dr. Neault will lead a conversation on animals in disasters and what the nation and his agency are charged to do in disaster situations to minimize harm to animals.


September 23rd, 2012

CARRs student Katherine Groble shares a precious moment with one of MSU's pastured pigs on the Student Organic Farm.


Septembler 2012


Congratulations to Ryan Gunderson who has a paper forthcoming in Critical Sociology: "From Cattle to Capital: Exchange Value, Animal Commodification, and Barbarism."





August 2012

Fewer Foxes, more Lyme disease? The decline of red foxes, who are being displaced by coyotes, has been found to correlate highly with the incidence of Lyme disease. Foxes catch mice and other rodents who infect young ticks with Lyme-causing bacteria. (Science 336, 1487, 6/22/12).


July 2012

Jennifer Kelly (animal studies/environmental science & policy doctoral student in Sociology) has just published "Fostering Ecological Citizenship: The Case of Environmental Service-Learning in Costa Rica" (with Troy Abel), International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 6(2), 2012. See more here.


June 6th, 2012


Jessica Bell (MA, Northwestern) joins the Animal Studies Graduate Program in the Fall as a doctoral student in Sociology. Jessica has also been awarded an Animal Studies Fellowship for 2012-13. Jessica was also awarded the prestigious Environmental Science & Policy Fellowship for 2012-13.



May 5th, 2012

Congratulations to Rachel Kelly who graduated this Spring with a concentration in Animal Studies and a Master's in Community, Ag, Recreation & Resource Studies.. Rachel's thesis traced the history of the commercial dog food industry and public perceptions of canine dietary patterns.



May 20th, 2012

Fish need personal space, just like humans. In a study of domestic aquarium fish, biologist Ronald Oldfield found that fish in a small home tank nipped and charged at one another. The attacks subsided in a hundred-gallon tank filled with plants and alcoves (National Geographic, June 2012, p. 26).


May 2012 Announcements

Congratulations to animal studies doctoral students Cam Whitley, Ryan Gunderson and Jennifer Kelly. Ryan Gunderson won the 2011-12 Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society student paper award for his paper, Problems with the Defetishization Thesis: The Case of a Farmer's Market, which will now be considered for publication in Agriculture and Human Values. Cam Whitley received the 2012-13 Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Fellowship award, and Jennifer Kelly received a Tinker Field Research Grant for her study of Costa Rica's Jaguar Corridor Initiative. And that's not all -- both Ryan and Cam received a Future Academic Scholars in Teaching Fellowship award for 2012-13.

Congratulations to Cam Whitley on receiving the 2012 Leadership Endowment Award from the MSU Council of Graduate Students, Jennifer Kelly on receiving the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Scholarship award for summer 2012, and Christina Leshko on receiving an Animal Studies Fellowship award for her work in Isle Royale this summer.

Animals, People & Nature (SOC 412) will be taught online this summer at Michigan State University:
SOC 412, Animals, People and Nature, 3 credits
7/2/2012 - 8/16/2012 Sec 730-Online section. High speed internet access required.


March 30th, 2012

Jill Fritz, Michigan Director of the Humane Society of the US, gave an excellent talk at the March Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar on the work HSUS is doing to improve the lives of animals.


April 29th, 2012

McDonald's will no longer purchase pork products from suppliers who use gestation crates. Suppliers must provide plans for phasing out their use of gestation crates for pregnant sows by this May.


March 15st, 2012

The Animal Studies Program will help fund travel for four animal studies graduate students who will present their work at scholarly conferences this year in Colorado (Cam Whitley), New York (Monica List), Michigan, Baltimore (Seven Bryant), and Canada (Christina Leshko). Stay tuned for more award announcements.


April 27, 2012

Dr. Cynthia Bennett, Director of the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare at the Detroit Zoo, gave the April Animal Studies Brown Bag talk on the many initiatives and reseach projects that the Center is undertaking to achieve great welfare for exotic animals in captivity.

April 10, 2012

The Animals and Social Transformations graduate class (SOC 840) studied rats as our focus animal for the Spring 2012 semester. Here are some photos of a meet-and-greet event, and thanks to Molly Tamulevich for providing us with this opportunity to interact with an amazing animal.

March 30, 2012

Jill Fritz, Michigan State Director of the Humane Society of the US, gave the Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar to a full house of animal studies graduate students and faculty and undergraduates from Lyman Briggs College.


March 29th, 2012

Seven Bryant presented her paper, "Entering the Fight: The Research of Dog Fighting," at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology. This paper was part of a panel titled, "Activism Beyond the Classroom: Student Reflections on Activist Work," and focused on interviews with senior faculty members. In this case, Seven interviewed animal studies faculty member Dr. Carl Taylor and presented on animal advocacy and academia.


March 29th, 2012

Congratulations to Cam Whitley on receiving the 2012 Leadership Endowment Award from the MSU Council of Graduate Students, Jennifer Kelly on receiving the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Scholarship award for summer 2012, and Christina Leshko on receiving an Animal Studies Fellowship award for her work in Isle Royale this summer.


March 28th, 2012

Animal Studies graduate students had the rare opportunity to attend a lecture by Jane Goodall at Central Michigan University. They left inspired by her words of hope for the future of the planet.

Pictured: Ashley Couch, Christina Leshko, Samantha Noll, Jennifer Kelly, Melanie Whitley, Cam Whitley, and Rachel Kelly.


March 16th, 2012

Animal Studies graduate students attended a Graduate Students for Animals event on Animals in Spirituality. Three speakers - Scott Sherman, Frank Graham, and Erin Rich - spoke about the complex relationships humans have with animals, and vice versa, in a variety of religious traditions.


March 9th, 2012

The Animal Studies Program will help fund travel for two additional animal studies graduate students who will present their work at scholarly conferences this year in Baltimore, (Seven Bryant) and Colorado (Jennifer Kelly).


February 24, 2012

Scout Calvert, Adjunct Sociology Faculty and Animal Studies Faculty, gave the February Animal Studies Brown Bag Seminar. She discussed her research on "cattle, people and discourses of gender and family."


February 14, 2012

Great News: McDonald's will no longer purchase pork products from suppliers who use gestation crates. Suppliers must provide plans for phasing out their use of gestation crates for pregnant sows by this May.


February 6, 2012

The Animal Studies Program will help fund travel for three animal studies graduate students who will present their work at scholarly conferences this year in Colorado (Cam Whitley), New York (Monica List), Michigan and Canada (Christina Leshko). Stay tuned for more award announcements.


January 22, 2012

The Animal Studies Community's "Wish it was Spring" gathering on Sunday was an enjoyable pasta and puzzle party. Here are some photos ...

Pictured: Seven Bryant, Cam Whitley, Ana Wolken, Ashley Couch

In this picture: Georgina Montgomery, Ollie Montgomery, Carl Taylor

Pictured: Molly Tamulevich and Maria Iliopoulou

Pictured: Andrew Mattes and Meghan Hart

Unfortunately, we don't have pictures of these Animal Studies Graduate Students in attendance: Rachel Kelly, Monica List, Jennifer Kelly, Ryan Gunderson, Christina Leshko -- but we all had fun !

January 20, 2012

Michael Nelson, philosopher in residence of Isle Royale's Wolf-Moose Project, gave a terrific talk on the predator-prey ecosystem and the politics of genetic rescue at the January Animal Studies Brown Bag seminar.

Pictured: Rachel Kelly, Kelly O'Brien, Michael Nelson, Michelle Lute, Cynthia Bennett, Scott Carter, Lissy Goralnik

An Isle Royale Wolf Pack

January 18th, 2012

On January 18, Graduate Students for Animals launched a peaceful protest of the use of live animal entertainment at the Shrine Circus at the Lansing Center. Visit Born Free USA for more information regarding wild animals and circuses.


January 13th, 2012

Camie Heleski, Ph.D (MSU Animal Science) gave a talk titled, "Working Equids in Developing Parts of the World" on Thursday, January 19, 2012.

January 10th, 2012

Michael Nelson will be leading a conversation on the predator-prey ecosystem in Isle Royale National Park at this month's Animal Studies Brown Bag seminar (Jan 20, noon, 6H Berkey). Michael is the philosopher in residence of Isle Royale's Wolf-Moose Project.

January 4th, 2012

Our MSU Animal Studies Program is mentioned in the New York Times article, "Animal Studies Cross Campus to Lecture Hall," regarding the growing scholarly interest in human-animal interactions. Read the article here.

December 19th, 2011

The Animal Studies Brown Bag Schedule has been released for Spring 2012. Be sure to add these exciting events to your calenders. All brown bags will take place from 12:00-1:00pm in 6H Berkey - Basement.


January’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on January 20 (12:00-1:00, 6H Berkey Basement) and will feature Michael Nelson leading a conversation on the predator-prey ecosystem in Isle Royale National Park. Michael is the philosopher in residence of Isle Royale’s Wolf-Moose Project, and professor in MSU’s Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, Philosophy and Lyman Briggs. 

February’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on February 24 (12:00-1:00, 6H Berkey Basement) and will feature Scout Calvert, an assistant professor at Wayne State University and adjunct Sociology faculty at MSU. Scout (who studied under Donna Haraway in the History of Consciousness Program at UC Santa Cruz) will give a talk entitled, “Flush Sisters and Sire’s Milk: Cattle, People, and Discourses of Gender and Family.”

March’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on March 30 (12:00-1:00, 6H Berkey Basement) and will feature Jill Fritz, the Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States. Jill has an extensive background in grassroots activism and in public radio journalism (winning 10 first-place journalism awards). She will lead a discussion on her work with the humane society.

April’s Animal Studies Friday Brown Bag Seminar will be held on April 27 (12:00-1:00, 6H Berkey Basement) and will feature Cynthia Bennett, Director of Animal Welfare at the Detroit Zoo. Cynthia has extensive experience developing and managing conservation, education and science programs, and she will lead a discussion on the programs and initiatives of the Detroit Zoo’s Center for Zoo Animal Welfare.

December 12th, 2011

"Making Animal Meaning" edited by Linda Kalof and Georgina M. Montgomery has just been published by MSU Press.  It is the first book in The Animal Turn series. Congratulations!


December 10th, 2011

Graduate Students for Animals volunteered at Cat Tail Farms Animal Sanctuary. The nine volunteers cleaned the walls and floors of the facility, provided the nearly 150 cats with much needed attention, and learned important information regarding Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia.


December 9, 2011

Rats have empathy: they behave pro-socially in response to a conspecific’s distress. In a series of experiments, free rats intentionally and quickly liberated a cagemate trapped in a restrainer. Rats did not open empty or object-containing restrainers. They freed cagemates even when social contact was prevented. When liberating a cagemate was pitted against chocolate contained within a second restrainer, rats opened both restrainers and typically shared the chocolate (Science 334, 1427-1430, Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal, Jean Decety,and Peggy Mason, 12/9/11). Read more here.


December 2nd, 2011

Animal Studies students enjoyed a lively luncheon with Anna Peterson and relevant graduate students and faculty. Dr. Peterson's talk, "Rethinking the Animal Rights: Environmental Ethics Debate," followed.

The campus-wide interest in this deacdes-long debate resulted in a room packed to the brim!



October 18th, 2011

Anna Peterson, a Professor in the Religion Dept. at the University of Florida who works on animal ethics issues will be visiting MSU to give a talk on the environmental ethics-animal rights debate.
Paul Thompson
, the Agro-environmental philosophy group, the Animal Studies Program, and the Dept. of Religious Studies are co-sponsoring the talk. This event will take place on December 2nd, 2011, location to be announced.

There will be a lunch arranged for interested graduate students prior to her talk at 2pm. Animal Studies students will be meeting on November 30th to discuss her readings prior to the talk.

There will be a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in 6E Berkey (or e-mail Seven Bryant) for anyone who wishes to be a part of the discussion and lunch.


September 12th, 2011

Animal Studies students took part in a lively field trip to the Detroit Institute of Art to take in an exhibit specifically featuring animals. "It's a Zoo in Here! Prints and Drawings of Animals" featured over 150 pieces hailing from various cultures and moments in history. We each left with a new perspective on the role animals of all varieties have played throughout the centuries.

September 7, 2011

Linda Kalof has been appointed to the National Research Council's Committee to review the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Management Program. The project scope is posted on the National Academy of Sciences website.

August 28, 2011

Cameron Whitley, Animal Studies doctoral student in Sociology, presented his paper, "Violence Against Animals: Examining the Relationship between Animal Production and Animal Abuse," at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Las Vegas.

August 4th, 2011

Seven Bryant, Animal Studies doctoral student in Anthropology, has been awarded funding by MSU for six months in Japan in recognition of her short-listing for the now-defunct 2012 Fulbright student competition. Her project is "Doubutsu aigo: An ethnography of the Japanese animal welfare movement," a study of the Osaka-based Animal Refuge Kansai in the context of the distinct, multifaceted, and at times controversial human-animal relationships in Japan. Seven will live in the animal refuge. We are very proud of Seven and happy for the animals in Japan who will benefit from her work there.

July 29, 2011

David Favre, MSU Law Professor and Animal Studies Faculty member, was recently interviewed by CNN on legislation to include pets in domestic violence protective orders.

July 9, 2011

Ashley Couch is working this summer with the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare at the Detroit Zoo to fulfill the Animal Studies Research Practicum requirement.. The Center is involved in the rescue of exotic animals used in circuses and menageries. A recent rescue resident at the Zoo is Polly, a Syrian brown bear who was part of a small small circus, and when too large to be transported with the menagerie she was confined permanently in a small cage at the circus owner's compound.

June 24th, 2011

We welcome three new doctoral students into the Animal Studies Graduate Specialization starting this Fall semester: 
  • Ryan Gunderson (MA, Sociology, University of Wyoming) will continue his work on the social and environmental consequences of factory farming and slaughterhouses from a Marxist perspective (he has papers forthcoming in Rethinking MarxismCritical Sociology and Telos). 
  • Meghan Hart (BA, Communications, Western Michigan University) will focus on marine mammal preservation and the media construction of sharks.
  • Christina Leshko (MA, Psychology & English, Rutgers) will study the human-animal bond and attitudes toward animals, nature and the environment.

In addition to the Animal Studies Graduate Specialization, all three will also take the Environmental Science & Policy graduate specialization.

June 20th, 2011

On June 10th, Animal Studies students Cam Whitley, Rachel Kelly, and Seven Bryant and faculty Laurie Thorp and Paul Thompson presented at the conference, "Food and Agriculture Under the Big Sky," the Joint 2011 Annual Meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS),Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS),& Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition at the beautiful University of Montana.

Their presentations were titled "Wallowing in the Michigan Mud: Cognitive Perceptions of Pigs through Local Organic Food System Integration," and "Tales from the Field: Pork Production as Ecological Community of Care in Higher Education," respectively. Both papers concerned the ongoing pastured pig project at the Student Organic Farm.

May 3rd, 2011

Linda Kalof's interview with WLNS-TV6 on Childhood Animal Abuse aired on Thursday, April 28.

April 5th, 2011

Dr. Joe Zammit-Lucia's visit with the Animal Studies Community at MSU was an absolute success!  Following a reception on Monday evening (April 4), Dr. Zammit-Lucia delivered an inspiring and refreshing seminar and engaged in stimulating conversations about his animal portraiture with faculty and students from Sociology, Anthropology, Fisheries & Wildlife, Agriculture, Recreation & Resource Studies, Philosophy, Political Science and Art & Art History.

April 4th, 2011

Animal Studies graduate students Cameron Whitley, Rachel Kelly, and Seven Bryant, and undergraduate Mitch Goldmith represented Michigan State University with a total of five paper presentations at Brock University's "Thinking About Animals" Conference.

March 24th, 2011

Maria Iliopoulou, DVM and doctoral student in Animal Studies, has received the James Herriot Award from Ingham County Animal Control in recognition of her rescue activities for homeless animals in the community. Congratulations Maria!

March 12th, 2011

Graduate Students for Animals, the active Animal Studies student group, attended Grand Rapids' Wake-Up Weekend. We enjoyed vegan pizza, lectures regarding veganism and vegetarianism, and participated in the vegan chilli cook-off!

March 10th, 2011

The Animal Studies Specialization welcomes Diana Stuart to its faculty!

Diana Stuart is an Assistant Professor with a joint assignment in the Sociology Department and at the Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. Read more about her expertise in her faculty profile.

February 28th, 2011

Graduate Students for Animals is now an official Michigan State University Student Organization! Among several benefits, GSA is now able to use the university facilities and services, hold a table at Sparticipation, and acquire program funding.

GSA will be using this new status to create a website, organize a four-part movie screening, and help fund our volunteer activites and our newly founded small animal rescue!

For information on joining GSA, please contact Seven Bryant.

January 23rd, 2011

Animal Studies Specialization students Ashley Couch, Monica List, Molly Tamulevich, and Seven Bryant attended the Detroit Zoological Society's Animal Welfare Forum. This is one of many future events planned by the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare.

November 22, 2010

Animal Studies specialization student Seven Bryant presented a poster session at the American Anthropology Association's 109th annual meeting in New Orleans, LA. The session was titled "Corgis, Hello Kitty, and Whales: The Dynamic and Speciesist Perception of Animals in Japan."

November 13th, 2010

Animal Studies students volunteered art SASHA Farms as part of their newly formed organization Graduate Students for Animals. After a tour through this safe haven for animals, we clipped goat toenails, scooped horse manure, and bonded with the diverse critters throughout the farm. Rachel Kelly, Cameron Whitley, Seven Bryant, Jennifer Kelly, Molly Tamulevich, and friends look forward to heading back!

See more pictures here!

December 4th, Graduate Students for Animals will be headed to Cat Tail Farms Animal Sactuary, a lively home for cats with feline leukemia and other illnesses.

For information on joining Graduate Students for Animals or tagging along on a volunteer activity, please e-mail Seven Bryant.

October 26, 2010

Donna Haraway visited MSU and the Animal Studies Community the weekend of October 23-24th!

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Visit the Michigan State University Homepage Return to the Animal Studies Homepage