Call for papers: Animals and Social Work


Social work does not ordinarily include animals, and they are not usually included in social work curricula beyond a rare mention (Evans & Gray, 2012; Ryan, 2011). Including animals in the ANZASW Code of Ethics (2019) and the AASW (2020) Code of Ethics represents a welcome, though not unproblematic, shift (see, Hagena et al, 2022). Social work has much to gain learning about, and from, animals. For example, research has shown that animal abuse and family violence are linked (Becker & French, 2004; National Link Coalition, 2019; Taylor, Fraser & Riggs, 2019). There are also innovative human-animal social programs taking place around the world, for example, consider the women’s shelters now accommodating companion animals (see Pet Refuge NZ; Taylor & Fraser, 2019); and free veterinary services for people sleeping rough with their animals (see Pets in the Park, 2023; Street Tails 2022). These programs have the potential to be inspiring and relevant and need greater recognition, however, in this proposed edition we are starting from the premise that social work needs to adopt a more-than-human focus inclusive of animals that requires more than simply acknowledging their sentience (also see Adamson, 2017; Ryan 2011, Taylor et al., 2014). We need to consider the positioning of the animals’ involved in such ventures and ask how social work can contribute ensuring both best practice and the theoretical development regarding the roles of animals in such programmes (and this includes critique).


This Special Issue is intended to be used to:

  • Bring together social workers and others already doing human- animal work,
  • Stimulate discussion of animals and social work across the human imposed categories of pets, livestock and wildlife,
  • Explore social work and animals in and across the spectrum of animal welfare and animal rights, and
  • Create a collection of articles and commentaries that inform, inspire and advance animal social work into the future.

Major theme:

  • Animals and social work across the animal welfare-animal rights spectrum


  • First Nation knowledges, social work and animals
  • Care farming, animals and social work
  • Animal assisted therapies and social work; companion animal programs for trauma recovery of humans and animals
  • Non-deliberative (not talk based) social work and animals; animals and ‘hard to reach’ human populations
  • Animals and mental health, animals and human emotions (joy, loneliness, empathy)
  • Humane empathy programs; pet grief, loss, abandonment support services
  • Animal sanctuaries, rescue shelters and community work;
  • Intersectionality, feminism and speciesism; animals in critical/green social work; posthumanism, social work and animals
  • Animals, animal agriculture, social work and climate change; animals and rural/remote social work; animal-inclusive disaster social work, including animals and COVID
  • Showcasing ‘successful’ human-animal social programs
  • Social work advocacy and social action related to the promotion of animal welfare/rights
  • History of child rights and animal rights movements; antivivisection and social work; v*gan Social Work (vegetarian and vegan SW)
  • Animals, social work and art
  • Future human-animal collaborations and social work
  • Or by negotiation with Editors


The call for abstracts is due 1st August 2023

The full article will be due 1st April 2024

Abstracts and a working title

  • Please supply an abstract of 250 words with a working title and up to 6 keywords. Submissions may take the form of:
    • Full papers - 7000 words including references
    • Research briefs - 3500 words
    • Viewpoints - 2000 words
    • Practice notes- 3000 words

Please see the author guidelines for information about prorating and submitting your article.