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Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the Way to the Symbiocene

  • AEDC - Anthrozoology Education Dogs Canines and INS - Integral Neurosoma

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Humans' suffering often relates to other-than-human animals. It may be the case of professionals or volunteers experiencing compassion fatigue, local people witnessing the culling of dogs, the global community reacting to animals killed by hunters, or people suffering due to their unexpressed animality. Scenarios are numerous and the spectrum of human distress is also vast. Sometimes sorrow for animals is evident and conscious; in other cases, people live their pain unconsciously and silently. This paper examines and introduces some terms and perspectives. It features emotional distresses as anthrozoological concerns. Exposes animals as a human embodied experience. The Anthropause further paved the transition to the Symbiocene. Anthrozooalgia recognises the human suffering for other animals and reflects the change. Dogs accompany humans thoroughly and mirror their status.
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Recognising Anthrozooalgia on
the Way to the Symbiocene
Marco Adda*
Humans’ suffering often relates to other-than-human animals. It may be the case
of professionals or volunteers experiencing compassion fatigue, local people
witnessing the culling of dogs, the global community reacting to animals killed by
hunters, or people suffering due to their unexpressed animality. Scenarios are
numerous and the spectrum of human distress is also vast. Sometimes sorrow for
animals is evident and conscious; in other cases, people live their pain
unconsciously and silently. This paper examines and introduces some terms and
perspectives. It features emotional distresses as anthrozoological concerns.
Exposes animals as a human embodied experience. The Anthropause further
paved the transition to the Symbiocene. Anthrozooalgia recognises the human
suffering for other animals and reflects the change. Dogs accompany humans
thoroughly and mirror their status.
Keywords: Anthrozooalgia, Anthrozoology, Covid-19, Anthropause,
Symbiocene, Solastalgia, Animals, Dogs, Free-ranging dogs, Psychology
Anthropocene and the Anthropause
The term Anthropocene is part of the discussion of the human-
environment interaction. It refers to an epoch describing humans'
tremendous impact on the environment (Crutzen 2002; 2006; Lewis et al.
2015). Whether the Anthropocene started with domestication, during the
industrial revolution, or in the second half of the 20th century is debated.
Other-than-human animal domestication is a debated and biased concept
(Adda 2021a, 121-122; Szydlowski 2022). However, there is agreement that
humans critically affect the environment and other species. (Cooper et al.
2018) The Anthropocene is the epoch in which we live now, the age of
humans dominating and exploiting the world.
*Independent Researcher, AEDC Anthrozoology Education Dogs Canines,
Cite as:
Adda, M. (2022) Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene. In Frasin I., Bodi G.,
Dinu Vasiliu C. (Eds), Anthrozoology Studies, Animal Life and Human Culture. PPRESA
Marco Adda
The 2020’s Covid-19 pandemic caused a global shock. People
worldwide faced various challenges, from losing a beloved to the financial
crisis, from psychological and mental burdens (Aknin et al. 2021) to many
other forms of distress. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, emotional pain has
been on the rise. Many people are experiencing compassion fatigue and
various types of suffering related to humans and animals. Humans’
relationships with pets have inevitably changed (Dinu Vasiliu, 2020).
Anthropause is a term first coined by Rutz and colleagues in the
journal Nature Ecology & Evolution (Rutz et al. 2020). It describes the
pandemic’s pause on human mobility and operations, mainly travels
worldwide or people just moving around their area. The period of
lockdowns, also defined as Covid-cene (Adda 2020), presented a never
before seen set of circumstances. Researchers and organisations gathered
unprecedented amounts of data on the effects of human activities across
different ecosystems, species, and geographic regions. The Covid-19
lockdown and the Anthropause allowed a snapshot of the Anthropocene
and provided us with the opportunity to observe the world while human
activities were halted. That contingency brought an immediate benefit to
the environment and wildlife (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – Rutz et al. 2020, p. 1157.
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
During the lockdown in 2020, vegetation thrived, and wildlife did too.
We are still observing the effects of the Anthropause on humans, nature,
and other animals. For example, while people were restricted for long
periods, they had the opportunity to encounter in their neighbourhood deer,
coyotes, wild boars, wild cats, monkeys, and snakes. The Anthropause
provided some humans with renewed attention to animals and wildlife.
Other-than-human species re-entering the human space allowed a
reconnection of humans with nature. That represented a vital opportunity
for humans to witness how other species behave and experience the human
landscape. In other words, the recent pandemic and the Anthropause
allowed humans to experiment with how the world would be if human
activities stopped. Urban rewilding reflects the thriving of vegetation and
wildlife during the lockdown, and it is featured in popular and scientific
observations worldwide (Los Angeles Times; Manenti et al. 2020; Rutz et
al. 2020) (Figure 2). The lockdown and relevant decrease in human action
also improved seismic investigations. (Arroyo-Solórzano et al., 2021)
Figure 2 - Manenti et al. 2020, p. 3.
Also, there are contexts where wildlife suffered from the absence of
humans. For many animals, the pandemic lockdown resulted in a threat.
This is the case of animals killed by poachers and those who rely on
ecotourism as a relevant source of conservation efforts (Wired). This aspect
is relevant, deserves specific attention, and is not investigated in this essay.
Marco Adda
A world without humans
The Anthropause fosters the imagination of a world without humans.
Studied by some already (Tarizzo 2012), the Anthropause may turn into a
thoughtful speculative biology and evolution exercise.
In 1981 Douglas Dixon wrote After Man: A Zoology of the Future, a
book on speculative evolution illustrated with powerful and inspiring
images, believable creatures supported by ecology, and evolutionary
theories (Dixon 1981). The book’s premise is simple: take the Earth today,
remove the humans, and let evolution take its course for 50 million years.
What new animals would evolve? A few years later, the same author
published Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future (Dixon 1990),
speculating on the evolution of our species over the next five million years.
Alan Weisman’s futuristic eco-fantasy book, The World without Us
(Weisman 2007), is another thought experiment in speculative biology and
ecology. It outlines how cities and houses would deteriorate, how long
human-made artefacts would last, and how remaining life forms would
evolve, guessing that residential neighbourhoods would become forests
within 500 years and that radioactive waste, bronze statues, and plastic
would be among the longest-lasting evidence of human presence on planet
The book A Dog’s World. Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World
without Humans (Pierce and Bekoff 2021) is another beautiful thought
experiment of speculative biology, wondering, for example, how dogs would
redistribute if humans went missing. Dogs would likely adapt to new and
different ecological scenarios, find new resources, and change behaviour
and appearance to cope with the different environments. Would these post-
human dogs, as the authors call them, form groups? And what would
happen between dogs and other species? Would they coexist, cooperate, or
compete? Through fascinating and convincing reasoning, Pierce and Bekoff
foresee that the dogs would entirely adapt to a world without humans and
within three canine generations - less than 50 years (Figure 3). A Dog’s
World is “a necessary book that, through a visionary horizon, a metaphor if
you prefer, acknowledges many aspects of dogs often overlooked. It conveys
some crucial questions at the centre of our thoughtfulness” (Adda 2021b,
While intercepting the future, we deepen our understanding of the
present. We need new terms to redefine and refine our perception of the
world. Anthropocene, Anthropause, Covid-cene are some initial responses.
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
Figure 3 - A free-ranging Bali juvenile dog scavenging on daily offerings. (Sayan, Bali,
2015). Photo Marco Adda / AEDC Archive
A bridge to the Symbiocene
Is the Anthropause a break or the end of the Anthropocene? Does the
Covid-cene mark the entering of a new era?
Glenn Albrecht argues that the next era in human history might be the
Symbiocene (from the Greek symbiosis or companionship), namely, living
together for a common benefit (humans and the environment) and fostering
hope for a better period of Earth’s history (Albrecht 2016; Psychoterratica).
The blended term also finds resonance in other scholars' work (Prescott and
Loga 2017). Albrecht also coined the term Solastalgia (Albrecht 2005;
2012), describing human distress for the environment, namely, the lived
experience of negative environmental change as an emergent form of
mental distress. Earth’s distress links human physical, mental, and spiritual
pain and Solastalgia is one emergent form of mental anguish. Another
question arises, however. Given that we identify several forms of human
distress for the environment, what describes similar human distresses for
animals? Said otherwise, 1) is the Anthropause the crucial line marking that
transition to the Symbiocene? 2) What about animals through the change
to the Symbiocene?
Diverse moral valuation and treatment are core issues in the
discussion around animals and are observed across several contexts
(Caviola et al. 2020; Herzog 2010; Joy 2010). Scholars and professionals
consider the discrimination toward animals an expression of speciesism, as
Marco Adda
described in philosophy (Horta 2010) and psychology (Caviola & Capraro
2020; Dhont et al. 2020; Plous 2003), among others. Being humans in a
more-than-human world urges refreshed considerations and renewed
perspectives (see Adams 2020). People believing in human supremacy over
animals typically show less moral concern for animals (Krings et al. 2021).
Others are susceptible to animal causes. For example, those who are directly
involved with animals as professionals or volunteers may experience what
is known as compassion fatigue. The phenomenon is extensively observed
in animals passionate (Figley and Roop 2006), social workers, and other
professionals (Bride et al. 2007; Figley 1995; Sabo 2011). Many live their
pain silently, not knowing how to identify what’s happening to them. There
are many forms of distress tying humans to animals. With that premise, we
urge a primary term, an ‘umbrella’ which collects the human suffering for
other species. We need to stretch our awareness around the human pain
relating to other-than-human animals and identify it in all its forms.
For several decades, we have been exploring and seeking a new
understanding of the human-animal bond (Brown 2004), pet attachment,
and empathy toward animals (Rusu et al. 2019). Learning about pain for
animals is critical within that process. Here I introduce the term
Anthrozooalgia to describe human nostalgia, pain, and distress for animal-
related matters. There are numerous forms of human (anthro) for animals
(zoo) related suffering (algia). As well as for the environment and mother
earth, animal pain and suffering are linked to human physical, emotional,
and spiritual distress. That requires acknowledgment. It includes existing
and emerging distresses. The disconnection from wildlife, the misery of
animal trafficking and trades (Sollund 2013), the desperation for not
expressing one’s animality (Courtney et al. 2018; Gerbasi et al. 2008; 2017),
the loss of animals during disasters - especially for children (Travis 2014),
the debate around meat slaughter and consumption (Backa 2020), and the
contradictions in tourist meat-eating (Mkono 2015), are just some among
the many expressions of Anthrozooalgia. While significant efforts need to
be invested in identifying and validating its many forms, I define
Anthrozooalgia in some of its connotations here. The list is not exhaustive,
the elements are proposed in random order, and the titles can be further
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
1. Animal suffering
This aspect generally relates to humans' pet companions or free-
ranging animals exposed to an essential human presence. People, in those
contexts, suffer from animals being sick or injured.
2. Animals out of reach
Some people suffer from the inability to reach/encounter certain
animals. This is a sort of nostalgia for animals, a sense of frustration and
feeling disconnected from animals, e.g., wildlife. Feeling disconnected from
other animals and nature is widely experienced. That reflects the loss of our
3. Animality discrimination
A tremendous sense of frustration emerges for not being able to
express one’s animality. Being discriminated against and bullied for one’s
animality paves the way to depression and suicidal patterns. Furries,
Therians and Otherkin are vital examples of this scenario.
4. Mourning
Some may take years to mourn and process the loss of a companion
animal passed away. That may also relate to free-ranging or wild animals
with whom a human has interacted, directly or indirectly. It may also be the
case of an animal that has been taken away from a family member,
disappeared, or stolen.
5. Icon animals
The global community, mainly active on social media and following
international news, may suffer when famous animals pass away. When the
loss of an animal relates to a natural cause, the suffering is accompanied by
sadness. However, anger and hate are involved when a famous animal dies
for futile reasons, such as when killed by a hunter. It is the case of the wolf
Spitfire (2018), the wolf Takaya1 (2020), Cecil the Lion (2015), and the dog
Lennox (2012), among others. Collective distress erupts following the
unconceivable killing of those icon animals, generating global grudge and
collective anger.
1 A prominent example of Anthrozooalgia and collective mourning for an animal's
disappearance is the case of the wolf Takaya. Following Takaya's death in 2020, every year
on 24 March, the anniversary of the sad event, people gather in person and online for a
collective howling. The ritual consists of howling together, has a cathartic power, and
supports the mourning process. Thousands participate every year worldwide. The initiative
supports the memory of Takaya and all other wolves and animals killed for futile reasons.
Marco Adda
6. Animal politics
While some humans expropriate animals’ land, others suffer for that
and fall into an ‘ecological sense of guilt.’
7. Animals in disasters
When animals go lost, dispersed, missing, or die throughout a
disaster, that generates widespread suffering. Widespread participation in
funds collection to support animals reflects the sense of frustration
experienced by many. The action of donating triggers a cathartic sense of
relief. The current war in Ukraine and the terrifying dispersion of animals
is also an example of this form of Anthrozooalgia.
8. Animal exploitation
Abuse and exploitation of animals trigger the frustration and
suffering of many people. It is the case of animals restrained in
experimental and pharmaceutical research laboratories - not necessarily
mistreated and yet ‘imprisoned’ by humans; animals forced into fights, and
9. Animal consumption
Massive exploitation and abuse of animals for meat production
generate widespread frustration and suffering. In the last decades, attention
has grown around this delicate topic, with an exploding number of people
no longer consuming animal products worldwide.
10. Animal restriction
Those animals in shelters, zoos, bio-parks, circuses, or other
restricting contexts generate a sense of injustice and suffering in some
The transition toward a new epoch relies on vital experiences gathered
throughout the Anthropocene. The advent of ethology (the study of animal
behaviour), animal welfare, animal cognition, and compassionate
conservation throughout the 20th century reflect a sensibility for animals -
although that may have remained unidentified in many cases. That
sensibility laid the floor for a transformation. Humans have become more
empathetic toward animal sentience (Proctor et al. 2013) and consciousness
(Birch et al. 2020), and are willing to redesign their space by including
animals. Empathy for animals and the re-discussion of species identity link
to posthumanism and the discourse around anti-humanism and anti-
anthropocentrism (See Braidotti 2016). A pressing need to shorten the
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
distance between human and other species emerge in many contexts and
experiences, as we witness, for example, in the performing arts and the
emerging field of Performance Philosophy (Cull 2014; 2015).
The need for and formulation of new terms, concepts, and practices
on human-animal relations may be complementary to the “animal turn”, as
it raised in the last decade in the sciences and humanities (Shapiro 2017).
While shaping Anthrozooalgia provides a further frame for exploring the
human-animal interaction, the connection to animals here is embodied in
the human emotional and psycho-social-spiritual experience. The
articulated horizon of cases to consider, investigate and comprehend in
Anthrozooalgia, adds to a necessary and irrevocable “call for a critical and
social psychology of human-animal relations” (Adams 2017). A trans-
species psychology (Bradshaw & Watkins 2006) may shed light on both the
animals’ experience of the world and the human’s embodied experience of
Anthrozooalgia further contributes to the advancement of the
Symbiocene. On the other end, though, Anthrozooalgia is the resulting
force of the Symbiocene. It increases attention to humans’ empathy for
animals. Humans rediscuss their presence in the world and reframe the
species as part of a whole, not as a supremacist force over others.
Figure 4 – Anthrozooalgia visual representation. Photo AEDC
Dogs, the perpetual humans’ mirror
Marco Adda
The pandemic Anthropause has been a stressful time with rising
depression, confusion, solitude, and a sense of oppression. The impact of
the pandemic on human health is terrifying. Apart from those affected by
the virus per se, there is a surprising number of people worldwide suffering
psychological and mental consequences. Leo Sher relates
Studies indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with
distress, anxiety, fear of contagion, depression, and insomnia in the
general population and among healthcare professionals. Social
isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress, and
economic difficulties may lead to the development or exacerbation of
depression, anxiety, substance use, and other psychiatric disorders in
vulnerable populations including individuals with pre-existing
psychiatric disorders and people who reside in high COVID-19
prevalence areas. Stress-related psychiatric conditions including mood
and substance use disorders are associated with suicidal behavior.
COVID-19 survivors may also be at elevated suicide risk. The COVID-19
crisis may increase suicide rates during and after the pandemic. Mental
health consequences of the COVID-19 crisis including suicidal behavior
are likely to be present for a long time and peak later than the actual
pandemic. (Sher 2020, 707)
Amid such a crisis, dogs rescued humans. Dogs accompanied humans
for thousands of years, throughout what is known as domestication, and
have been involved in various ways in humans’ life and rituals (Bejenaru
and Bodi 2015; Ellen and Fukui 1996; Morey 2006; Price 1984; Sergis 2010;
Siddiq et al. 2021). The more humans have experienced numerous forms of
stress in the last century, the more they have looked at companion dogs as
a possible form of support. Notably, humans and dogs synchronise, and
“dogs, to a certain extent, mirror the stress level of their owners” (Sundman
et al. 2019, 1). Also, the benefits that humans get from animal attachment
are primarily known (Meehan et al. 2017; Thompson et al. 2014). In fact,
during the pandemic, we witnessed a rise in dog adoptions and fostering
(Ho et al. 2021; Morgan et al. 2020) for many people were seeking
emotional support throughout their self-quarantine (Futurity). An
exponential increase in price for the dog food industry occurred, and dog-
related stock market companies exponentially increased their profits.
Breeders sold out of all their puppies. Shelters emptied, too, and dogs found
provisional comfort as members of a human family. The sudden increase of
dogs’ adoptions among the benefits provided to both dogs and people, also
paved the way for some forms of Anthrozooalgia. While domestic violence
has increased among people, violence and abuse of dogs have also
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
increased. As well, dogs did not have enough time for themselves during
lockdown due to the continuous presence of their human family members
and over-solicitation. Thus, dogs have suffered from a lack of privacy, as did
many humans. Following the lockdown, dogs developed separation anxiety
and other behavioural issues, especially those receiving constant attention
from their humans. In the long run, significant consequences have been
observed in dogs, such as critical changes in behaviour, abandonments on
the street, massive sending of dogs back to animal organisations, and
shelters filling up again (BBC, The Canberra Times, The Washington Post).
Additionally, there were moments when dogs were believed to be
carriers of the Covid-19 virus. Many were abandoned, and some were killed.
That doesn’t just reflect dog suffering but this is also a form of
Anthrozooalgia as people globally were tormented by the mistreatment of
those dogs for their presumed guilt. On the other hand, dogs were employed
to detect Covid-19 in some airports. (CBS News; The Guardian; Unric)
Once again, dogs mirror humans’ contradictory behaviour, and we may
wonder whether those events reveal other forms of Anthrozooalgia.
Further, it is interesting to note that in parallel to dogs’ and other
animals’ explosion in adoption, the pandemic also resulted in a remarkable
increase in plant purchases (Think), with houseplants filling the voids in our
social lives with an influx of flora. That further reflects humans’ need to
rebalance their distance from nature (Frasin 2020) and rewilding (Adda
The case of free-ranging dogs
The 20th century has seen a progressive disappearance of free-
ranging dogs from cities. In many areas worldwide, the removal and
restriction of dogs have been considered an improvement of civilisation.
Consistent with that, developing countries may be inclined to follow a
similar pattern, unaware of the cultural heritage and environmental
relevance dogs may represent to their communities (Adda 2018). That is the
case for free-ranging dogs in Bali, Bucharest, Naples, and Lisbon, among
others. For example, in his The City is More Than Human: An Animal
History of Seattle, Frederick L. Brown portrays the changes in animal
management that occurred in Seattle throughout the 20th century (Brown
2017)2. Chapter four mainly focuses on dogs (and cats) management. Dogs
2 The compelling work can be found as a Ph.D. dissertation, too: Cows in the Commons, Dogs
on the Lawn: A History of Animals in Seattle.
Marco Adda
were legally allowed to roam the city's streets until 1958, when the ‘leash
law’, following increasing public pressure, ended the canine privilege to
As the freedom of dogs diminished (by law), and that of cats as well (by
practice), the intensity of the relationship between humans and pets grew. The
numbers of dogs and cats rose, and more of them now lived within the private
space of homes. Dogs and cats became more important to humans, even as
humans became more important to dogs and cats. (Brown 2017, 150)
Brown also notes that restrictions on dogs were happening across
America, and the removal of dogs from streets was considered part of
progressive and well-managed cities.
Those premises are functional to consider another similar scenario,
more recent, where dogs were progressively removed from the streets -
although not completely. It is the case of Bali, Indonesia, where, between
2008 and 2018, the government - and some locals, eliminated thousands of
free-ranging dogs, with venomous darts and poisoned food. Such
aggression was triggered by a rabies outbreak in 2008 and dramatically
reduced the canine population from approximately 800,000 to
approximately 150,000. Many individuals and organisations were active in
saving dogs and promoting rabies education throughout those years. Those
efforts reflected the desperate need to persuade the government and people
not to kill the dogs, as well as to reassure the community not to mistreat
dogs. Despite massive culling being ineffective against the long-term
control of the rabies virus (Hiby 2013; Tenzin et al. 2015), the
indiscriminate killing continued. With that premise, the 2020 Covid-19
pandemic outbreak and the chaotic and unclear news reporting dogs as
potential carriers of the Covid-19 virus echoed strongly in the memory of
people living in Bali. Additionally, the deliberate killing of bats was
occurring around Indonesia to (supposedly) prevent the spread of the
coronavirus (South China Morning Post). That further conditioned the
public opinion of the Balinese. A general panic was rapidly aroused, and
free-ranging dogs were suddenly mistreated or persecuted. It is worth
reminding that Bali dogs live both as companions and in free-ranging
lifestyles (Corrieri et al. 2018). Several organisations immediately
responded by explaining to people that dogs were not a threat to humans
(AEDC). Fortunately, the alerts on dogs being virus carriers dissolved
globally, and Bali dogs did not pay a high cost this time. A core study on
dogs in Bali and Covid-19 was also crucial to determine the harmlessness of
dogs and decrease the concern for both the government and the community
(Suharsono et al. 2021).
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
A critical drop in tourism and development in Bali contributed to a
less aggressive approach towards dogs during Covid-19. During the decade
from 2008 to 2018, the island of Bali experienced an exponentially growing
curve in development and tourism, with free-ranging dogs seen as an
element of disturbance to the image of decency that the then government of
Bali wanted to flaunt. Thus, the rabies outbreak in 2008 coincided with the
need to clean up the island from such an abundance of free-ranging dogs.
However, that perspective did not consider the uniqueness of Bali dogs, an
endemic canine population (Adda 2016; Corrieri et al. 2018; Irion et al.
2005). The severe persecution of dogs fostered various forms of
Anthrozooalgia. Throughout the many events of dogs disappearing, killing,
vaccinating, feeding, and adopting, among others, many individuals and
organisations were involved in the cause to save the dogs. Many people were
tormented by the killing of dogs and their suffering and disappearance.
Conversely, during the Covid-19 period, in 2020 and 2021, the island of Bali
was isolated and closed to tourism. Many development projects stopped and
workers, mostly from other areas of Indonesia, returned to their villages.
Lastly, a critical decline in economies further paralysed all the businesses
(Aljazeera.) In such an urgent scenario, dogs were not seen as an element
of disturbance and were not targeted as they previously had been. Lastly,
and significantly, a change in the government of Bali also contributed to a
different approach, with Pak (Sir) I Wayan Koster, the new governor elected
on 5 September 2018, more sensitive to the animal cause than his
predecessor, Pak I Made Mangku Pastika, who is remembered as a
persecutor of dogs, ‘coincidently’ in charge from 2008 to 2018.
Nonetheless, many free-ranging and companion dogs disappeared
during the pandemic lockdown due to the dog meat trade (Personal
communications, 2020-2021). As with some wildlife suffering from the
lockdown and the absence of humans, dogs in Bali have paid their price,
with resources decreasing and locals, likely non-Balinese, identifying dogs
as a relatively easily accessible food source. Additionally, the lack of tourism
and the closing of almost every restaurant resulted in a critical drop in
human-derived food. Thankfully, animal welfare organisations have been
active in feeding free-ranging dogs (People).
The case of free-ranging Bali dogs harassed during Covid-19 reflects
other issues, including dogs in India and other areas where free-ranging
dogs are present, as another example of dogs being mirrors of human
hysteria, confusion, and panic during the pandemic.
Marco Adda
The Covid-cene, alias the Anthropause, might represent a bridge to
the Symbiocene, a turning point to addressing climate challenges and
reimagining and co-designing the future with other species. The
Symbiocene epoch makes critical the inclusiveness of other species and
environmental awareness. Those purposes carry both ethical and health-
related duties. Solastalgia and Anthrozooalgia will grow and reflect human
distress for other species and the environment. Identifying Anthrozooalgia
invokes a world where we fully recognise and validate the distress humans
experience for other species. It may expand our comprehension of human
essence and the underlying links of humans with other species and nature.
Anthrozooalgia, as a term and concept, requires further reflections and
The separation from animals and nature is a form of collective stress,
although it is perceived by just a segment of the global population. That is a
form of psychozoologic syndrome, a discomfort, a condition of
anthrozooanxiety anxiety for the health of animals or the stress and
suffering of animals by humans. The Anthropause allowed a release of this
form of collective stress to some degree. With lockdowns worldwide, while
people were restricted, animals expanded with wildlife extending their
range into suburban and urban spaces. To some extent, the pandemic and
the Anthropause alleviated the burden of those suffering from the deep
separation from animals and nature. It endorsed a moment of reconnection.
Animals again entered the space ‘of humans’ and fostered a rediscovering
and deeper appreciation for nature. The Anthropause allowed for some
relief, in that wildlife reached us, and some people experienced forms of life
never encountered before, providing an opportunity to remember we are
not alone on this planet. That is an essential achievement for those who are
sensitive to these aspects.
A remarkable study asserts that initial qualitative and quantitative
data arising from this serendipitous global quasi-experimental perturbation
highlights the dual role humans play in threatening and protecting species
and ecosystems’ (Bates et al. 2021). While addressing the climate challenge,
deepening our understanding of humans impacting the planet, raising our
attention to non-human animals, and stretching our sympathy and
empathy for non-human animals, what type of future should we imagine?
What kind of future could we co-design? It is our responsibility to raise
attention to the emotional components.
Recognising Anthrozooalgia on the way to the Symbiocene
Dogs, once again, are the mirror of human behaviour, hysteria,
contradiction, and beauty. They reflect humanity’s many faces under
different circumstances, geographies, and cultures. Dogs, once again,
provide a window into human psychology and society, with free-ranging
dogs as the core to studying human economies, politics, and behaviour
(Adda 2021a; 2020). The case of free-ranging dogs of Bali further confirms
those values.
The global lockdown and the Anthropause mark an existential crisis:
the disconnection of humans from the environment, from animals, and
themselves as a whole species. The disconnection is counterbalanced by
deep concern, which also causes several forms of collective suffering. The
times in which we live demand adults become self-critical and foster
reflection and action in support of the environment, animals, and humans.
Further, we must invest in the education of children, youth, and
adolescents. The unprecedented times experienced throughout the Covid-
19 pandemic have dismantled human exceptionalism, urging a paradigm
change, from the vision of humans as a unique and super-elite inhabitant to
humans as guests of planet Earth.
My gratitude goes to the committee of the Anthrozoology Symposium, Iasi,
Romania, for inviting me to be a presenter at the 4th Edition,Animal Life and
Human Culture”, in November 2021. My genuine appreciation goes to Irina Frasin,
George Bodi, and Codrin Dinu Vasiliu to coordinate this volume and assist with this
essay. My thanks also go to all the institutions and colleagues in Romania for their
efforts in paving the way for Anthrozoology. Thank you to those anonymous
individuals in Bali who maintained personal communication during the Covid-19
pandemic and reported relevant information on the free-ranging dogs. Thanks to
Cathirose Petrone for her punctual and precious editing support and Enrica Sartore
for some writing input.
Adams, Matthew. 2020. Anthropocene Psychology: Being Human in a More-
Than-Human World. Routledge.
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