CARE’s Research and Development team is data-driven and equity-centered. CARE is using evidence-based thought leadership that advances equity and reform for marginalized communities at the intersection of animal well-being and social justice.

Our Method For Change

“Minorities in general and African Americans, in particular, are still virtually invisible in all aspects of organized animal protection.”

~ Society and Animals

In her peer-reviewed study in Society and Animals, Dr. Sue-Ellen Brown validated the widely held but undocumented belief that few African Americans work in U.S. animal welfare organizations.

In 2005, at the time of Brown’s study, no other research studies on this specific topic could be located.

However, since CARE’s founding in 2020, we’ve made important strides to undo the erasure BIPOC communities suffer within the Animal Protection field. Aside from the lack of representation in the field identified by Dr. Brown in 2005 and CARE in 2020, CARE has discovered a considerable amount of Unconscious Bias within the field as well [See results below]. The question CARE is now attempting to answer, is whether the field’s unconscious bias influences policy making, Animal Control Laws, and Pet Adoptions.

Why is Research Important?
Understanding the root causes of our challenges often provides a pathway to solutions. Unfortunately, little research has been done within BIPOC communities to asses whether or not traditional Animal Welfare polices cause harm to underserve communities.

The lack of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color [BIPOC] in the Animal Protection field means that millions of BIPOC Americans live under policies and laws that affect them and their four-legged family members with virtually no representation.

CARE is using evidence-based thought leadership that advances equity and reform for marginalized communities at the intersection of animal well-being and social justice. Our approach offsets the lack of research focused on BIPOC communities and their pets. The historic absence of insights into BIPOC pet companionship has allowed prejudices to remain unchecked and too often leads to critical resources not being provided to communities in need. Or, resources being delivered without a high degree of cultural competence.

Open Research & Development Projects, Articles and Papers

>>Decolonizing Animal Welfare Through a Social Justice Framework

Discussion [Excerpt]:

“We argue animal welfare must build authentic relationships with intersectional BIPOC communities to holistically address the challenges that impact these communities and their pets. In essence, this work requires the disruption of the status quo within animal welfare to benefit pets within marginalized communities.”
– Rudd & Jenkins
[Read the full Peered Reviewed article: Frontiers in Veterinarian Medicine]

>> Racial Disparities in Animal Welfare Exploratory Study
with the University of Tennessee, Stan L. Bowie, Ph.D., MSW Professor and Principal Investigator


The proposed research study explores whether racial disparities exist within animal welfare agencies (AW0s) and adoption practices in four communities- Tucson, Arizona; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee.  The study will include a “mixed method” approach using a structural racism framework to explore how animal control practices and pet adoption practices may be impacting some communities differently than others. A focus on individual, organizational, and community level data will provide a comprehensive view of animal welfare practices in these communities.

The proposed study will answer two broad research questions:

  •  What differences exist in how different racial and ethnic groups within a community are impacted by policies and procedures of animal control agencies and animal welfare organizations?
  • How are pet adoptions procedures and practices impacting different racial and ethnic groups within a community?

The study will result in a comprehensive report about how different policies and practices within the animal welfare industry in four communities contribute to disparate impacts felt by pet owners of different racial and ethnic groups. This report will help to inform discussions within the industry in their efforts to reduce disparities across racial and ethnic groups.

>> Community Participatory Research (CPR):
Little Earth of United Tribes Companion Pet Census Study 2021

Study Description:

This survey study seeks to strengthen the quality of resources and services to the Little Earth of United Tribes community using Community Participatory Research (CPR) practices. Survey questions were crafted with input from a tribal representative to identify the needs and experiences of tribal pets and their families. Little Earth’s Proximate Leaders serve as CARE’s point of contact for this study. CARE supported each household that responded to the survey with incentives. The survey serves to inform approaches that best support the participating tribal community.

>> Bowling Green Human and Companion Animal Natural Disaster Impact Study

Study Description:

The study assesses the experiences, barriers, and issues of importance from companion animal owners of color living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who have been affected by December 2021 tornados. In partnership with CARE’s Environmental Justice Division, we seek to help identify how to prevent and combat the unwanted effects of natural disaster scenarios. 


The Animal Welfare field [Animal Protection field] tends to focus on animals only, versus Human and Animal Well-being collectively, Insight on how the field affects current and potential BIPOC pet parents is crucially needed to inform better future impacts. CARE is committed to fostering positive outcomes for communities of color. To that end, we seek data that illustrates the industry’s impact on diverse communities all over the U.S., and that task requires a dynamic and experienced research team.


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As socially aware creatures, we know admitting to having biases can be considered unproductive or even unkind. That said, when asked if we have a bias, we may say we do not, especially if our preference conflicts with acceptable social norms.
Most of the participants in our  Implicit Bias study were White American women who work within the Animal Welfare industry. The majority stated that they prefer Poor People over Rich People and Black People over White People. Nevertheless, the opposite is proven out in unconscious testing. In other words, when participants did not have time to think about what answer was the most acceptable, they answered unfiltered.
Bias is not an absolute predictor of behavior, but it’s clear the Animal Welfare field’s biases are related to its demographics found below.
Implicated Bias Study