I am currently working on two projects. Saudi Arabian Feline Lives is based upon my 17 years living in Saudi Arabia where I rescued street-living animals, primarily, but not limited, to cats.
This project is close to my academic advocacy heart as, although I have now left Saudi Arabia (2021) I still co-run the rescue volunteer network (now a charity) I founded.
I am hoping to contribute more to trying to drive change to improve street-living animals' lives. I further hope to try to influence current practices which contribute to the unfettered abandonment of cats within Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian Feline Lives
(based on MA Anthrozoology research and my lived experience)
Domestic cats are ubiquitous in Saudi Arabia (KSA). They live in the streets, in homes, are bred, frequently traded and often abandoned. Many do not thrive in the streets, simply survive and many perish once abandoned. As Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourism and social media gives a platform to sellers, rescuers and relinquishers alike, the domestic cat landscape in KSA is receiving increased attention from various stakeholders. Labouring in the Saudi Arabian rescue world for seventeen years and founding one of the first legal animal welfare charities in KSA, has given me and my research a unique insight into why cats are relinquished and often abandoned in KSA.
My MA Anthrozoology dissertation research offers strategies to improve the feline landscape for all stakeholders, especially the marginalised feline population. I am seeking to positively impact the lives of cats and humans residing in Saudi Arabia by presenting my findings, in the hope of engaging in further dialogue with stakeholders interested in Saudi Arabian cat welfare. My aim is to drastically and ethically improve the lives of street-living cats by focusing upon the lived experience of these cats regardless of their origin.
You can see two of my conference presentations here. I also have an article (Saudi Arabian Feline Lives : Insights into Abandonment) in the peer review process.
Mikey - an ex street-living, Saudi Arabian cat
(PhD Research Project in Construction)
Kissing Sharks is a project currently in construction. This project will form my PhD in Anthrozoology. A trans-species and sensory ethnography of human- shark (Selachimorpha) encounters. Many shark species are on the edge of extinction. It is argued that conservation efforts require a positive public perception of sharks. However, public perceptions of sharks are often that of mindless ‘man-eaters’ and research shows the general public’s shark knowledge is low. Conversely, the economy of global shark-watching ecotourism increases annually as does the number of recreational scuba divers participating in the activity. Furthermore, a number of scuba divers have developed intimate, endearing relationships with sharks. These divers have come to know sharks as individuals, with an evolving interest in the lives and deaths of the sharks they befriend. The aim of my research is to explore these unique human-shark relationships, through the lens of symbiotic ethics, examining how and why these shark-human relationships are different to those so frequently portrayed. The research will contribute to the understanding of sharks within the social sciences through a symbiotic, ethical, anthrozoological lens.
Two years into construction, I am waiting for permits and applications for fieldwork to be approved. I am hoping to have these in place by end September 2022.