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Book Review: How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

Let me begin by saying I recommend this book to anyone who doubts that animals grieve. The evidence presented is overwhelming. Dolphins who try to keep their dead calves afloat. Elephants who seek out the remains of their dead years after their passing. A cat who wails inconsolably after losing a sibling. A turtle who comes ashore and stares for hours at the photo of its dead loved one. Or the story of two ducks, Kohl and Harper, who had been rescued from horrible lives in a foie gras factory. Author Barbara King writes: That Kohl and Harper lived for …

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Happy Earth Day!

In For Writers by Midge Raymond0 Comments

It’s been lots of fun to see so many celebrating literature on Earth Day. Serena Agusto-Cox of Savvy Verse & Wit has posted several eco-themed poems, honoring both Earth Day as well as National Poetry Month. Sheila Boneham’s post, “Reading for Earth Day and for Life,” features lists of literature for every reader. The Florida Department of Education has posted Earth Day reading lists for kids from pre-kindergarten through high school. In the case of Blair Richmond’s blog, a photo does the job of a thousand words. For all the teens and tweens (and grownups!) out there who like paranormal …

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Earth Day in the Plasticene Era

In Pollution by JoeAnn Hart0 Comments

  “It’s so hopeless,” a young friend said, tossing a plastic water bottle in the trash. “I don’t believe in recycling.” “Don’t believe?” I said, reaching into the garbage. “I didn’t know it was a religion.” “It’s a faith. A faith that you’re doing the right thing. A feel-good gesture that masks a larger problem.” As I dropped the bottle into the recycling receptacle, I felt that familiar spike of serotonin from having done my bit for the environment, and I knew she was right. Self-satisfaction with our little actions can keep us from taking up the larger, more difficult, …

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Book Review: Lapham’s Quarterly: Animals

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction, Journals and Magazines, Nonfiction by John Yunker0 Comments

The Lapham’s Quarterly has devoted its Spring 2013 issue to Animals. It’s a marvelous collection of historical essays and stories. Many of the stories included are in the public domain, such as this excerpt from Moby-Dick. What jumped out at me was this excerpt from the essay The Silent Majority by John Berger. The cultural marginalization of animals is, of course, a more complex process than their physical marginalization. The animals of the mind cannot be so easily dispersed. Sayings, dreams, games, stories, superstitions, the language itself recall them. The animals of the mind, instead of being dispersed, have been co-opted into …

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Q&A with Mindy Mejia, author of The Dragon Keeper

In Animal Rights, Endangered Species, Q&A by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Q&A with Mindy Mejia, author of The Dragon Keeper Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Dragon Keeper, and how long did it take you to write it? Did you have a special routine or place in which you wrote?  A: I was on a business trip in London in December of 2006 when I read an article in the paper about a Komodo dragon reproducing via parthenogenesis at the Chester Zoo. Since it was so close to Christmas, the article made a lot of overt comparisons to the Virgin Mary, and the tone of the entire piece was …

Q&A with Float author JoeAnn Hart and cover artist Karen Ristuben

In Oceans, Q&A by John Yunker0 Comments

JoeAnn Hart is the author of Float, a “witty, profound, and beautifully observed” (Margot Livesey) novel about family, the environment, and life in a hardscrabble seaside town in Maine. Karen Ristuben is an award-winning artist and educator whose work is environmental advocacy at its core. JoeAnn and Karen, who both live in Gloucester, Massachusetts, recently talked about their work and their passion for environmental awareness. Q, from KAREN RISTUBEN: JoeAnn, when did you become aware of the problem of marine plastics, and how did you get inspired to write about it? A: JOEANN HART: Living in Gloucester, where I have lived for …

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A summer retreat opportunity for writers focused on animal rights literature

In For Writers, Writing Opportunities by John Yunker0 Comments

The 300-acre Camp Muse at Shin Pond, Maine, is the site of a Summer Retreat Program for writers, scholars, artists, educators, and other cultural producers and knowledge workers focusing on animals and/or their humane treatment. The program, operated by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), invites all interested parties to apply for a residency at the property, which is open between July 1 and September 30, 2013. Camp Muse, a wooded retreat at the edge of a pristine and peaceful pond just ten miles from the northern entrance to Baxter State Park, offers an idyllic atmosphere for research, …

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Farmed fish may be safe for humans but not for the oceans

In Animal Rights, Oceans by John Yunker0 Comments

So it looks like the FDA is going to approve the sale and consumption genetically altered salmon. The AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon contains a growth hormone from the Chinook salmon, which causes it to grow twice as quickly as regular Atlantic salmon. By the way, you really should check out the company’s website; this is a company concerned about technology and intellectual property and the bottom line, not animal welfare. Here is a photo that compares one of their salmon (background) to a normal Atlantic salmon (foregound). Even if I did eat fish, I can’t imagine eating something that has been genetically modified …

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Book Review: The Jungle

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction by Midge Raymond1 Comment

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair I recently revisited Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle—the original edition published by a socialist newspaper in 1905, not the shorter version published by Doubleday, Page (after Macmillan ultimately rejected it) in 1906. It wasn’t surprising to see what had been left out of the original book (though the censored version was horrific enough) and I’m glad I had the chance to read the book in its entirety, as it was meant to be read. Most interesting to me, reading it for the first time as a vegan, is how much of an animal-rights book it is. …