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Book Review: Rescued

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Endangered Species, Fiction by Mindy Mejia

Rescued, Eliot Schrefer’s third entry in his anticipated quartet of ape novels published by Scholastic, represents a departure in many ways from the first two books in the series. Endangered and Threatened both took place in Africa and featured early teen narrators fighting to survive alongside bonobos and chimpanzees. In Rescued, Schrefer brings his series to the United States and introduces us to John, a sixteen-year-old football player who is the product of a broken home, and Raja, the orangutan his father smuggled into the country to become the family’s pet. We first meet these two as they are separated, Raja …

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Cloak and Jaguar: Following a Cat from Desert to Courtroom

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker

Living in Southern Oregon, we’ve followed the comings and goings of a gray wolf named OR-7. When it dipped into Northern California, it became the first documented wolf in that state in 100 years. But now that we have named this animal, we must live with the constant fear that it will be harmed by humans, such as ranchers or hunters. With this in mind, I was eager to read Cloak and Jaguar by Janay Brun. In 2011, Arizona saw its first documented jaguar in a decade. Jaguars once roamed widely through the Southwest US but have not been welcome in …

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Book Review: The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Nonfiction, Oceans, Oil, Pollution by Midge Raymond

The Penguin Lessons is the story of a young Englishman who, on vacation in Uruguay from his teaching job at a boarding school in Argentina, rescues an oil-covered Magellanic penguin. This memoir will charm anyone who loves these tuxedo-feathered birds — and Neil Baker’s illustrations, on the cover and scattered throughout the book, are enchanting. Author Tom Michell first encounters the penguin on a beach among thousands of dead birds, and he manages to bring it back to his vacation apartment to clean its feathers of oil. “The penguin was filthy and very aggressive. Its beak snapped shut with a …

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Book Review: The Vegan Studies Project

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Nonfiction, Veganism by John Yunker

Donald Watson is widely credited with having coined the term “vegan” in 1944, when he and others founded the Vegan Society. Since then, the word has become so heavily loaded with cultural and emotional baggage (both pro and con) that an increasing number of vegan restaurants and food brands I come across now use the words “plant-based” instead. But I like the word “vegan” in all its messy glory. And I’m not about to stop using it. The fact is, the word represents disruption on an enormous scale — to food industries, political systems, religious traditions, family traditions, and personal relationships. This word can make people uncomfortable. There …

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Do Unto Animals: A Guide to Raising a More Compassionate Family

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Book Reviews, Children's Books, Conservation, Endangered Species, Insects, Nonfiction, Veganism by John Yunker

I grew up around cats, so it always struck me as odd when people didn’t understand what a cat’s purr signified. Then again, I did not grow up around cows or goats or sheep and don’t understand their behaviors. You have to learn how to live among animals. How to read the languages they speak through their body language and the noises they make. And since not all of us were raised in households with pets or by outdoorsy parents, how do we learn how to peacefully coexist with animals when we don’t have much practice? This book provides a great start. What I …

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Submissions for Among Animals will close December 15

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Conservation, Endangered Species, For Writers, Insects, Veganism, Wolves, Writing Opportunities by Midge Raymond

We are pleased to announce we’re on the home stretch toward choosing stories for the next edition of Among Animals. We’re still looking for a few more great stories and have set a deadline of December 15. So if you’ve got a short story you think might fit, please send it along! And for more details about what we’re looking for in these stories, check out our first edition, which will give you a good idea of what the anthology is all about. And thanks to everyone who has shared their work with us so far. We’ve been honored to read your stories.

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Flight Ways: Birds living on the dull edge of extinction

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Birds, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker

In Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction, environmental philosopher Thom van Dooren tells the stories of five species of bird: Albatross Little Penguin Indian Vulture Whooping Crane Hawaiian Crow Each species sheds light on a different “extinction story.” We begin with the albatross — birds that spend most of their lives gliding inches above the sea, ingesting plastics and other contaminants that they in turn feed to their offspring, resulting in increased numbers of dead offspring. Fishing lines have had an equally devastating effect on the adults. Most humans may never set eyes on an albatross, but by eating seafood or by simply …

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Beyond Words: The more we study animals, the smarter they get

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker

In Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, Carl Safina sets out on a global journey to listen to and understand animals on their terms and not ours. By the end of this book, I can guarantee that readers will come away with a greater appreciation for the self-awareness, intelligence, and empathy of the animals we share this planet with. The bulk of the book is devoted to studying African elephants, North American wolves, and Pacific Northwest orcas (killer whales). Safina does an excellent job of describing what he sees and learns as he travels with naturalists who have dedicated their lives to understanding these species. We watch …

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Orion book award winners: The Bees and Feral

In Animal Rights, Book Publishers, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, For Writers, Nonfiction by John Yunker

Orion Magazine has announced its 2015 Book Award winners: Non-fiction winner: Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life, by George Monbiot (University of Chicago Press), Finalists: A Country Called Childhood, by Jay Griffiths (Counterpoint) The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt and Company) > See the EcoLit Books Review by Midge Raymond Windfall, by McKenzie Funk (The Penguin Press) Zoologies, by Alison Hawthorne Deming (Milkweed Editions) > See the EcoLit Books Review by JoeAnn Hart   Fiction winner: The Bees, by Laline Paull (Ecco Press) Finalists: Divine Animal, by Scott Russell Sanders (Earth Works Publishing) Invisible Beasts, by Sharona Muir …

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J. M. Coetzee (and many others) push for an end to animal testing

In Animal Rights, For Writers, Veganism by John Yunker

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics has issued an important report that calls for the “de-normalisation of animal experimentation.” The report is backed by numerous scientists, scholars, theologians and writers, such as Coetzee. You can view the report here. According to the report: The deliberate and routine abuse of innocent, sentient animals involving harm, pain, suffering, stressful confinement, manipulation, trade, and death should be unthinkable. Yet animal experimentation is just that: the ‘normalisation of the unthinkable’. It is estimated that 115.3 million animals are used in experiments worldwide per annum. In terms of harm, pain, suffering, and death, this constitutes one …