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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 Yunker0 Comments

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 Raymond0 Comments

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 Yunker0 Comments

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 Yunker0 Comments

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 Yunker0 Comments

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 Yunker0 Comments

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 …

Film Review: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

In Animal Rights, Climate Change, Conservation, Education, Endangered Species, Oceans, Organic Farming, Pollution, Trees, Veganism by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Okay, so this isn’t a book review — but it’s such an important documentary that I wanted to review it here on EcoLit Books. (The book connection: As you watch the film, you’ll learn about a few books to add to your reading list, including Comfortably Unaware and The World Peace Diet.) Cowspiracy (which is currently still available for its special Earth Day price of $1) covers the impact of animal agriculture on the planet — it’s the number-one contributor to human-induced climate change and affects everything from the rainforests to the oceans — and why some of the biggest environmental organizations never talk about …

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Book Review: The Soul of All Living Creatures by Vint Virga

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Conservation, Nonfiction by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Vint Virga’s The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human opens with a quote from Hippocrates: “The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.” Following next is an author’s note in which Virga explains why he uses the pronouns “he” and “she” when referring to animals, rather than the often-used “it,” which, as he writes, “draws a distinction between them and us and reinforces viewing them as objects rather than fellow human beings.” From these lovely beginnings, the book goes on to recount stories from Virga’s …

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Book Review: Mikis and the Donkey by Bibi Dumon Tak

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Children's Books by Anna Monders0 Comments

“Mikis stroked the donkey’s ears. It was six feet from the bottom of the ears to their very tip…and then six feet all the way back down again. Well, that’s what it felt like. The donkey’s ears were so long that there seemed to be no end to them!” There’s a surprise in Grandpa’s stable. It’s a donkey with soft fur, a pale nose, and two very long ears. Mikis feels an immediate connection with the animal. He names her Tsaki and becomes the animal’s friend and advocate. While Grandpa considers the donkey to be “a tractor on legs”—he bought her …

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Book Review: Invisible Beasts by Sharona Muir

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Fiction by Midge Raymond0 Comments

Sharona Muir’s Invisible Beasts is an absolute delight, and not only for animal lovers. This smart, whimsical novel takes readers not only into a world of “invisible beasts” but into the mind of a charmingly quirky character. The novel is written in a nonfiction style, as a personal bestiary by a woman with a genetic gift (passed down from her granduncle and occurring again, she learns, in her nephew)—the ability to see invisible animals. “Why have I written a book that could expose me, and my family, to ridicule and imputations of lunacy?” Sophie asks in her introduction. The answer sets …