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Celebrating eco-literature with ReadVeg stickers

In Animal Rights, Education, Organic Farming, Veganism by Midge Raymond0 Comments

If you love reading about environmental and animal-rights issues, you might want one of these ReadVeg stickers. We printed these up to celebrate all eco-literature, especially the great fiction we’re discovering that tackles these issues — and we decided that these stickers are a fun way to get the word out about eco-fiction and veg lit. Check out our Veg Lit page for stories that are redefining what it means to be a vegan or vegetarian. (In these novels, vegans are mainstream characters, not fringe characters.) For example, in The Dragon Keeper, the main character is a zoologist who does not believe in eating animals. We also publish …

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Writing for animals: Advice for writers of animal rights fiction

In Animal Rights, Essays, For Writers by John Yunker0 Comments

In mainstream fiction today, “normal” characters tend to be carnivores, or at least omnivores, and “fringe” characters tend to be vegetarian or vegan. Naturally, I disagree with this distinction. But I also understand that most writers are simply following convention, simply writing about the world as they see it today. But the world is changing. And fiction has a critical role in not only reflecting these changes but also in imagining the world as it can be. Which is one reason I wrote The Tourist Trail and co-founded Ashland Creek Press — to help publish these works when we find them. …

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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 …

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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. …

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Book Review: Mark Twain’s Book of Animals

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

I recently discovered (and ordered) a book that focuses on Mark Twain and his writings and views about animals. Edited by Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Mark Twain’s Book of Animals, focuses on the many ways Twain not only wrote about animals but advocated on their behalf. Here’s an article that summarizes the book. And an excerpt: Fishkin was inspired to undertake the project after realizing how central animals were to Twain’s works and that his views on animals revealed a great deal about how he viewed people. Fishkin was surprised by what she found during the course of …

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Book Review: Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction, Veganism by John Yunker0 Comments

 An inside look at the life of an outsider Elizabeth Costello is a challenging novel, just like the namesake character. This is a book that alternates between brief scenes between mother and son, mother and ex-lover, mother in purgatory — and extended lectures on many topics. Including animal rights. In one lecture which began as an essay — The Lives of Animals — Costello lectures on the cruelty of killing animals. It is a lecture not exactly met with enthusiasm and it’s an experience that many vegans and vegetarians have probably shared at one point or another. The experience of …