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Book Review: The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight To Save North America’s Other Wolf

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Beckie Elgin

Considered functionally extinct in 1980, the much-misunderstood red wolf (Canis rufus) has made a tenuous but promising comeback. In The Secret World of Red Wolves, T. Delene Beeland relates the fascinating saga of the red wolf. In researching her book, Beeland followed Fish and Wildlife biologists into the field, crawling through blackberry thorns and dense stands of myrtle while swatting at mosquitoes and gnats in the hot, humid environment of North Carolina’s Albemarle Peninsula. Her interest and firsthand involvement in the project makes The Secret World of Red Wolves the wonderful book that it is. Beeland’s presence is on every …

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Book Review: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Fiction by Shel Graves

If you managed not to hear about the animal rights theme before reading Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013), do comment with your experience of the novel. Or, it you haven’t yet read the book, maybe stop here, skip the cover blurbs, and go directly to your naked experience of this exquisite novel. The book is finely structured so that the identity of the protagonist’s sister may come as a revelation — it won’t spoil the novel to know ahead, but will it change your experience? Readers of EcoLit, however, might be enticed to read the …

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Book Review: The Hidden Life of Wolves

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Education, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Beckie Elgin

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF WOLVES  Jim and Jamie Dutcher National Geographic Press $25, 210 pages For six years they shared a 25-acre enclosure at the base of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains with a pack of wolves. Their office was a Mongolian yurt; their sleeping quarters a canvas tent. The path to the outhouse required frequent snow-shoveling for below-zero excursions.This was the life of Jim and Jamie Dutcher, award-winning documentary filmmakers. Their new book, “The Hidden Life of Wolves,” is the culminating portrayal of their experiences. Although “The Hidden Life of Wolves” is an oversized book and contains hundreds of the Dutchers’ …

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Book Review: Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals by Rory Freedman

In Animal Rights, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Nonfiction, Veganism by Midge Raymond

Rory Freedman’s new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals, is a must-read for anyone who believes himself or herself to be an animal lover. The main idea behind this book is that many people who think they love animals in fact unknowingly participate in any number of things that do animals great harm — and this idea is indeed “radical” to people who love their dogs but eat pigs (who are just as intelligent) or love their cats but wear leather, and so on. Yet this book is not at all preachy; Freedman uses the same warmth …

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Celebrating eco-literature with ReadVeg stickers

In Animal Rights, Education, Organic Farming, Veganism by Midge Raymond

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 Yunker

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 Yunker

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 Raymond

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 Yunker

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 Raymond

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. …