Writing for deer; writing for animals

Summer in Ashland, Oregon, means fawns following their mothers through the streets of our small town. The local deer are, sadly, a contentious issue. Many residents resent their appetites for rose bushes and other flora. Others have accused deer of assault (typically a mother deer’s instinct to protect her fawn). But a major reason we …

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In Animal City our painful past is still painfully present

If I asked you to picture a “cow town,” you would probably picture a small town, surrounded by pasture, set far away from the big city. Yet in the 1800s, cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco were also cow towns. It was not unusual to see herds of cows squeezed through downtown streets, …

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Book Review: Rescue Dogs: Where They Come From, Why They Act the Way They Do, and How to Love Them Well

Pete Paxton hesitated upon hearing the command, “Jump inside.” Inside the trench, which was more than one hundred feet long, six feet wide, and six feet deep, lay dogs in all stages of decomposition. Paxton could see skulls, organs, guts. He saw mosquitoes and maggots. The stench was so putrid, he nearly vomited. But it …

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Book Review: The Humane Gardener

What in the world could be inhumane about gardening? Plenty, it turns out, thanks to this beautifully produced and incredibly important book by Nancy Lawson: The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife. The Humane Gardener makes a persuasive case for rethinking conventional knowledge about what a garden or yard should look like and …

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LitHub’s climate change library

If we lived on this planet only one day a year then perhaps celebrating one “Earth Day” a year would make more sense. But as LitHub points out, every day is earth day. And they are assembling an ambitious list of 365 books for your climate change library, beginning with the classics. It’s nice to …

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Happy World Penguin Day

Today is World Penguin Day— not that we need a reason to celebrate these amazing little creatures, but it’s great to have a designated day on which everyone thinks about these birds and how they’re faring in such a rapidly changing world. So, how exactly are the penguins doing? According to the International Union for Conservation of …

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Book Review: Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer

This imagined prehistory is undeniably the crowning achievement in Schrefer’s ape quartet, at once brimming with hope and loss, love and cruelty, constantly challenging the reader to question, in six hundred thousand years, how much and how little we’ve evolved.

The Sexual Politics of Meat, 20 Years Later

The other day I saw an ad for a new model of Audi. In it, a woman enters a butcher shop, and the butcher, a female, knowing that this woman is looking for something more “red blooded,” ushers her into the back room, where we find the new Audi Q8. “Dig in,” the butcher says. …

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