Off the Trail

Now recording: Where Oceans Hide Their Dead

At long last I am recording the audio book for Oceans. Should be a few months before it’s live but I’m excited to finally be tackling this novel.

More soon…

May 25, 2020   No Comments

The DNA fallacy of human and non-human animals

I love watching otters which, to my regret, led me to click on this CNN article recently.

It’s about a zoo in Belgium that paired a family of sea otters with orangutans to help keep the orangutans entertained. I can’t say for sure that the orangutans are entertained but my clicking on the photo below is proof that we humans need entertainment.

Putting aside the fact that I have no love for zoos, the following excerpt is what led me in a fit to write this blog post:

According to zoo spokesman Mathieu Goedefroy, they “[orangutans] must be entertained, occupied, challenged and kept busy mentally, emotionally and physically at all times.”

Orangutans share 97% of their DNA with humans and as a result require a lot of attention to keep them occupied, Goedefroy said.

So let me get this straight. Because orangutans and are so closely related to humans, they need a lot of mentally challenging activities. Unlike, say, a bird or a fish or my cat (who howls at me if I don’t walk him 4-6 times a day).

The fallacy here is that animals who are more closely related to human animals are somehow more intellectual, more deserving of respect from the human animal.

The DNA connection is just another tool that we humans use to rank some species ahead of others.

I believe the word for this is “speciesism.” But it’s a deeply ingrained misconception that we’ve been raised with and that zoos continue to perpetrate. Because if we believe every animal in a zoo is deserving of equal amounts of engagement, mental stimulation, and space — zoos would quickly run out of space.

We are all animals. We are all deserve respect. And we could all use a fair amount of mental stimulation — which, I suppose, this article provided me (though not in the way I would have liked).

PS: Orang is Indonesian for “person.” Hutan for “forest.” Person of the forest. Not “animal.” Person.

April 12, 2020   Comments Off on The DNA fallacy of human and non-human animals

Let’s hope this doesn’t get lost in the noise of the moment

Monsanto was well aware that its “Roundup 2.0” chemical/seed system, known as Dicamba, would be a disaster for farmers — and soil and anything within the vicinity (as Dicamba get airborne awfully easily).

I wrote about this issue in my second novel and I knew back then that this type of information would leak out — I wish it had much earlier — but better later than never.

I grew up near Monsanto and for many many years was ignorant about the company — though the fact that the campus is built like a fortress should have been a clue.

Anyway, there’s no joy in seeing the company come under fire. Because nobody really wins in the end. The chemicals will be in the soil, our food, our bodies for years to come.

April 3, 2020   Comments Off on Let’s hope this doesn’t get lost in the noise of the moment

Cancel that

My last post was about upcoming events.

Well, we can forget about events for the near future.

Such is life.

April 3, 2020   Comments Off on Cancel that

Upcoming Events

I’ve got two events coming up that I’m excited to attend… if you’re in the region, please let me know!

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival
Margaret River, Australia
May 16-19, 2020

Animal Rights National Conference 2020
Portland, Oregon
July 16-19, 2020

February 5, 2020   Comments Off on Upcoming Events

What if eating meat was outlawed?

Cue the hysterics. Like this gentleman.

But let’s suppose that eating meal is illegal.

Here is my take, via the short story Free Range.

You can read it here.

October 25, 2019   Comments Off on What if eating meat was outlawed?