Sunday, March 18, 2018

March Madness of a far different kind

Spring Peeper
“Almost spring” – the best reason to feel good about animals and the world and animals in the world (however briefly), with bird song in the morning again!  Can spring peepers be far behind?

By now, it’s all around: emergence (of green shoots and worms and black bears); growth (of everything, it seems); rebirth (of hope!). This year’s spring equinox arrives on Tuesday, March 20, at 12:15 pm, though the signs of its coming have already worked their magic. 

“Equinox” comes from Latin words that literally mean “equal night” because the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world.  Earlier dawns and later sunsets mean longer days with more sunlight hours – all to the good for those of us who suffer from SAD and other winter blues.
For “animal people,” the joys of spring also include the mixed blessing of “kitten season,” when these cunning baby animals can seem to be everywhere. Yes, they’re  adorable, and sometimes they are on their own, but remember to look carefully for mama cats before “rescuing” any babies. 

American Robin
Speaking of spring and birds and cats, it’s almost time to try the “cat fur good deed”: collect the fluff you brush from your shedding cats and sprinkle it outside.  I’ve read that birds – and I’d bet squirrels too – snatch it up to line their nests and warm their babies. It might even help prevent some young birds and squirrels from falling out of their nests.  Try it – they’ll like it!
Two recommended for readers

Moving away from nature's own March madness, here are 2 books to know about, thanks to a sympathetic librarian and blog-reading friend:

1 -- Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, by Paul Shapiro  (description excerpted from Kirkus Reviews)

An intriguing argument for developing an economy of cultured, lab-born meat because "clean meat" is already a reality. The first "cultured hamburger," produced in 2013 cost about $330,000; now it costs around $11 per burger. 

The same is true of animal foods and products of other kinds, from dairy to poultry to leather. Within a decade or two, it may be possible to eat meat that has not involved the suffering of a living animal and to wear shoes made of leather that has not come from a slaughterhouse.  

2 -- Mercy for Animals: One Man's Quest to Inspire Compassion and Improve the Lives of Farm Animals, by Nathan Runkle  (description from Amazon blurb)  

Runkle’s book tells how he founded this country’s leading nonprofit organization for protecting factory farmed animals. The work of “Mercy for Animals” has ranged from grassroots activism through undercover investigations to today’s efforts for sweeping legislative change.

Far-reaching negative consequences resulted when America moved from a network of small, local farms with more than 50 percent of Americans involved in agriculture, to a massive coast-to-coast industrial complex controlled by a mere 1 percent of our population.  But Runkle offers both hope and solutions for ending mistreatment of factory farmed animals, from diet modifications to directions for how to contact corporations and legislators efficiently.

These feet were made for . . .

Finally, how better to end a post on a joyful subject than to share this story about a happy ending for one spider – actually, as many happy endings as this spider has legs:


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