Bride of Borkenstein

Kat Eschner's newsletter about animal-human relationships Vol. 3 Iss. 7

This issue of CREATURE FEATURE is brought to you by Zelda, my boon companion in these times of ailment (I have TWO SPRAINED ANKLES, it sucks) and the mascot of this newsletter. Admire her as the Bride of Frankenstein in our *new logo* created by the incomparable Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm.

IMAGE: CREATURE FEATURE’s new logo shows a pointy-eared dog with a long snout and quirky eyebrows wearing a Bride of Frankenstein wig.


TIL China has emergency pork reserves, and the country might be dipping into them because of African swine fever

The pig situation in China is getting pretty hairy, as Laura He reports for CNN. As the country struggles to contain the spread of an illness that resulted in more than 100 million non-pork-producing pig deaths in the last year, it might dig some of its pork reserves out of the deep freeze. Why? “The government on Wednesday announced more measures to encourage pig farmers and producers to breed more hogs. But they may need to go even further to plug the supply gap,” she writes.

Extra credit: We’ve talked before about the epidemic’s impacts on the country’s smaller pig farmers, but consumers are also getting dinged by the staple food’s rising price.

Sorry, octopus: no spine, no sentience

Leaving the EU will impact pretty much every area of UK law in some way or another. This piece from Alex McDonald in The Ecologist asks how a newly-independent Britain (sigh) will tackle the question of legally recognizing animal sentience, which is currently recognized by the EU but importantly *not* recognized except in specific cases by UK domestic law, which will still be on the books after the great Brexiting.

The insistence upon a scientific definition of sentience is inherently fallible, because it’s built on the same sandy foundation which has caused problems since the start.

Philosophers, sociologists and anthropologists have been working to show how science often tells us more about the people who commission, carry out, and make use of the research than it does about the object of research itself. One important strand of such work is to help us to understand how our scientific thinking is anthropocentric – using humans as the measure against which everything else is compared.

Pro-turkey terrorists hit Fort Mac farm, free five birds

Pro-turkey freedom fighters? Guess it depends on who you ask. This past Monday, around 60 people were involved in an action at the Jumbo Valley Hutterite turkey farm. The group wanted to “highlight the living conditions of the 30,000 turkeys” at the farm, writes Kaylen Small for Global News.

The group left peacefully when two of their demands were met: five turkeys were released into their care, to go live at an animal sanctuary, and Global was allowed into the barns to take footage. There are photos with the article of the turkeys’ living quarters, so do click through if you want to meet your meat.

Bonus round: Speaking of carnivory in its various forms, Ben Wurgaft’s book Meat Planet is out this week (CREATURE FEATURE ran an excerpt a few issues back) and you might consider ordering it.


GIF: A turkey stands in a yard in old black-and-white footage. (Credit: National Archives)


I saw my ex-chicken, Fatty Two-by-Four, in the street. It had been ten years since I saw her last. She was still headless, legless, and featherless—just how she looked when we sent her off to become canned chicken noodle soup. She was lying flat on her back and stretching her nubs like she was getting ready to jog, or like she was a model in an advertisement promoting shaving lotion that alleges to be new shaving lotion, but is really just the same old shaving lotion in a new package. More importantly: How did she escape the soup factory?

—Excerpt from “My Ex and My Ex-Chicken,” Alex Scousen, Catapult


Extra credit

More things I read this week.

  1. Inside Spain’s shepherd school (The New York Times, Raphael Minder)

  2. What should sports fans do when their team mascot is an endangered species? [from May] (The Revelator, Melanie L. Sartore-Baldwin)

  3. Helping the hounds of Florida survive Dorian (People, Kelli Bender)

  4. Anti-vax UK pet owners help create a “ticking time bomb” (CNN, Lianne Kolirin)

  5. Wolves come back—but can they stay? (Cosmos, Lauren Fuge)


Please read me

My work from this week.

  1. Cancer has now surpassed heart disease as the number one killer in some populations


Questions? Comments? Complaints? Contact me at my email or on Twitter. If you enjoy this newsletter and would like to tip me, I am on Ko-fi.

CREATURE FEATURE is edited by Tracey Lindeman.

All images in CREATURE FEATURE are used under Creative Commons licensing. Efforts have been made to ensure that photographs of living animals or natural scenes have been taken ethically, in responsible pet ownership conditions, at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums or under safe, non-damaging conditions in the wild. If you see an issue with any image we share, please notify me.