Who’s Who in the Zoo (1942)

Kat Eschner's newsletter about animal-human relationships Vol. 2 Iss. 9

This week’s issue is brought to you by The Man in the High Castle, which I’m halfway through watching. It’s Friday, thank goodness, and I’m writing this while a friend’s small brown puppydog sleeps, drooling, on my knee. I could use a snack. Have a good weekend, everybody.

Oh, and: the first two CREATURE FEATURE subscriber posts went up this week, with another in the tubes for next week. If you would like to read them but really can’t afford to subscribe, email me at kat.eschner@gmail.com and I’m sure we can figure something out.

Image: A bald eagle gives the hairy eyeball in Warner Brother’s punny 1942 zoo short. You can watch in on Wikipedia although I’ll warn you there are a couple of racist puns.

San Francisco dogs keep eating pot by accident

They’re getting high off everything from poorly discarded joints to human poop, writes Laura Klivans for KQED. Vets think human poop is the culprit behind a recent rise in stoned puppers, she writes: “Dr. Black and other veterinarians believe this is becoming more common in the Bay Area, as more people are forced to live on the streets.”

Fact: A KQED investigation late last year confirmed an oft-repeated piece of San Francisco trivia: there are more dogs than kids in the unaffordable city.

Canadian legal first! Zookeeper charged with criminal animal cruelty

The charges laid against the owner of a Quebec zoo are the first time a zookeeper has been charged criminally with mistreating his charges. Criminal charges come with more severe penalties than civil charges. Over 100 animals live at the zoo. “Alain Lambert, who lives nearby, said he has seen dead or dying animals on the property. He said residents would bring apples for the deer in winter out of fear they weren’t being well fed,” according to The Canadian Press.

Extra credit: There are lots of reasons to be skeptical of public zoos.

Forever I love Ratlanta

The vintage gem from Gray Chapman, vermin correspondent, is a snapshot of a city overrun. Also enjoy the amaaaazing illustration by Kristian Hammerstad. Atlanta has plenty of competition when it comes to rats, however: according to rankings from Orkin pest control, it was the fifteenth rattiest city in the country last year. The leader? Chicago.

LifeLine Animal Project places free-roaming feral cats that the nonprofit has spayed, neutered, and vaccinated to help control rodent populations at equestrian stables, warehouses, and farms. A man recently requested a working cat to deal with a rodent situation in his car, says Gin Taylor, LifeLine’s Community Cat Program director. The group declined to help, she says.

Just how useful are animal models in studies?

Huge medical advances have been made by experimenting on “model” animals such as mice, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits and pigs, writes Yella Hewings-Martin in Medical News Today. I didn’t know much about the history of animal models before this, and I found this piece--and the questions she asks in it--really illuminating.

Anecdata: I suspect this look into animal models is inspired by the success of Twitter account @justsaysinmice, which retweets results being reported as if they’re definitely relevant to humans when the actual work was done IN MICE. Based on what I’ve seen, I think it’s already having an impact in science news. (Yes, I have done this kind of reporting too, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.)

Bonus round

More things I read this week.

Please read me

My most recent work.

  1. All the buzz about NASA’s new fleet of space bees (Popular Science)

  2. Office temperatures tailored to men in suits are bad for business (Popular Science)

  3. Words at the end of the world: Science journalism in an age of wonder and terror (CREATURE FEATURE subscriber post)

  4. How do you clean up Pikachu pee? A CREATURE FEATURE movie review (subscriber post)