wesley the owl
I’m fascinated by the science of animal cognition. There is growing evidence that animals of all types may have emotions and can communicate their thoughts with each other, and with us. Pet owners report many experiences with this; so have people in the wild, witnessing dolphins, elephants, primates, etc.
Wesley the Owl, written by former Caltech biologist Stacey O’Brien, explores animal intelligence, the deep emotional bonds that can exist between animals and humans, and other related subjects.
If you’re interested in how and why animals communicate, check this book out. It’s a quick read, and your kids will probably love it, too. I finished the last page in the chair at my hairdresser’s, and, with foils piled high and tears streaming down my face, solemnly passed it along for her to read next.
If animals really are sentient beings with thoughts and feelings, it’s time we stop treating them so inhumanely, especially those we mass produce and eat.
I remember one of my aunts telling me that some spiritual people are so evolved they won’t eat anything with a face. Easy to remember, but hard to do!
I’m not sure I have it in me to embrace a 100% vegan lifestyle–where do you draw the line? Do clams have faces? Can I wear vintage fur? Do I swat that mosquito away or smush it? Are petroleum-based synthetic shoes “better” than my Louboutins? Do you refuse to sit on a friend’s leather couch? Is eating a freshly-shucked oyster as inhumane as a bacon cheeseburger????
Still, as I get older, my desire to eat meat dwindles.
Except for owl, of course.
Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.
Pingback: wesley the owl | eleganzabello
I sometimes think about all of this and justify my meat eating by not wanting that animal to have died in vain. I realize that it perpetuates the cycle though, so it’s one that is really, really hard to stop. If we call it a habitual and easy behavior, then equate it to smoking. If so many people smoke, knowing they can die from it, how do you break the (perhaps) less addictive habit of eating meat? Seems pretty futile. Discuss. 😉
hi sweetie. I understand where you’re coming from, because I do this myself when I buy used / vintage fur coats. If the animal’s already dead (some for decades) then why waste it–especially when it’s freezing out?
But…I do feel horrible about the way the agro-industrial complex or whatever you want to call it treats the animals and their related byproducts (dairy, eggs) that end up in our food chain. We’re absorbing that bad energy when we ingest it, and it’s also horribly polluting. Pig farms are just one notorious example; even methane produced by millions of cow farts is contributing to CO2 warming, if you can believe it! Look it up.
I think it’s about being conscious about what we put in our mouths. If we knew what we were chewing on, most of the time we’d spit it right back out. So maybe the first step is to become aware of how much animal protein we eat, then try to cut back. Meatless Mondays were big in WWI. Maybe it’s time for a comeback. People are trying to do this again but the meat industry is screaming about it. Remember the big Oprah debacle when she tried to speak out about it. Anyway, I’m around if you want to meet for a obscenely overpriced organic hand-strangled cow burger sometime at Craigie on Main. Or some roasted bone marrow at Barcelona. Yum. I mean ew. xoxo
except for owl. . . I see that Sicily has spiced up your humor. It’s a good thing that you weren’t vegan in Italy, or you would have only eaten carbs. Well, our family has been journeying back to veganism per our nearly-5-year-old Gavriel’s discovery that, yes, even the hormone-free chicken meat on his plate was, really, from an animal. “It’s sad that we kill the animals, right?” he’d asked half a year ago. The meat hasn’t been in the house now for a while, but we sometimes have eaten it at friends.
Haha! I think it would be very difficult to be a strict vegan in Italy, with the ricotta and mozzarella and parmaesan to name just a few! Gelato, cannoli…
We never ate red meat or chicken. Just fish. I could do that, no problem. I like to splurge on a $20 cheeseburger once or twice a year, but that’s enough for me. And homemade roast chicken in the winter is perfetto.
I’m often in Italy with a gluten-intolerant friend; celiac disease is a fast-growing problem there, and my friend is Italian-Americsn, so it may be partially genetic. It may also have to do with all the corporate GMO wheat from Monsanto and ilk that’s now floating around as well and making people sick! I wonder…
PS – forgot to mention that this gluten intolerant friend often brings along a bag of rice pasta with him when we dine out in Italy. The kitchen cooks it right up, no drama/no questions asked!
I love owls. They are a thing of grace, beauty and intelligence.
I know what you mean, Monica! Stacey O’Brien mentioned those traits, and also describles how sensitive owls are, too. Just one example: They mate for life (unlike us humans!) and when their mate dies, owls can will themselves to die, and they do–even faster than they’d die from starvation or thirst.
Thanks so much for this post! I want to read that book. Jonah would totally agree with not eating anything with a face.
You’re welcome, Karen. Once you hear that rule, you start realizing how often you break it. Is Jonah vegan or vegetarian? And how long has this been going on? 😉
I know you’d eat a dog though if you had a chance.
No! I’ve told you I don’t like dog(s)…
Hi! Thank you for your kind review of my book! For the record, I do eat meat, as did Wesley. I don’t eat it every day, and when I do, I try to make sure it’s free range chicken (I mostly stick to chicken only). I’m allergic to milk products so that’s not an issue. But, it’s true that once you really get to know an animal deeply as a thinking, feeling, communicating being like I did with Wesley, you have to think hard about eating animals. On the other hand, the world is made up of hunters and prey, predators and prey animals. Wesley was a predator and would die if I tried to feed him anything other than rodents. And I love rodents! But I can’t change millions of years of owl evolution. So I respect those who are vegan and those who are not. Thankfully, we can find free range meat from animals that had good lives, at least, before being killed. I’m glad you enjoyed the book! -Stacey O’Brien
well hello, Stacey! Thank you for checking out my blog, and for your comment. I’m thrilled to hear from you! 🙂
I agree what you say about the world being made up of hunters and hunted. I don’t want sharks or owls to go vegan, for example, I just want us humans to be a little more thoughtful about who and what we eat. We’re so disconnected from our food nowadays – unlike our ancestors, even those from just 1-2 generations back, who worked on a family farm, for example, and grew their own veggies and cared for the animals they ate. Now we just head to the nearest supermarket and pluck things off a refrigerated shelf. I don’t think I have it in me to give up meat entirely, I just want to make better choices about what ends up on my table. Btw I’m guessing that you love rodents but not in the culinary sense 😉 …I remember reading how Wesley would insist on feeding you a mouse every day and that you had to pretend to eat them. Ew. I don’t know how you managed that!
I love owls so much. I’m thinking of getting an owl as my next tattoo. I struggle with the issue of going vegetarian or vegan all the time. I love animals so much but I feel like such a hypocrite saying that since I also eat meat. I try to buy humanely raised, local meat and poultry, eggs and dairy whenever possible, and eating fewer animal products than I used to (it’s healthier anyway), but I still feel bad. But I try to be mindful that these were living creatures.
Yeah, I hear you, hon — It’s really tough not to eat meat. I rarely eat red meat, but when I do I really appreciate it. We’ve cut way down, too, any try to only eat humanely raised meat…but I wonder how we can really know for sure. Ugh. I keep thinking of those horrible meat processing videos whenever I eat it. And I agree, I think being mindful about what we put in our mouths is key. Mangia!