Tonawanda News

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December 17, 2012

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Gift guide for the animal lover in your life

Tonawanda News — Present-giving time is here. If you are hurrying around looking for something great to give to your animal enthusiast, here are some of my favorites this holiday season.

“Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine” by Marion Nestle (chapter head)

I just got the book, though it is a few years old now. This book is a serious, yet important book about one of the largest recalls in the food industry. In March of 2007, Menu Foods — a pet food manufacturer, after a month or so of deliberating recalled 60 million cans of wet cat and dog food. 

The book is 173 pages long plus a lot of notes, appendix, lists and tables. It is a quick story, because the reader is interested in what is causing this horrible epic recall. I would like to share this with my pet caregiver friends, but I wouldn’t necessarily read it over and over.

The most disturbing excerpt from the book is its mention of the brands that were recalled. 

“These ranged from the cheapest brands, such as the Ol’ Roy foods sold at Walmart stores, to P&G’s premium Iams and Eukanuba labels…Yet here these brands were, all lumped together in one recall, all made at exactly the same place, all with virtually identical ingredients, and all made by one manufacturer.”

“Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle” by Thor Hanson 

This book just came out in August and is written by a conservationist. His experiences studying birds from Africa to Antartica are aided by art historians, paleontologists, biologists, engineers and even fashion designers, to figure out the evolution, flight, fancy and function of feathers. 

I have this strong fascination with feathers and eggs, so this book was perfect for me.

The book starts with a discussion of the famous fossil Archaeopteryx. This was an ancient animal that looked part reptile and part bird. It was discovered in 1861 and instantly sparked debates about whether it was the “missing link” in the evolution of dinosaurs to birds. 

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