For those who are looking for a rational, thoughtful, endearing, and entertaining book about animal welfare and the animal kingdom—especially companion, farm, and urban wildlife animals—then Tracey Stewart’s Do Unto Animals is a must read. This book would be a great tool for teachers to use in their biology and science classrooms to introduce accurate and compelling information about everything from bee pollination to how to massage your pet cat, what makes turkeys unhappy (and it’s not just Thanksgiving!), living in harmony with our urban wildlife friends, how to attract and watch birds, and the truth about factory farms, as well as much more. The illustrations are delightful, the language is clear, and her suggestions are enchanting.
In the chapter on Falling in Love on the Farm, for example, Stewart tells us how to approach and interact with a cow. For children sitting in an inner city school in Chicago or an executive in a high-rise in New York City, her narrative can be equally compelling. She describes a cow’s tongue, likening it to “glorious exfoliators,” telling readers that “If a cow sticks out her tongue to lick your hands, go ahead and enjoy the exfoliation” while also warning not to “let your fingers get too far to the back of her tongue or mouth.” I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to experience a cow’s kiss!
Each of the book’s three main sections—Animals At Home, Backyard Wildlife, and Falling In Love on the Farm—talks about humans’ responsibilities to our animal friends and ends with a segment on “Stewart Family Traditions, which explains how Tracey’s family honosr the concepts discussed in the chapters. (For those who may not know, Tracey is the wife of former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, and they live with their two children and a menagerie of creatures–4 dogs, 3 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs, 2 fish, and 1 bird, all rescues–in New Jersey on their 12-acre animal sanctuary, Bufflehead Farm.
In fact, Tracey’s book and Bufflehead Farm are the highlights of this couple’s animal advocacy efforts. Recently she announced that “our farm is actually going to be the New Jersey branch of Farm Sanctuary. We’re going to build new advocates, new curious learners, and new leaders for this very important movement.”
The movement she is talking about here and in her book is the end of factory farming and animal abuse. Do Unto Animals is a lovely demonstration of the Stewart’s dedication to this cause and a worthy read for people of all ages.