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Honi-mal Farm

A reading list on the animal kingdom.

Honi Soit is no National Geographic, but that hasn’t stopped us publishing our fair share of articles which examine the animal kingdom. This week’s reading list contains a wide range of fauna-related pieces, including an op-ed about the ethical purchasing of pets, a dramatic analysis of the lion vs tiger debate, a surprising twist in lab mice research, a first-person piece about volunteering in a Bolivian animal refuge, and a 2012 feature on global warming and the hybrid ‘grolar’ bear. Make yourself a cup of tea, get your cat on your lap, and have a read.


1. Puppies by the kilo

“There are three ways you can purchase a dog. The most ethical would be buying from an animal rescue shelter, as you are quite literally snatching an animal out of the jaws of death. The next-best option is doing the research and buying a pet from a registered breeder who treats their animals humanely. The third is a so-called “puppy factory” or “puppy mill” – buying from these sellers is contributing to an exploitative industry that over-produces and abuses animals.”

The way we make our pets is unconscionable, writes Sarah Mourney.


2. Lion vs Tiger

“As the lion’s life ebbed away, lying in a pool of its own blood, the tiger watched intensely, having just made prey of a majestic animal that shares 98 per cent of its DNA.This article is about the two per cent.”

Felix Donovan and Lane Sainty analyse the ultimate battle.


3. Of lab mice and men

“The history of mouse use in scientific research may have potentially been ruined – at least according to a study by a team of researchers from McGill University, led by Jeffrey Mogil. Their study found that mice become stressed and scared if there are “male-typical” hormones present.”

Leigh Nicholson explores how a researchers’ pheromones might affect lab mice research.


4. USyd Becomes Zoo After Buffalo Infestation

“Spence intends to bring in elephants, giraffes, and narwals. Carslaw Hub will remain, as usual, a pigsty. The main exhibit will be in the Engineering building that shall become an anthropological exhibit of Neanderthals. In other news, all Engineering students will now be kept in on-campus accommodation.”

Sarah Mourney plays around on Noah’s Ark.


5. Polar peril

“The resulting grolar hybrid was first confirmed by DNA tests after the shooting of what was thought to be a polar bear by Jim Martell in 2006 on Banks Island in the Canadian Arctic. Bears have complex mating rituals that last for days, so this was thought unlikely to be a one-off encounter.”

William Haines on global warming and the terrifying ‘grolar bear’ hybrid of polar and grizzly bears.


6. Take a walk on the wild side

“The prospect of being ‘jumped’ by overexcited cats was part of the job for many volunteers, especially when it came to Rupi, a large and boisterous jaguar known to knock people to the ground on a regular basis.”

Andre Fenby writes about his trip to a Bolivian animal refuge.