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The Chickens Fight Back

Pandemic Panics and Deadly Diseases that Jump From Animals to Humans

Regular price $22.95
  • ISBN: 9781553652700
  • Tags: David Waltner-Toews, Health & Wellness,
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Published On: 3/20/2007
  • 256 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781926685014
  • Tags: David Waltner-Toews, Health & Wellness,
  • Published On: 01/03/2009
  • 256 Pages

Emerging diseases like mad cow, SARS, and avian flu are — for the moment, at least — far more prevalent in animals than in humans. Still, the knowledge that measles, TB, and smallpox were at one time "emerging" diseases that eventually made a permanent, and quite deadly, jump to humans gives epidemiologists pause.

The Chickens Fight Back examines the various groups of animal diseases, explains what attracts them to the human population — from food to sex to living conditions — and offers suggestions for keeping them at bay. It also points out that diseases must be looked at from an ecological, cultural, and economic point of view as well as from a biological standpoint. Cooking meat till its well done and slathering on insect repellent for a hike in the woods are effective preventative measures, but as David Waltner-Toews notes, it's more important to fundamentally rethink humankind's place in the world.

Dr. David Waltner-Toews is a veterinarian and epidemiologist specializing in diseases people get from animals. He is a professor at the University of Guelph, founding president of Veterinarians without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières Canada, and author of numerous books of poetry and nonfiction. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario.


"David Waltner-Toews's new deeply insightful book, The Chickens Fight Back . . . is a page-turner presented with irreverent humour and many hair-raising anecdotes from his own world-wide research into disease ecology. He shows how the past constantly complicates current public and individual health . . . Waltner-Toews' discussion of current politics of disease-control and how economic priorities feed epidemics is truly a revelation." -Vitality Magazine

"David Waltner-Toews is a rare flower, a poet, philosopher and scientist with ancient Scheherazade's talents at storytelling and a scholar's knowledge of myth and history . . . How wonderful to be entertained by literature like this while being educated on a critical issue at the same time." -Globe & Mail

"After traveling the world to investigate zoonoses . . . [Waltner-Toews] now shares a most timely and fascinating collection of findings with readers. Waltner-Toews's approach differs from the sensationalism with which the topic is addressed in the popular media . . . his book's . . . purpose is to dispel panic and educate us into action." -Alive Magazine

"If you have any interest at all in epidemiology, modern medicine, or the survival of the human race, do read Ontario veterinarian and University of Guelph professor David Waltner-Toews's The Chickens Fight Back . . . Even hypochondriacs can take hope from Waltner-Toews's level-headed opinions." -Georgia Straight

"There is not enough vaccine to inoculate us all against bird flu . . . [however, The Chickens Fight Back] may just be a vaccination against fear and ignorance. In plain (and occasionally saucy, funny, and contrarian) language, Waltner-Toews explains how humans throughout history have picked up diseases from animals ranging from fleas and ticks to cats, dogs, rats, pigs, mice, chickens, and cattle . . . This book is a quiet little gem of understanding in a cacophony of panic and fear." -Quill & Quire/i>