David Waltner-Toews is a veterinarian, as well as a specialist in the epidemiology of food- and water-borne diseases and zoonoses, infectious diseases transferred from animals to humans. He has written books about chickens and travelled the world to combat bird flu. So when his wife gives him a box of chicks on his birthday to begin raising his own backyard chickens Waltner-Toews is not all that worried about what could go wrong. Soon he finds himself plunged into a wonderful and slightly madcap adventure as he struggles to stay one step ahead of the chickens who are determined to rule the roost.
In this wide-ranging memoir Waltner-Toews shares not only his joys and misadventures with the chickens, but also reflects our history and relationship with chickens, with the urban animals surrounding us and with the ecosystem that contains us all. Funny, wise and thought-provoking, A Conspiracy of Chickens is a book that takes chickens seriously and asks the reader to do the same.
About the author
David Waltner-Toews is a veterinary epidemiologist and university professor emeritus at the University of Guelph. He was founding president of Veterinarians without Borders / Vétérinaires sans Frontières – Canada and a founding member of Communities of Practice for Ecosystem Approaches to Health in Canada. In 2010 the International Association for Ecology and Health presented him with the inaugural award for contributions to ecosystem approaches to health, and in 2019 he received an award from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association recognizing “veterinarians who have exhibited exceptional acts of valour and commitment in the face of adversity to service the community.”
Besides being an author of many scholarly books and articles, he has published six books of poetry, a collection of recipes and dramatic monologues, a collection of short stories, two novels and various books of popular science including On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus; The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology and a Sustainable Society; Eat the Beetles: An Exploration into our Conflicted Relationship with Insects and Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick. His nonfiction books have won awards in the US and Canada, and have been published in Japanese, French, Chinese and Arabic.