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Pandemics, Chickens, Poetry, and More


Are you interested in the evolution, culture and ecology of diseases that cats, bats, rats and chickens share with people? Click here. Of Foodborne infections? Click here. Of Excrement? Here it is.   An exploration into our conflicted relationship with insects? A memoir on raising backyard urban chickens and its implications for life, the universe and everything? Here you go.

Award-winning author and veterinary epidemiologist David Waltner-Toews has published seven collections of Poetry, one of which includes recipes, a collection of short stories, two murder mysteries, six books of Popular Science, and several texts and manuals on Ecosystem Approaches to Health.

From meditations on Pandemics and The Origin of Feces to elegant terzanelles on the meaning of life, from human diseases we get from other animals, to what food, sex & Salmonella share with each other, DWT celebrates the whole complex mess of life.

As “Tante Tina”, he has also been known to don a dress and kerchief and to pontificate on the trials of being a Mennonite farm woman in a men’s world gone mad.

A University Professor Emeritus at University of Guelph(Full DWT Curriculum Vitae) 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, he was the recipient of the inaugural award for contributions to ecosystem approaches to health from The International Association for Ecology and Health. In 2019, he received the World Small Animal Veterinary Association-Covetrus Award for International Veterinary Community Service, which recognizes “veterinarians who have exhibited exceptional acts of valour and commitment in the face of adversity to service the community.” In 2022, he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Canada.

Eat the Beetles! Winner IPPY Gold Selected to represent Canada in the in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (Innovative Category).

“A thorough, thoughtful, skeptical look at insects as a source of sustainable protein…At times humorous, at times philosophical, Waltner-Toews undertakes a thorough dissection of the topic, exploring insects as food across cultures, reviewing legal and ethical concerns, addressing cultural and other barriers and more. ” Matthew L. Miller, director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy

“With incisive wit and impeccable research, Waltner-Toews takes the reader through the economic, anthropological, environmental, moral, psychological, cultural, and spiritual complexities of what it would mean for insects to become part of the Western diet. Simple? No. Compelling? Absolutely.” Jeffrey Lockwood, Author, The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects.

The Origin of Feces Winner IPPY Silver

“One of the top-ten “Must-Read Think Books for Spring 2013” –

“One of the top-ten Best Summer Reading 2013″ – Publishers Weekly

“One of five books no guy should be seen to be reading in public” – Huffington Post

“One of five nonfiction books you should read this summer – Globe and Mail (video review)

Fear of Landing. PW Starred Review! One of top 10 Mysteries, 2008.

David Waltner-Toews is a genuine polymath. He’s a published poet, author of books on subjects as diverse as Mennonite history and exotic animal-to-human diseases. He’s a professor of population medicine at the University of Guelph, an epidemiologist, a founder of Veterinarians Without Borders and the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health. In his free time, he’s written his first mystery novel, and it’s terrific. – Globe and Mail