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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, January 17, 2011

HARRIET WADHAM: An extremely random book review of Animal Farm

At our school we have a study centre. It’s actually our librarybut it’s called the study centre because you can do more than just read.

I had the great fortune to come across a copy of Animal Farm. I’ve finished it now and am onto Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but that’s another book review to be written later on. Anyway, the book reminds you of man’s cruelty to beast and how sometimes we can underestimate other people; for instance, when Jones, the animals’ tyrannical owner, misjudges his animals’ capability of overthrowing him they kick him out onto the streets. This is mostly Jones’s fault for getting drunk, conking out and waking up to the sound of his animals gorging themselves on the food he forgot to give them.

After the now free animals kick him out, they resolve to bring in the best harvest the farm had ever seen, and they succeed, naturally.

They aspire to do all sorts of new things, the likes of which the farm has never seen - but alas! The plans are peed on by Napoleon, a child of the superior breed of pigs! However, none of the other animals know it was Napoleon. The reason I wrote, ‘superior breed of pigs’ is that the pigs fashion themselves as the leaders of the animals, due to their superior intelligence. At the head of all this is Snowball, the lead pig, who slaves away at those designs, only to have them urinated on by Napoleon. The pigs have previously taught themselves to read and write out of an old spelling book of Jones’s children, so as to make sure everything runs smoothly on the farm.

In a nutshell, George Orwell has spun a tale of deceit, lies, triumph and betrayal that really makes you think about the actions of the human race. I for one know that animals have feelings like humans do. But do you?

Probably.

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