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BRRAAAIIIINS! 

Animal zombie group blames humans for ecocide, stages brain parade in Halifax.

click to enlarge MATTHEW MORGAN
This Friday the 13th, the Ecology Action Centre's Amy Hawke is laying her brain on the line for the environment. In a task too daunting for most, the plucky activist, who usually specializes in "supporting human networks," will harness the power of the undead---specifically zombies---at the Camp Hill Cemetery on Robie Street.

From there they will parade through downtown in search of early-evening snacks carrying signs explaining their brutal deaths---in case people don't fully comprehend their cries of "BRAAAAAAIIIIINS!"

"We really wanted to reach out beyond the usual suspects," Hawke says in an effort to explain the risk she's taking in working with these revenge-thirsty beings. "It's not just human zombies, it's a multi-species event and the zombies make great spokes-things against ecocide. We have all lost beloved things to ecocide."

Hawke expects a good crowd thanks to a seance she held with the organizers of Halifax's ever-popular annual zombie walk. "We want to create a fun spectacle, get new people interested in environment and meet people where they're at," Hawke says. "These animals are just a gateway zombie."

She has done considerable outreach to the zombie community via Facebook. I managed to interview some of their representatives--- specifically a zombified Blanding's turtle, polar bear, piping plover and dodo---from a safe distance via email. Their woeful tales of destruction drip with anger.

"Un-undead people love romantic walks on scenic beaches," Piping Plover Zombie tells me. "Some love it so much they also build their houses directly on the beach---not good for my family."

I can almost see the other undead animals nodding their heads between the lines of their emails. The polar bear tells me it drowned when its iceberg melted. "Imagine!!" it writes. "Zombie Polar Bear better swimmer than Kristin Roe."

Sadly, they all admit having developed a taste for brain, even the turtle (which claims to have been killed by a speeding car on an onramp built with stimulus-package money and misfiled gas-tax funds). "I've always been an omnivore," it writes, "chomping on snails and earthworms as well as plants. But then I tasted brains and I've never looked back."

They disagree, however, on why brains are so appealing. "So few humans use their brains," the dodo argues. "If we really wanted to annoy you we'd eat your legs or liver."

The polar bear says it's that lack of use that makes brains tender and tasty, while the turtle feels it's our universities that make for "lots of fat, succulent BRAAAAIIIIINS." The plover says it just figures if it tries enough of them it'll eventually find a working model.

click to enlarge MATTHEW MORGAN

Regardless, they are gleeful of the chance to remind Halifax of their plight. "Just call me a gritty reminder that beaches aren't just an ocean playground," Zombie Piping Plover writes. "Birds, foxes, raccoons, deer, squid, flounder, crabs, sand fleas and bank swallows live here, too. I think the un-undead care about beaches and critters and will push to protect them---maybe with a Coastal Act---when they realize how much trouble we're in."

Of course, every cause has its fundamentalist radicals and this one is no exception. The polar bear, in particular, seems hellbent on revenge. "Stupid mancreatures make my ice melt with their coal factories and ride-on mowers and Lamborghinis," it says. "Zombie Polar Bear get even, drip muddy water onto their condo carpets and eat their brains."

For the polar bear, it seems, this coming unluckiest of Fridays is just the beginning. Once on an email rant, it isn't easily stopped. "Get warships off my turf, you haddock-heads," it writes in all caps. "When there lots of ice, nobody fight over so-called sovereignty of arctic space. Oil buried there not worth killing planet."

But it is the Blanding's Turtle Zombie that perhaps best expresses the heart of this new movement. "You un-undead have put my species on the endangered list with your highways between where I used to live and where I used to nest and your houses where my family used to live...I mean, BRRRAAAIIIINS...seriously, can I come eat your brain now? That was the deal, right?"

Chris Benjamin is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Drive-by Saviours.

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