The Souls of Animals
In this revised second edition of this celebrated book, Unitarian Universalist minister Gary Kowalski grapples with the big spiritual questions around our relationship with animals: Do animals have souls? Are they aware of death and are they conscious of themselves? Do animals have an inherent capacity to recognize beauty and can they create art? Do animals experience love? Do they know right from wrong? Why do birds sing? And ultimately what do we lose in a world without animals and what does that mean for our ongoing relationship with the creatures with which we share the world?
Kowalski offers beautifully written vignettes that shed light on these questions and much more. He explores how animals play, their sense of altruism, their capacity for love. By “desacrilizing” animals, Kowalski argues, we make ourselves less human. “If we are to keep our family homestead — Earth — safe for coming generations,” he writes, “we must awaken to a new respect for the family of life.” Praise for The Souls of Animals includes:
“Gary Kowalski helps us unlock the mysteries of animal spirituality. For as we have learned from the companion animals that share our lives and our homes, when we look into their eyes we see the reflection of our won humanity.”
—Kim Stallwood, Executive Director, PETA
“Gary Kowalski’s voice is one that empowers us to say in public what we have thought in private — that animals love their companions, know grief and hoy and play and create. The are truly our bothers and sisters in fur, feather and fin.”
—Tom Regan, author of The Case for Animal Rights
“This is an important book because it is so revealing of the animal soul that touches ours when we are open and receptive. In the process, our own souls are enriched.”
— Dr. Michael W. Fox, former vice president, the Humane Society of the United States
Gary Kowalski is a Unitarian Universalist minister in Burlington, VT. He holds degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School. A native of Oklahoma, he has served churches in Memphis, Tennessee, and Seattle, Washington, before moving to Burlington. He is the author of several books, including Goodbye Friend: Healing Wisdom For Anyone Who Has Ever Lost A Pet, also published by New World Library.
The Souls of Animals
By Gary Kowalski · Preface by John Robbins · Foreword by Tom Regan
July 2007 · Animals · Trade Paper · B/W Photos
$14.00 · 160 pages · ISBN-10: 1-57731-590-1 · ISBN-13: 978-1-57731-590-2
DENVER, CO - Alpacas have been highlighted on national news shows, on syndicated television stories, in your favorite magazine, and the most popular newspapers. Most recently, they were even featured in a Super Bowl commercial!
But what better way to learn more about the alpaca industry than to talk to hundreds of breeders and meet over 1,000 alpacas face-to-face, all under one roof? Now you can. And it's FREE!
Alpacas and alpaca enthusiasts, as well as fiber art enthusiasts, gather from across the country for the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) National Alpaca Show. This year, the show will be held at the National Western Complex in Denver, CO beginning THIS Friday, May 17th and continuing through Sunday, May 19th.
Admission is FREE and open to the public. Hours are:
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Alpacas from across the country will be featured in the show ring competition. The show will be comprised of classes judging conformation and fleece quality in many categories for both Suri and Huacaya alpacas.
Artisans will showcase alpaca fiber and examples of felting, fiber arts, and more. Dozens of vendors and farm displays will sell the latest alpaca fashions and hand-crafted items.
On Friday, at 10:00 a.m., an alpaca costume contest will take place. This is one event you won't want to miss! Children and adults show their creativity with themed costumes for themselves and their alpacas.
Later that day, an alpaca auction will begin at 1:00 p.m. and run until 6:00 p.m. Admission is free and a cash bar will be available. The National Auction is the premiere event of the year for the North American alpaca industry.
Mayor Hancock Declares May National Alpaca Awareness Month
In honor of the Great Western Alpaca Show (held May 3-5) and National Alpaca Show being held in Denver, as well as the growing interest in the alpaca industry resulting in more than 500 alpaca farms throughout Colorado, Mayor Michael B. Hancock declared May to be known as National Alpaca Awareness Month.
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are beautiful, intelligent animals native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. The United States first commercially imported alpacas in 1984. There are now more than 180,000 ARI (Alpaca Registry, Inc.) registered alpacas in North America.
There are two types of alpacas in the United States today. Although almost physically identical, what distinguishes the two types of alpacas is their fiber. The Huacaya (wa-Ki'-ah) is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. The Suri (SUR-ee) is the rarer of the two and has fiber that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.
Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors. Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.
About Alpaca Fiber
Alpacas are shorn, without harm, every 12 to 18 months. They produced five to 10 pounds of luxurious fiber. Long ago, alpaca fiber was reserved for royalty. Today it is purchased in its raw fleece form by hand-spinners and fiber artists. Knitters buy it as yarn.
Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Making the fiber even more coveted, it has the luster of silk. Alpaca fiber is just as warm as, yet 1/3 the weight of wool. It comes in 22 natural colors, yet can be dyed any desired shade.
Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic. Most people who are sensitive to wool find that they can wear alpaca without the itching or irritation they feel from wool because alpaca fiber is smooth. Additional performance characteristics include: stretch, water repellency and odor reduction. For travelers, clothing made from alpaca is desirable because it is wrinkle-resistant.
Alpacas come in 22 natural colors, but they are all green!
Sensitive to their environment in every respect, alpacas have soft padded feet instead of hooves and can leave even the most delicate terrain undamaged. Damage to topsoil decreases long-term soil fertility and in the process, the soil is eroded and weed invasion is encouraged.
However, alpacas do not mind eating brush, fallen leaves and other "undesirable" vegetation, leaving the "good stuff" for species that do not have the stomach to digest such roughage.
Alpacas' pellet-like droppings are PH balanced and are an excellent, natural, slow-release, low-odor fertilizer. This rich fertilizer is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. Because alpacas consolidate their feces in one or two communal spots in the pasture, it is easy to collect and compost, and the spread of parasites is controlled.
While alpacas are environmentally friendly ... and even beneficial... to the land, what makes them even more "green" is the fiber they produce. No chemicals are employed either during feeding or during the industrial production of alpaca fleece into fiber. If dying is desired, only 20% of a normal dye quantity is required.
All fiber from an alpaca can be used. Even the fiber from the lower legs, belly, neck, etc is being used for things such as natural weed mats to be placed around trees. Alpaca fiber is biodegradable.
Alpacas require no insecticides, herbicides or fertilizers that pollute the groundwater.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., the Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association (AOBA) serves to facilitate the expansion of a strong and sustainable alpaca industry through the growth and development of the national herd and its products. Since AOBA's formation in 1988, its membership has grown steadily to more than 3,500 members with over 180,000 registered alpacas in North America.
For more information about alpacas or the AOBA National Alpaca Show, visit www.alpacainfo.com.
October 17-24 is Federal Radon Action Week according to The Surgeon General. Health agencies throughout the United States have joined forces to promote awareness of the leading cause of lung cancer for non-smokers. The American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control, and National Cancer Institute all agree that radon is a National health problem and encourage radon testing during the October awareness drive.
Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. One in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. Millions of Americans are unknowingly exposed to this dangerous gas. In fact, a recent study by Harvard University ranks radon as America’s #1 in-home hazard. By taking simple steps to test your home for radon and fix if necessary, this health hazard can be avoided.
Radon gas is not isolated to certain geographical areas or home types. Radon problems have been detected in homes in every county of the U.S. It caused more American fatalities last year than carbon monoxide, fires, and handguns combined! If a home hasn't been tested for radon in the past two years, EPA and the Surgeon General urge you to take action. Contact your state radon office for information on locating qualified test kits or qualified radon testers.
The federal commitment made by EPA, the General Services Administration, and the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Veterans Affairs will focus efforts on radon reduction and mitigation in homes, especially those of low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. Learn more about the Federal Radon Action Plan at www.RadonPlan.org.
Earlier this year, the federal consortium met with key leaders in the public health, environmental and private sectors to launch the federal action plan that includes both immediate and long-term steps to reduce radon exposure. Your media group can participate in this Nation-wide initiative simply by writing articles and broadcasting messages about this deadly gas and by promoting Radon Awareness Week. Again, the targeted week of the awareness drive will occur October 17th – 24th of this year. Learn more at www.RadonWeek.org.