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Librarian Voices: #WoolFreeWinter

Alex Williams

Alexander Williams is the research support librarian for the social sciences and liaison to the communications, sociology, and criminal justice departments. 


#WoolFreeWinter

Sheep

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Winter is coming. No, seriously. I’m not just quoting the motto of House Stark from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Winter is really coming and, to many of us, that means getting out the wool blankets, scouring online stores for the most fashionable wool clothing, and getting ready for the holiday shopping season. However, many of us perhaps aren’t aware that the wool industry is an inhumane one and that buying wool directly contributes to the suffering of sheep. Please join me and millions around the globe by participating in #WoolFreeWinter (warning: some viewers may find the content upsetting).

Q: What is #WoolFreeWinter?

A: As first reported by NBC, eyewitness investigations into the wool industry led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) revealed the horrific conditions under which sheep are raised and sheared in the United States and Australia, the world’s biggest wool exporter. As a result of this international exposé, PETA initiated the campaign #WoolFreeWinter to educate the public about this cruel industry and to raise awareness about ethical alternatives to wool before the winter season.

Q: But don’t sheep need to be shorn?

A: Unlike wild sheep, which naturally shed their wool, domesticated sheep have been bred for increased wool growth and do need to be shorn. While this industry sounds humane theoretically, it is, in reality, a nightmare.

Undercover investigators found that sheep were killed, mutilated, stomped upon and brutally beaten during the shearing process. These acts occur because shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour.

An experienced shearer can “handle” more than 350 sheep a day over a four week period. Shearing sheep as quickly as possible for profit inevitably leads to a disregard for their wellbeing.

A sheep’s skin is quite wrinkly because it is maximized for wool growth, but it also collects moisture making it prone to infection. Flies are attracted to this moisture and lay eggs in the folds of skin (flystrike), leaving fly larvae (maggots) to nest and then eat the sheep alive. In the wool industry, a barbaric operation called “mulesing” is performed to prevent this condition, during which strips of flesh are cut from a lamb’s back and buttocks to create scar tissue that won’t collect moisture. However, this procedure is not always effective. Mulesing, in addition to castration, dehorning, and tail docking, is often performed without anesthetics, and infections from these mutilations can lead to a slow and agonizing death. Once sheep cease to produce quality wool, they are then shipped worldwide in overcrowded, multilevel ships to slaughterhouses without concern for their welfare.

Q: What can I do?

A: The best thing you can do is to not buy wool products. Check clothing labels and, if an item includes wool, put it back on the shelf. Wool may also be listed as mohair, pashmina, shahtoosh, or cashmere, but any kind of wool amounts to animal suffering.

If this information shocks you, you can help save the lives of animals everywhere from the horrors of the fur, leather, angora and down feather industries, too.

Q: Is there such a thing as “humane wool?”

A: While PETA states that “there is no such thing as humane wool,” wool suppliers have taken significant steps to establish more humane wool practices since PETA’s initial investigations into the industry, which caused widespread protest and millions of dollars in company losses. If you would still prefer wool clothing, be sure to enquire of the retailer whether their products are ethically sourced. The Merino Company, (http://www.merinocompany.com/index.asp), New Merino (http://newmerino.com.au/wp/brand-owners/mulesing/), and Plevna Downs (http://www.plevnadowns.com.au/index.htm) are three companies that pride themselves on supplying non-mulesed wool to numerous brands and retailers. Humane companies like these usually undergo auditing, on-site veterinarian evaluations, and something called a traceability, traceback, or “Sheep to Shelf” system, so that one can identify the growers (or even the individual sheep themselves!) who produced the wool. It might also be worth investigating smaller farms, societies, and organizations in your area that shear sheep as a heartfelt hobby and create only small amounts of wool products for limited distribution.

Q: What are the alternatives to wool?

Alternatives to wool include cotton, cotton flannel, hemp, bamboo, polyester fleece and other cruelty-free fibers. Two other options include Tencel, a new durable and biodegradable substitute, and Polartec Wind Pro, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and offers four times the wind resistance of wool. Check out PETA’s cruelty-free shopping guide for revealing information about the fashion industry and ethical alternatives to animal products.

By choosing an alternative, you will not only directly help the lives of sheep but also avoid the common problems with wool: prone to retaining unpleasant odors, open to moth and mildew damage, not very durable, expensive, difficult to clean, able to shrink and stain easily, very itchy and/or can cause allergies.

Do more for these gentle and intelligent beings that share many characteristics with us. Spread the word by sharing on Facebook and Twitter and ignite change this #WoolFreeWinter.

 

Online Resources

Schecter, A. (2014, July 19). PETA: There’s no such thing as humane wool. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/peta-theres-no-such-thing-humane-wool-n151326

Withnall, A. (2014, July 10). US and Australia wool industries exposed in shocking undercover footage captured by animal rights group. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-and-australian-wool-industries-exposed-in-shocking-undercover-footage-captured-by-animal-rights-groups-9597552.html

PETA. (2014). The wool industry. Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/

PETA. (2014). Inside the wool industry (with bibliographic references). Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/animals-used-clothing-factsheets/inside-wool-industry/

PETA. (2014). International Expose: Sheep killed, punched, stomped on, and cut for wool. Retrieved from http://investigations.peta.org/australia-us-wool/

Galbraith, F. (2009). Died in the wool (with bibliographic references). Retrieved from http://www.thebigcoverup.org.uk/wool/

 

Animal Rights @ Falvey

Aaltola, E. (2012). Animal suffering: Philosophy and culture. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cohen, C., & Regan, T. (2001). The animal rights debate. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Garner, R. (2013). A theory of justice for animals: Animal rights in a nonideal world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gruen, L. (2011). Ethics and animals: An introduction. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Linzey, A., & Clarke, P. A. B. (2004). Animal rights: A historical anthology. New York: Columbia University Press.

Regan, T. (2003). Animal rights, human wrongs: An introduction to moral philosophy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Rowlands, M. (2009). Animal rights: Moral theory and practice (2nd rev. ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Waldau, P. (2011). Animal rights: What everyone needs to know. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 25

ADVENT DAY 25

1 Day Till Christmas

“Trust” by Gerald Dierkes
Read by Gerald Dierkes
Submitted by Gerald Dierkes

Gerald Dierkes is an information services specialist, and one of three Falvey staff members to submit one of their own poems for the Advent calendar.

With this final post I would like to thank everyone who has followed along with our Advent calendar as we made our way towards Christmas, my colleagues for contributing their favorite poems, especially my colleagues who bravely shared their own beautiful work with us, and our graduate assistant Michelle for working with me to get each one of these posts up on our blog.

I hope you enjoy our final poem, written and read by Gerald Dierkes, a reflection on trust.

Trust

Joseph, Mary’s husband, did you feel shocked
to learn of Mary’s unplanned pregnancy?
_____________________________Betrayed
by her apparent infidelity
so soon after your commitment to each other?
_____________________________Confused
by Mary’s joy in anticipating her child’s birth?
_____________________________Overwhelmed
by her implausible explanation?
_____________________________Love
as you protected her from legal consequences
of her alleged adultery?
_____________________________Duty
as you accepted responsibility for her child?
_____________________-_______Judged
by your neighbors in your small community?
_____________________________Puzzled
by God’s plan?
_____Why didn’t God arrange things differently?

When Caesar Augustus’ decree forced you to
leave your home in Galilee,
journey to Bethlehem, and
cause Mary to travel in the ninth month of her pregnancy and
give birth away from her home, away from her family, did you ask,
_____Why didn’t God time things differently?

When you sought shelter at an inn for your obviously pregnant wife
—and were refused—
did you think, What gives, God? I’m trying to follow your will, aren’t I?
You persevered, though, finding a shelter for animals in which Mary could give birth,
without her mother, without a midwife, with only you at her side.
Mary did give birth, and God’s Son was born into our world.
_____Why didn’t God plan things differently?

Mere days later, the angel again directed you to change your plans,
this time fleeing to Egypt for an unspecified length of time,
causing your father, Jacob, and Mary’s mother, Ann, to wait years before seeing their grandson.
_____Why didn’t God do things differently?

Did you expect God’s will to be predictable, logical (by human standards), and non-challenging?
Did you ever pause, in your struggle to trust God, to consider how much He trusts you?

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 24

ADVENT DAY 24

2 Days Till Christmas

“Fra Moses And The Flowers” by Eleanor C. Donnelly
Read by Sarah Wingo
Submitted by Laura Bang

Laura Bang is Falvey’s Digital and Special Collections Curatorial Assistant, and she is found this wonderful historical poem to share. This poem comes from page 2 of the first issue of The Villanova Monthly, from January 1893. The Villanova Monthly was the first student newspaper, running from 1893-1897. Returning after a hiatus in 1916, the paper was renamed The Villanovan.

The poem itself is by Eleanor C. Donnelly (1838-1917), a local Philadelphia Catholic poet. Falvey has digitized the Eleanor C. Donnelly Papers from the American Catholic Historical Society, which can be viewed in our Digital Library.

Dec 23rd FraMosesAndTheFlowers

 

 

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 23

ADVENT DAY23

3 Days Till Christmas

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings
Read by Alan Davis Drake
Submitted by Melanie Wood

Melanie Wood is Falvey’s Academic Integration Technical Specialist. This poem is, to me, a simple and sweet reminder to take notice of and appreciate the beauty of the little things in life.


 

little tree, by: E.E. Cummings

 

little tree

little silent Christmas tree

you are so little

you are more like a flower

 

who found you in the green forest

and were you very sorry to come away?

see i will comfort you

because you smell so sweetly

 

i will kiss your cool bark

and hug you safe and tight

just as your mother would,

only don’t be afraid

 

look the spangles

that sleep all the year in a dark box

dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,

the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

 

put up your little arms

and i’ll give them all to you to hold

every finger shall have its ring

and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy

 

then when you’re quite dressed

you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see

and how they’ll stare!

oh but you’ll be very proud

 

and my little sister and i will take hands

and looking up at our beautiful tree

we’ll dance and sing

“Noel Noel”

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 22

ADVENT DAY 22

4 Days Until Christmas

“Approaching God,” “Eternal Encounter,” and “Life Cycles” by William L. Greene, Jr.
Read by William L. Greene, Jr. (Approaching GodEternal Encounter, Life Cycles)
Submitted by William L. Greene, Jr.

William L. Greene, Jr., or Bill as we know him, is an Access Services Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library and he submitted several of his own poems for our advent calendar.

 

Approaching God

Eternal Encounter

Life Cycles

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 21

ADVENT DAY 21

5 Days Till Christmas

This Is Just To Say, by William Carlos Williams
Read by Matthew Macfadyen
Submitted by Rebecca Whidden

Becky Whidden is an Access Services Specialist at Falvey. She shared the video for this poem with me when she heard about the poetry Advent calendar. I love this little poem and the video that Becky found to go with it. The poem itself is lacking in punctuation or rhyme, which makes it fairly ambiguous and open to the reader’s interpretation, which makes it a favorite among high school English teachers who in my experience have used it as a springboard for discussing meaning and interpretation in poetry. In some ways a Rorschach test with words.

At face value the poem is extremely simple, evoking the banal domestic image of a note left out on a table. However upon reading it, I personally can’t help but feel the sensual nature of the poem. The intimacy of a private note meant only to be shared between two people; the word choice “plums,” ‘icebox,” “forgive,” “delicious,” “sweet” something about the way these words feel when when spoken carries a richness that arouses the senses in complex and beautiful ways.


This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 20

ADVENT DAY 20

6 Days Till Christmas

“Library” by Scroobius Pip
Read by Scroobius Pip
Submitted by Sarah Wingo

We couldn’t very well have a library advent calendar and not have a poem about libraries. I ran across this one just the other day and fell in love with it, I hope you enjoy it too.

“Library” by Scroobius Pip was originally commissioned by Chris Hawkins for BBC 6 Music’s celebration of libraries and performed live on his show in November 2014. We haven’t provided the words for this poem because it really is as much performance piece as it is poem, and even though the video is just words on a screen as they’re being spoken, it is worth a watch.

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Holiday Moodboard: Nora Ramos

In this special holiday edition of Moodboard, we talk to Nora Ramos about holiday traditions in South America and her home country, Colombia.

“Typical in South America is the Novena: it’s 9 days, and on the last day, Jesus arrives. We have to go to the Misa—they call it Misa le Gallo. This Mass, before, was midnight, 12 a.m. Right now you can go 7:30, 8:00, any time. There’s Communion, a lot of people go, and later, people like to do what’s called a cena—it’s a big dinner. This is how it used to be in my homeland. Right now, here, I don’t know really the customs for the Catholic people. [In South America] it’s mostly prayers for the first nine days until Jesus arrives in the world.

The cena is big, big, big. You can do chicken rice—people make all kinds of dinners, different dinners, with chicken. They have wine, a little bit of talking, and go to sleep.  Later, New Years, is different. It’s a party, dancing… In Brazil, the New Years party goes from 9:00 to 6 in the morning… Christmas is a lot of prayers. Prayers, every day.

You have your Pesebre—it’s a little house, the place where Jesus was born. A very poor place. Donkeys, lambs, Maria, Joseph, los pastores. In your house, you have your pesebre. You’re coming to me with a group of people, we pray the novena. Today is Monday, so you come to me. Tuesday, we go to your house.  Wednesday, we go to a house of other friends. By the ninth, the last day, Jesus arrives. There’s a lot of Christmas music, different kinds of instruments, people play the guitar, the flauta—everybody brings a lot of instruments to play. There’s music and prayers until baby Jesus arrives in this world. It’s lovely.”

512px-La_adoración_de_los_pastores_(El_Greco)
La adoración de los pastores (El Greco) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Foto Friday: Please Write

Mailbox

Don’t let the past steal your present.

This is the message of Christmas:

We are never alone.

Taylor Caldwell

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management

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Advent Poetry Calendar – Day 19

ADVENT DAY 19

7 Days Till Christmas

“A Triptych in Verse in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary” by Darren Poley
Read by Darren Poley
Submitted by Darren Poley

Darren Poley is the Scholarly Outreach and Theology Librarian at Falvey Library and he is the second staff member to graciously share some of his personal poetry with us for our Advent calendar. Darren wrote this piece in August of 2014 with the dedication “to my friend Father K. Brewster Hastings Pastor of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Abington, Penna.”


A Triptych in Verse in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
By Darren Poley

Did It Rain In Galilee?

Holy Virgin do you delight in the rain?
Our heavenly Father sets the waters to move.
The waters are good and bring life from the earth.
They are there in the six days of Creation.
They are there when the earth was flooded.
Theotokos, do you delight in the rain?

Through your son, your only child, all things were made.
Jesus wept.
Daughter of the Father – Mother of the Son – chaste spouse of the Holy Spirit:
Did you weep with joy in Nazareth?
Did you weep with sadness in Jerusalem?
Rachel wept for her children.

Mother of God, mother of all;
Do you weep now for your children?
When you beheld the face of the glory of Israel;
That enlightens the benighted gentiles still:
Did you weep with joy in Bethlehem?
Did you weep with sadness in the cave made into a stable?

Queen of heaven and earth do you weep tears of myrrh?
Pure virgin who is the mother of the incarnate Logos:
Did you watch the Son of Man play in the rain as a child?
Were tears of sadness there because your spirit was pierced by a sword?
Were your tears at the foot of the cross mixed with the rain over Jerusalem?
Were they tears of myrrh?

All of Creation was reborn when your son rose from the dead.
Mary of holy Anne, descendent of kings, Mother of the Redeemer:
Turn your eyes of mercy towards us.
Ever-Virgin: show us the fruit of your womb;
It is a paradox to reason and a cause of delight.
It is the peace which passes all understanding.

It is raining today.
Parents weep with joy for they discover the blessings of children.
They weep with sorrow when they see their children eaten up by pride and hate.
The children fight over nothing.
Mix your tears with the rain.
Renew hope in us.
________________________________________
Weeping in Babylon

A fertile plain between two rivers
Of old, the Amorites built between the Tigris and Euphrates
A holy city for Mesopotamia
Sons of Judah did the new emperor take
Exile was their home

Virgin Mother of the Holy Child, descendant of Abraham
You’re the seal of the Covenant
When the son’s sons of Josiah the king were carried away
Like orphans
How could they know deliverance would come?

Daughter of Zion
You carried and suckled the Deliverer of the children of Eve
You, O’ Lily of Jerusalem
You did become the destroyer of idols
Who is it that is weeping in Babylon?

With holy Joseph to protect you
You went into exile in Egypt with the Christ child
From banishment you brought Him back to His people
A fertile Virgin, pure and graceful
The Father in Heaven chose to bless

In your body God became incarnate
The Incarnation brought us home out of bondage
The wars of men make the widow and the fatherless too soon
The sons of Judah lamented on the Fertile Crescent
Banishment was the punishment for their crimes

Destroyer of paganism, lily of Jerusalem
In concert with the will of the one God
You conquered pride and apathy with humility and love
Love for the one who rules the Universe
Love for the unbegotten Son of God whom you bore
From your life did one nature unite with another?
From you did the one true Messiah come
Out of your life the King of kings took the riches of humanity
To set free the children of Zion
From you arose the New Jerusalem

Holy Virgin Mary, your only son establishes the new heaven and the new earth
You are the tabernacle of the Most High, the holy of holies
You made a place for the Name of God to be praised forever
You direct the renewed people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
To the presence of the Almighty

There is weeping in Babylon
The idols of ancient times are falsely blessed anew
Many drunk on wantonness and blood
The children already delivered wander in a wilderness
Too full and noisy to be recognized as a wasteland

We shall be delivered by the mighty hand of the Lord
His right arm shall be our strength
Mother of Virtue you show us the way to conquer
We are engraved in the hand of God
No one can pluck us from the hollow of it

Blessed Mother, the fruit of your womb
The Son of God, a son of David
He makes for us a new home
With many blessed dwelling places
We shall rest beside quiet waters

“Fallen is Babylon,” He says
“Depart from her my people”
In the midst of the sanctified
There is only one worthy to receive the scroll
And to break open its seals

Mother of God
You are at the right hand of your son
Pray for us
Beckon us to the new inheritance
Of the People of God

It is now that we are exiled by our falleness
It is with you that we shall see God
Where the light never fades
And no tears of sorrow are shed
There will only be joy and peace
________________________________________
Icon of Redemption

Before He laid down the foundations of the Cosmos;
The Lord knew each one of us.
The one, true, and living God foresaw the one full of grace.
God the Father did know a new Eve would come into the world.

A child of good people, Joachim and Anne;
You are the fruit of a marriage both unitive and procreative.
You are the Immaculate Conception.
Because, while altogether human, sanctifying grace did you regain.

You did not die and rise with Christ crucified;
But the merit of your son’s agony and triumph was granted you when you were created.
Immaculate Mary, the Holy Spirit is in every fiber of your being.
You were and are forever without sin.

Where the favor of God reigns;
No disobedience can ever exist.
Free obedience, born from charity, is the blessing of life in Christ.
He did not think even divinity a thing to be grasped.
Like the bush burning, but not consumed;
You are there on holy ground.
There where wanderer, shepherd, and murderer comes face to face with He who is.
To the consubstantial trinity of divine persons, who with one voice say “I AM,” you guide us.

Queen of prophets and of martyrs;
True witnesses reflect you.
You are the beacon from which heavenly light from the Image of the Father shines.
The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is the everlasting light.

Holy Virgin Mother of God;
You are the ark of the new and everlasting Covenant.
Your son is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
It is through you that the Alpha and Omega chose to assume humanity unto Himself.

They who are one in being;
He is the source of all that is.
When we follow in your train, we see the blessed Vision of the deity, face-to-face.
Written humbly, you forever point us back to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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Last Modified: December 18, 2014