Humane Society of the United States president and CEO Wayne Pacelle’s first book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, is a wide-ranging look at our connection with the precious animals who share our world. Pacelle delves into the history of the relationship between people and animals, as well as examining pressing issues of animal cruelty such as animal fighting, factory farming, and the Canadian seal hunt. Anyone who loves animals will find this a fascinating read.
Wayne Pacelle, who heads the nation’s largest animal protection organization, The Humane Society of the United States, has written a must read for anyone who have ever experienced or even wondered about the profound relationship we have with animals. The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, is available in April; just in time to pack it in your carry on or load it on your e-reader as you head off on that early summer vacation.
A landmark work, The Bond, is the compassionate, insightful, and comprehensive examination of our special connection to all creatures, written by one of America’s most important champions of animal welfare. Pacelle explores the deep links of the human–animal bond, as well as the conflicting impulses that have led us to betray this bond through widespread and systematic cruelty to animals. During a quarter–century of leadership, most of it at The HSUS, Pacelle has become America’s foremost voice for those who cannot speak in their own defense, and has helped to bring animal protection from the margins to the mainstream.
In a narrative both sobering and uplifting, The Bond argues that humans ave an instinctive connection with animals––a connection Pacelle has felt acutely for as long as he can remember. As he shows in The Bond, other creatures maintain a powerful hold on our hearts and minds. In America, we have more than 170 million dogs and cats in our homes, and there are 70 million wildlife watchers. Together these animal lovers spend more than $100 billion a year on pets and wildlife.
The first section of the book looks at the biological, social, and political underpinnings of the human–animal bond, and examines our newfound understanding of animals and their emotional and cognitive capacities.
In the second section, readers learn where and how the bond has been broken. Pacelle takes readers to a shuttered slaughter plant in California and an enormous egg factory farm, setting the stage for his account of a landmark ballot initiative in California to halt the extreme confinement of animals raised for food. He visits Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas to speak with then-disgraced football star Michael Vick as he closed out his 18-month sentence after a very public conviction for dogfighting. Pacelle also paints a portrait of New Orleans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which awakened America to the power of the human–animal bond.
His narrative also leads the reader to remote locations in which conflicts over the killing of wildlife play out––from the fields outside Yellowstone National Park where bison were slaughtered with the encouragement of federal authorities, to the ice floes of Atlantic Canada where one of the world’s great wildlife nurseries turns into an open–air abattoir for baby seals.
In the final section of The Bond, Pacelle challenges the arguments of opponents and critics of animal protection and spotlights the groups and industries standing in the way of progress––from the National Rifle Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association to the American Farm Bureau and the American Kennel Club. He points the way to a new humane economy––one not built on extraction, suffering, and killing, but on the celebration, stewardship, and care of animals.
In an excerpt from the preface, Pacelle writes
As harsh as nature is for animals, cruelty comes only from human hands. We are the creature of conscience, aware of the wrongs we do and fully capable of making things right. Our best instincts will always tend in that direction, because there is a bond with animals that’s built into every one of us. That bond of kinship and fellow–feeling has been with us through the entire arc of human experience––from our first bare–footed steps on the planet through the era of the domestication of animals and into the modern age. For all that sets humanity apart, animals remain “our companions in Creation,” to borrow a phrase from Pope Benedict XVI, bound up with us in the story of life on earth. Every act of callousness toward an animal is a betrayal of that bond. In every act of kindness we keep faith with the bond. And broadly speaking, the whole mission of the animal welfare cause is to repair the bond––for their sake and for our own.
The Bond is a literate and highly engaging reflection on our relationship with animals, with a look at the origins of the human–animal bond, the severing of that bond in the industrial era, and a workable vision of growing economies free from the harsh exploitation of animals. So many cruelties are inflicted on animals, but the good news is that we humans have the power to turn this situation around.
John Mackey, CEO and Co-founder of Whole Foods Market said, “The Bond is the best overall book on animals I have ever read. Brilliant and moving, Wayne Pacelle’s book communicates something profoundly important to its readers—it calls us to enter into a deeper and more caring relationship with animals. The very best books change the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves. The Bond is that kind of book.”
For more information on Wayne Pacelle and The Humane Society of the United States, please visit www.humanesociety.org.