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The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them Hardcover – April 5, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“If the animals knew about this book, they would, without doubt, confer on Wayne Pacelle, their highest honor.” (JANE GOODALL)

The Bond is the best overall book on animals I have ever read. Brilliant and moving, it will change the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves.” (JOHN MACKEY, CEO and Co-founder of Whole Foods Market)

Majestic in sweep and beautifully written, The Bond is a monumental achievement. I can’t think of any other book that is so valuable. It is truly wonderful!” (JEFFREY MASSON, New York Times bestselling author of When Elephants Weep)

From the Back Cover

A fascinating exploration of humanity's eternal bond with animals, and an urgent call to answer the needs of millions of at-risk creatures

A landmark work, The Bond is the passionate, insightful, and comprehensive examination of our special connection to all creatures, written by one of America's most important champions of animal welfare. Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, unveils 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 systemic cruelty to animals.

Pacelle begins by exploring the biological and historical underpinnings of the human-animal bond and reveals our newfound understanding of animals, including their remarkable emotional and cognitive capacities. In the book's second section, Pacelle shows how the bond has been disastrously broken. He takes readers to a slaughter plant shuttered for inhumane practices, as well as the enormous egg factory farms of California. We visit Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas to speak with NFL star Michael Vick, then serving his sentence for dogfighting. Pacelle paints a portrait of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and highlights the heroic actions of residents and volunteers to reunite pets with their owners. Pacelle's narrative also leads the reader to remote locations in which conflicts over the killing of wildlife continue to play out—from the fields outside of Yellowstone National Park where bison are slaughtered with the encouragement of federal authorities, to the ice floes of Atlantic Canada where seal nurseries turn into killing fields.

In its final section, The Bond takes on 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 agribusiness organizations like the American Farm Bureau, to surprising adversaries like the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Kennel Club. Ultimately, Pacelle 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.

An eye-opening must-read, The Bond reminds us that animals are at the center of our lives, they are not just a backdrop. How we treat them is one of the great themes of the human story.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061969788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061969782
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #462,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Wayne Pacelle is President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which is one of the nation's top charities. Pacelle is a passionate defender of animals and an inspiration to millions of supporters and advocates. He's seen cruelty and compassion up close in his work, and he writes about the timeless but still ever-changing bond between humans and animals. He explores how that bond has been broken in so many ways in the industrial era.

Pacelle, who has led the humane movement from the margins to the mainstream, takes readers to ice floes of Atlantic Canada and the sealers' assault on the greatest wildlife nursery in the world, gives them a glimpse of a freshly shuttered slaughter plant in California, plunges them into the chaos of animal rescue in the aftermath of Katrina, and provides them with a front-row seat as he and Michael Vick talk in a prison courtyard about dogfighting and the human-animal bond.

In the end, Pacelle tells us about the new, humane economy and a way forward that is good for us and good for animals.

To receive Pacelle's daily updates on our relationship with animals and efforts to protect them, sign up to subscribe to Wayne's blog at hsus.typepad.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Frankly, this is an amazing book.

The Bond focuses on the relationship between humans and animals, both the good that results from encouraging that connection, and the devastating damage caused by its suppression. The scope of the book and the research that went into it is impressive. Each chapter explores pivotal issues in animal welfare from a first-person perspective, from the slaughter of Alaskan wolves to the slaughter of Canadian seals, from the puppy mills of Missouri to the rescue of pets in Louisiana, from the sanctuary of Black Beauty Ranch to the butchery of horses in slaughterhouses. Seen through Wayne Pacelle's eyes, the events, the people, and the animals take on a new depth.

By itself, Pacelle's recounting of these key issues would be a fascinating read. But woven carefully through each chapter is that theme of the human-animal bond, like a silver thread in a tapestry. When you look at each topic from a distance, in isolation, that thread is nearly imperceptible... but up close you can't help but see the gleam of it woven through every issue.

The intricacy of that weaving is what transforms Pacelle's book into a profoundly insightful look at our relationship with animals.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When this book came to the top of my to-read pile, my cat had just died and I thought it would be too unbearably sad to read at that moment. When I finally picked it back up again, I still found it sad over and over again. The book covers the gamut of all the ways in which humans wrong animals and reading it over a two day time span was intense. I think I cried at least a half dozen times. Much of the stuff in the book I already knew but much was new to me. I was interested to read about Michael Vick from the guy who basically approved him as a spokes person for anti-dogfighting, but I read online that Wayne Pacelle had called for all of Michael Vick's fighting dogs to be euthanized and I was surprised when that wasn't addressed here at all. One thing I took away from this book is that it is often our bond with a particular animal or animals (like, our pets) that give us our compassion for so many other animals (although certainly not always.) I get the HSUS newsletter and I think I like it better than this book because it isn't so overwhelming, it's just one or two things at a time and it's interesting and often has video and the latest news. This book has a decent "50 ways you can help animals" section in the back, so you don't end the book feeling helpless and wondering "but what can I do?"
I've been thinking of volunteering at my local animal shelter, and maybe now I really will.
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Format: Hardcover
The most comprehensive book I've ever read about animals! Lots of interesting history about various species and their advocates, anecdotes of animal valour, easy to digest science, the politics of protecting animals and lots more. This book delves into behind the scenes revelations including the controversial Vick story and the undercover investigation that lead to the largest meat recall in US history. This book is a real page turner that I will keep handy for reference on all things animal.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author and President/CEO of The Humane Society of The United States has written a book that covers the history of man/animal bonds and how the movement to protect all our world's species have grown and advanced - or not.

The Bond: Our Kinship with Animal, Our Call to Defend Them, is a good learning tool if you are interested in what has been done, what hasn't been done and what can be done to make the world a better place for animals. Actual cases are mentioned, discussed and studied. I find this very helpful so I can be more aware of what is happening in the future. The most important thing I learned is not to accept all I am told at face value, such as the sometimes misleading names of certain organizations.

The appendix covers "Fifty Ways to Help Animals," and gives contact information so you can follow through with the suggestions. This book is definitely a must read for all interested in the welfare of all types of animals, not just pets.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a longtime follower of Wayne Pacelle's blog "A Humane Nation." At first, I thought this book might be a recount of Pacelle's blog entries as president of the Humane Society of the United States. But it's not. The book stands on its own as a grand synthesis of the history and current state of relations between humans and animals.

One thing Pacelle covers better than any other writer I've seen is the contradictory nature of our relationship with animals. On the one hand, we love our pets as family, pamper them, and spare no expense to care for them. On the other hand, we are capable of great cruelty toward animals, whether in intensive confinement of pigs and hens, merciless eradication of wolves and bison, or industrial breeding of dogs in puppy mills. It is hard to understand how humans can be so inconsistent in their actions toward the creatures who share our planet.

One part of the book I found particularly relevant was the chapter on "The Mismeasure of Animals." This chapter discusses the shameful history of behaviorists who, tracing their methods back to Aristotle and Descartes, dismissed the possibility or relevance of animal awareness, emotions, and intelligence.

But it also shares many recent discoveries about animals that are now impossible to ignore -- Alex the African gray parrot who could identify shapes and colors of objects he had never seen before; New Caledonian crows who make and use tools to gather food; elephants who mourn their dead and experience post-traumatic stress; coyotes who have an innate sense of fair play; dolphins who protect people from sharks; a gorilla who rescues a human child; and a whale who thanks the humans who cut her free from a patch of fishing wire.
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