- 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
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them Hardcover – April 5, 2011
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
THE BOND begins with description of the bond we have had with animals through the ages. From there, Pacelle covers so much, but always there is this: because of our bond with animals, we have a responsibility to protect them.
As anyone who owns a dog or cat knows, animals have feelings, they can be happy and sad. But through the years, says Pacelle, many humans have not believed that and so have justified their mistreatment of animals. So he devotes part of his book to showing us proof that animals do have feelings. And if we know they have feelings, he says, we know that animals aren't just things, and we have a responsibility to protect these defenseless creatures.
That goes for all animals, Pacelle says. While many of us think of HSUS as advocates for dogs and cats, in reality, HSUS is just as concerned about other animals, such as chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs, animals that are big business when they exist for human consumption.
Through his first-hand experiences with these animals' circumstances, Pacelle describes the horrid conditions in which they live and die. The point of these stories that are so difficult to read is, we have a bond with these animals, too, and so a responsibility to know they do not live in misery. This is regardless of whether we eat eggs or meat.
Of course, it's easiest for us to see and feel our bond with our pets. Although Pacelle doesn't have to convince us of that, he does describe the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when so many people were forced to leave their pets behind when they left home for shelter. Because of their bond with these animals, some people refused to leave their homes without their pets, others went to great lengths to locate their pets afterward. Therefore, government has recognized our bond with our pets and now is acting on the necessity for disaster preparedness in the future to include these animals.
Subsequent chapters cover examples of horrible pet abuse we probably were not aware of, abuse our own pets may have suffered before they came to us. The most surprising to me was Pacelle's indictment of the American Kennel Club (AKC). They seem more interested in the money they get when they grant AKC certification to puppies than in knowing how those puppies are living and whether they are healthy. So a puppy mill can sell a puppy with AKC certification, and that doesn't mean anything other than AKC knows the lineage is "pure," i.e., the dogs are all of the same breed. Of course, that means there's probably been some inbreeding and, therefore, horrible genetic problems exist and are perpetuated. The unsuspecting buyer doesn't know that their puppy came from a puppy mill. Also, because AKC makes money certifying these puppies, AKC refuses to back any plan to base judging in dog shows on dogs' health and well being.
My favorite chapter gave examples of statements people make to justify ignoring their bond with animals and doing nothing to help them. He gives simple arguments we can make when we are confronted with this. For example, if you don't eat meat because of the abuses to cows by big agribusiness, when someone says, "If you won't eat meat, then you shouldn't wear leather shoes." Argument: "You're making a case for doing nothing because I can't do everything."
For those who care about animals, sometimes this book is difficult to read because of all the real-life examples of abuses to animals. If this is you, just take a break between chapters. But do read it.
This is such an important book! Everyone should read it. We all need to know what Pacelle emphasizes: we've always had a bond with all animals, so we have a responsibility to see that they are not abused and to do what we can to discourage abuse.
This book skillfully exposes readers to the harsh realities of suffering imposed on animals but also recounts the victories achieved in mitigating the problems. Over all, the book gives us hope for future improvements.
Sharing tender stories of pets his family owned when he was a child and recounting the details of significant events in his recent work as head of the HSUS, readers are given insight as to Wayne Pacelle, as an individual, and also the work of the HSUS. The details of his early conversations with Michael Vick are reported in the book. That alone commends the book to those who have questions about that relationship.
One thing that jumped out at me in the book was the large number of acknowledgements of others, whose expertise and experience have added to the work the HSUS has done and is doing.
Wayne has said that he wrote the book "to elevate the discussion about animal issues in our society." Read the book and join the dialog.