The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them is a bestselling book by Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. Wayne was on the Ellen show yesterday discussing his book and the important message it carries. It was a great segment, and here’s a recap if you missed it!
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Wayne Pacelle in person earlier this month when I attended Humane Lobby Day in Harrisburg. I purchased a copy of the book and had it autographed. I thought he was a big shot then, but when he was featured on Ellen (my hero!), I knew he really is a big shot! I brought the book with me all the way to Iceland to do some reading while on vacation and even though I’m just in the first few chapters still, I’m hooked.
I remember our first cat when I was 4 and our first dog when I was 6, and a host of animals that have touched my life ever since. I followed a straight and narrow path to becoming a vet throughout my entire schooling and while I changed gears after college, I was able to carve out a career for myself as an animal-loving entrepreneur. I consider myself very fortunate to have such close relationships not only with my own pets but with all of those that I care for every single day in my business.
I might be among a special minority that has chosen to make animals so central to my professional life, but I am in no way unique in having animals play such an important role in my personal life. Love and affection toward animals is one thing all humans share. Just watch a child with a kitten or a puppy and you’ll know exactly what I mean – behaviors demonstrating fascination, affection, and nurturing toward animals are social skills you’ll never have to teach a child. We are all born knowing exactly how to be kind. Instead, we end up teaching the caring right out of them, at least we end up teaching them not to care about certain species…
As Wayne describes in The Bond, humans began to domesticate animals centuries ago. Some were used for a purpose such as hunting, warfare, and transportation, but from very early on, some were domesticated strictly for companionship. Some were domesticated and used for food and clothing. All of them were generally treated with care and compassion. They may have served a purpose in working hand in hand with humans, but they were treated with humanity and respect. Fast forward to today and what we are doing now is so far removed from where we started that we can’t even explain where we went astray.
Cavemen may have needed to kill animals for food, but at least when they did it, they did it with some semblance of respect. Today, our factory farms “process” animals by the billions. Ten billion land animals are killed for food every year in the US. That doesn’t count fish or seafood and it doesn’t count anything outside of our borders. Ten billion, just for US. As a result of the tremendous consumer demand, the animals are treated in horrifying ways that I wouldn’t wish upon even the most hated criminal on the planet.
The good news is that it’s not too late. We can take a step back, take a good look at our own values, remind ourselves that our lives are full of choices. Everything we do is a choice, even if it doesn’t seem so obvious at first. We can rekindle the compassion that has been buried deep inside. We have separated ourselves in order to justify our food choices in the name of convenience and tradition. We have so many resources at our disposal today that we no longer need to live like the barbaric society we have become.
The Bond is an inspiring book that offers heartwarming stories of animal rescue, human compassion, the human-animal relationship that we all benefit from. Most importantly it maps a way forward for a kinder society we would all be proud to be a part of. To get your copy, check out The Bond on Amazon.