Wayne Pacelle, The Bond: Our Kinship With Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011, 405 pages, US$26.99, hardcover. Reviewed by Adventist Review features editor Sandra Blackmer.
The cover of Wayne Pacelle’s book belies the content. Rather than a heartwarming boy-dog story, The Bond: Our Kinship With Animals, Our Call to Defend Them examines the complex human-?animal relationship that leads us to cherish our pets but ignore the systematic cruelty intrinsic to such things as factory farms and the annual slaughter of Canada’s baby seals.
“When pseudoscientists tell us that animals are not conscious or aware, and are instead driven by mechanical, unfeeling instinct,” writes Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), “the moral path has been cleared for economic interests to do as they please.”
Making the New York Times best-seller list within a week of its release on April 5, The Bond runs the gamut of animal welfare issues. From the story behind the 2008 HSUS undercover investigation of the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in California (which resulted in the closing of the plant and the largest beef recall in U.S. history), to the controversial relationship that developed between Pacelle and NFL football star Michael Vick, to the successful California ballot initiative “to ban the extreme confinement of twenty million animals on concentrated animal feeding operations,” to the inner workings of puppy mills, Pacelle opens a window that exposes the realities of government-sanctioned and other forms of animal abuse.
The Bond is not an easy read. Those who care for animals will cry through the stories of animal suffering but rejoice at the victories that bring change to the way many of us view and treat God’s nonhuman creatures. Although an emotional roller-coaster experience, perusing this book will help readers grow in their knowledge of animal welfare issues, the behind-the-scenes workings of politics, and the dedication of those who devote their lives to the cause of animals.
During an April 9 NPR News interview with Scott Simon based on his new book, Pacelle responded to a concern that HSUS under his leadership has developed a “new kind of profile, a level of aggressiveness.” Pacelle said that aggressiveness is not a synonym for extreme, and calls HSUS a mainstream group. “We are representing mainstream sensibilities and values, and we want to do something about cruelty when we see it.”
Pacelle says his objective for writing The Bond was to “deepen the understanding” of animal welfare issues and to encourage people to be activists and “not bystanders in the face of the troubles that animals encounter in society.”
My hat goes off to Pacelle for producing this timely and eye-opening book.
BATES, Dorothy Gladys Rennewantz Oliver Noyes—b. July 24, 1911, Dayton, Wash.; d. Mar. 6, 2010, Visalia, Calif. She served as an Adventist elementary school teacher for 19 years. She was predeceased by three husbands, Frank Oliver, Clarence Noyes, and Dick Bates; and by her son, Frank L. Oliver. She is survived by her son, James B. Oliver; eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
GRIFFIN, Dane Jon—b. Aug. 11, 1954, Hagerstown, Md.; d. Oct. 10, 2010, Lansing, Mich. He served as assistant to the president for media development in the Michigan Conference. He is survived by his wife, Vicki; son, Anthony; daughter, Gina Stearman; father, Robert; mother, Darlene; brothers, Douglas, David, and Darrell; and two grandchildren.
GRIFFITH, Barbara J.—b. July 17, 1931, San Francisco, Calif.; d. Jan. 14, 2010, San Diego, Calif. She served with her pastor husband in the Pacific, Atlantic, Lake, and Inca union conferences, and also at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Philippines. She is survived by her two sons, Randy and Ron; two daughters, Jan Widmann and Julie Porter; one brother; three sisters; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
HEMME, Leeta E.—b. Apr. 24, 1919, Chowchilla, Calif.; d. Apr. 4, 2010, Meadow Vista, Calif. She served as a teacher in California, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. She is survived by a brother, Earl; and a sister, Thelma Wearner.
HILDE, Dorothea E.—b. Feb. 26, 1913, Williston, N.Dak.; d. Dec. 16, 2009, Castle Rock, Colo. She served as a secretary at Loma Linda Foods, the General Conference Transportation Bureau in San Francisco, and the Nevada-Utah Conference. She is survived by one son, Steve; three daughters, Fay White, Petrea Hamor, and Beulah Diehl; 10 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.