Humane Society president describes animal-human bond

Carol Wright

By A Contributor

It is true that some people will turn away from starting to read a book once they hear many negative comments from others about its content and the author.

Comments posted online by professional reviewers can be equally discouraging, especially when the ‘majority’ rules. This leads me to say that I am not in the majority. I’ve decided to give Wayne Pacelle a chance to defend himself and his position as president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS.)

Pacelle is the author of “The Bond: Our Kinship With Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.” It was released in hardcover in 2011 and is currently available in paperback.

I do not know Pacelle personally and I hardly remember his speeches. Powerful or not, his words are intended to persuade the crowds to reconsider their former beliefs about how humans treat animals and what constitutes animal cruelty.

After digging deeper through the chapters of his book, I discovered something unique about him that maybe other readers didn’t immediately recognize.

Some people claim he has no compassion. If that statement is true, then why did Pacelle write in his book all about the joy he experienced as a child when playing fetch with his beloved retriever?

Some reviewers said Pacelle never owned a pet in his entire life and that he is a poor example of helping to promote a long-lost bond between people and animals.

I think one of the strong points he stresses in his book is letting people decide for themselves the meaning behind “ownership” and “bonding.” Throughout history, there has been a kinship shared among people and animals. Some animals, like horses and cattle, were used to assist farmers in the field or to do heavy labor.

In certain parts of the country, this type of farming practice is still used. Although he criticizes big farming corporations by pointing out that even today they continue to exploit and abuse livestock, he does give credit to the many good farmers who care for and treat their animals well.

Some of his opinions may anger those in the farming community. Hunters who claim to be responsible may want to pick a bone with Pacelle. The author appears to have turned vegan; not everyone relishes the idea of going veggie. People still crave a steak now and then. People’s dogs and cats need meat in their diet, too.

However, slaughter houses are not the answer, according to Pacelle. They put an early end to the lives of numerous horses and livestock that might have been spared the torture of being killed. Many of these animals have to wait in line while observing the killing of animals ahead of them.

Pacelle is quite sincere when he describes how heartbreaking it is for animals to observe and listen to their fellow creatures being slaughtered.

I must say that there are very gruesome chapters in his book. These chapters might upset people of any age. I don’t see how people could not be moved and saddened by such awful destructive and insensitive methods. These methods result in serious injuries or take the lives of thousands of animals including: beautiful horses, puppies, dogs, cats, kittens and birds. They also affect many wild creatures including: wolves, chimps, big cats, whales and other animal species.

However, on the bright side, the author gives accounts of many caring individuals who have rescued animals from laboratory experiments, circuses and neglectful owners. For domestic animals, it is important to spay or neuter. Pacelle writes with great hope of the Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) programs to cut down on the overpopulation of cats and kittens.

Yet, many local animal welfare agencies realize this method is costly and requires lots of volunteers.

Pacelle has been attacked for his contradictory nature, telling people that donations or a certain percentage of donations go toward the HSUS to help rescue, treat and adopt out animals. He has been under the gun for alleged misappropriation of funds. Television ads of sick, injured animals that tug at one’s heart and soul do just that. The HSUS has been in trouble in the past for taking credit for some rescue operations when, as it turned out, other organizations stepped in to do the work and helped abused, injured or neglected animals.

But, then again, other animal welfare organizations have been under fire, including the American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA.) Pacelle does, however, encourage people to donate to their local Humane Society or animal shelter. By donating locally, he says, as do others, people will know where the funds or contributions go, that the donations will remain in their own communities. I believe that most people might want to read a book like Pacelle’s “The Bond…,” before jumping to conclusions. Although people are entitled to their opinions, I think some seem eagerly high on the prowl to bring Pacelle down. People act similarly by blaming our president and no one else for everything that goes awry, forgetting there are other leaders on his staff.

I also believe that there is a huge distinction or difference of opinion when it concerns pet ownership and bonding. I think Pacelle is not in favor of controlling any animal, much less ‘owning’ one.

Bonding can be seen as both good and bad. I think to a certain extent that Pacelle sees “bonding” as a kind of slavery or a close link to it.

I think many people who select Pacelle’s book will correctly understand the bonding-kinship nature of humans and animals.

All animals have their rights but most individuals really do not need to associate those rights with human rights. Animals deserve the freedom to explore, play and be happy (or content) in their own habitat.

If an animal chooses to be a person’s companion and if a person cherishes that companionship, then the bonding is even more valuable and precious than anyone would have ever expected.

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