October 20, 2011
HSUS staffers remember some of their favorite books.
As a young girl, I read Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty with a heartbreaking realization that animals have emotional attachments as deep and as meaningful as mine. Reading Sewell’s classic meant that animals and their plight would become not just a passion of mine but a lifelong purpose.
— Ann Chynoweth, Senior Director, Animal Rescue Team
In 1984, I was already making dietary choices in support of animal welfare and the environment when I read Animal Factories by Jim Mason and Peter Singer. I realized that I needed to find a way to inform others about what was happening to animals. I’ve been active in organized animal protection for more than a quarter century now, and I feel myself a part of something much larger than myself, something good, something important.
— Bernard Unti, Senior Policy Adviser
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees”—from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax—was a catchphrase in my household when my brothers and I were growing up. It helped teach us valuable lessons about respect for all life, generosity, and compassion.
— Cory Smith, Director, Humane Communities Program
Reading Ethics into Action by Peter Singer introduced me to the amazing life of Henry Spira, one of history’s most effective animal advocates. It changed the way I viewed animal protection work, helping me understand the importance of incremental advancements and recognize that even our opponents can often be part of the solution.
— Paul Shapiro, Senior Director, Farm Animal Protection Campaign
Before I read Bambi by Felix Salten, I didn’t think of animals as being so much like us, with the same feelings, family ties, and real fears when threatened. Reading Bambi was a good foundation for the direction I chose—celebrating animals and confronting cruelty on the job and off the clock.
— Charlotte Mead, Membership Representative
As an animal-loving middle schooler in the rural Midwest, I stumbled upon Cleveland Amory’s Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife, which validated my feelings about the inherent worth of animals. Twenty years later, I was honored to work for Amory at The Fund for Animals and coordinate the reproduction of this classic book that had so inspired me.
— Vicki Stevens, Senior Project Manager, Companion Animals Department
I can still see in my mind’s eye the gorgeous illustrations by Wesley Dennis in my childhood copy of Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind. The “good” characters in this fictionalized account of the legendary “Godolphin Arabian” are guided by a duty to set wrongs right—for both man and animal. Henry’s respect for all creatures made a lasting impact on me.
— Gail Berrigan, Editor, humanesociety.org
In Dominion, Matthew Scully builds a case for animal protection based on religious and conservative convictions. For me, Scully’s book was a powerful reminder that the cause of animal protection is universal and not the province of any one political ideology. That’s helped shape my strategic approaches at The HSUS over the past several years.
— Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO