Review: Mercy, The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh

I have to admit that I am not a fan of the animal rights movement. BUT this story of Henry Bergh was quite interesting and eye-opening.   Horses, pigeons, cows, dogs, bears and more.   Henry Bergh took abuse upon abuse in order to work for the lives of those ill-treated.   Mercy, the incredible story of Henry Bergh is aptly named... one who shows mercy to animals.




Anyone who has read Black Beauty is aware of the plight of carriage and work horses...how easy it was to abuse these horses, and then to replace them.    Dead horses hauled out of the city daily.   Horses beaten and forced to pull loads too heavy for them to bear.

I wasn't aware of stray dogs being captured for a days work.
I wasn't aware of how folks thought they went made in the summer, so hundreds upon hundreds of dogs were destroyed over people's lack of knowledge.
The information about the dairy industry horrified.

I grew up on a farm.
Raised in a God-fearing household where one learned that God gave us dominion over the earth, which comes with a great deal responsibility to care well for the world we live in.. including caring for the animals that surround our lives.

Henry Bergh stood for showing kindness of animals.   That was it.  That's ALL it was.  BE KIND to animals.He didn't turn the ASPCA into the PETA driven movement it is today.   He wanted the animals that are part of our society cared for and railed against unwarranted abuses.

He understood the practicality of working animals, but he didn't want them to suffer unkindness when they were working for us.

He was eventually convinced to turn this helping animals into also helping the children.   He considered them to be little animals.

This book is filled with colour plates.    And I have to admit, it was rather neat seeing some of these old cartoons.  He really was vilified throughout his life.    But interestingly enough, when he died he was revered for his concern for the animals.

It also does cut outs to information mentioned in the book.   Like Louisa May Alcott.


It was a decent read.   Not sure that I would have children read it (as sensitive readers may be horrified by some of the scenes), but if you were wanting to do a unit of study on the ASPCA, it would be a good book to read to help prepare you.

Product Details
 Received: Advance reviewers copy
Title: Mercy, The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh, Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals.
Author: Nancy Furstinger
Pages: 175
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Reviewed for: Raincoast Books


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