Gary Kaskel is a writer and filmmaker who has also served as an executive at United Action for Animals and The Humane Society
of the United States. His award-winning 2006 documentary, Animal People, chronicles the history of the humane movement in America. He grew up in Manhattan and now resides in Los Angeles.


He never had any pets, but he started the first animal protection society. He never had any children, but started the first
children’s protection society. Henry Bergh was responsible for the birth of two great social justice movements in America, and no biography had been written about him in more than fifty years. No doubt, Henry Bergh is the most famous American you’ve never
heard of. It's time that changed. -
GARY KASKEL, author Monsters and Miracles-Henry Bergh's America



As America recovered from the Civil War, Henry Bergh was a wealthy dilettante-playwright-diplomat, who then turned into a pioneer of social reform on two battle fronts: the abuse of animals and the abuse of children. Blending history and psychology, Gary Kaskel novelistically brings this complex figure to vivid life and illuminates issues very much with us today.
A much-needed book.

      - Aram Saroyan, author of Trio and Rancho Mirage


Monsters and Miracles is the story of a complex and conflicted warrior for children and animals who changed the consciousness of a nation more than a century ago. As an animal advocate,
I love the story of Henry Bergh, founder of the first animal protection society in America. It is simply a must-read for anyone interested in the humane movement and true American heroes.

       - Rory Freedman, author of Beg and co-author of Skinny Bitch


Henry Bergh is widely thought to have started the animal protection movement in America and now, thanks to Gary Kaskel’s intelligent and compelling biography, we know how how this came to be. Kaskel paints a detailed and personal portrait of the man who taught us to respect animals. This is an important book that will be on the shelf for years to come—and it’s a great read.

      - Elizabeth Hess, author of Nim Chimpsky:
        The Chimp Who would Be Human
and Lost & Found


Kaskel has woven an urbane and atmospheric tale of New York and Europe in the mid-19th century and an aristocrat’s passionate crusade not only to bring America forward on the subject of animal cruelty and children’s rights but for meaning and purpose in his own life.

       - Andrew Gross, author of The Dark Tide and The Blue Zone

Read an excerpt


Buy Now

ANIMAL PEOPLE – the humane movement in America


84 minute award-winning documentary a film by Gary Kaskel music by Robert Douglas

DVD features 2 hours of bonus extras!

More from Gary Kaskel

The media has well documented the great social justice issues of the past and present—19th Century struggles over the abolition of slavery, providing women with the vote, protecting children, as well as the environmental protection, civil rights, women’s and anti-war movements
of the 20th Century.

    But here we are in the 21st Century and the one controversial social justice issue American media has yet to examine is the animal protection and animal rights movement.  Is it because
this movement is the last great social justice issue that has yet to be universally accepted?  Is it because the media is economically intertwined with the food, medical research and pharmaceutical industries who are opposed to gaining public sympathy for the animals from which they profit?

    Filmmaker Gary Kaskel addresses this vacuum with the first major program exploring the history of the animal protection movement in America.

    While the modern animal protection movement has its roots in the Victorian era, concern for the welfare of animals goes back centuries. ANIMAL PEOPLE
is a series of portraits examining many of the major
and some of the minor players populating this
movement past and present as well as the broad
spectrum of philosophies within it, bringing the
strong bond and dual relationships between
humans and animals into focus.