Connecticut residents do not often have an opportunity to hear the nation's pre-eminent authority on animal welfare speak. On Oct. 7, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, will deliver his speech, "The Role of Animal Welfare in a Civilized Society," at 6 p.m. at the Ferguson Library in Stamford. Pacelle is passionate and informative, drawing on his three decades of experience as an advocate for all animals.

Pacelle's talk is part of a series "Civility in America," sponsored by Sacred Heart University and The Dilenschneider Group, along with Hearst Connecticut Media and the Ferguson Library.

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Robert L. Dilenschneider, founder and president of The Dilenschneider Group, who conceived the idea for the series, said: "Incivility has become socially acceptable and commonplace. The lack of civility in every segment of society, from politics to academia, from the media to the blogosphere, from talk radio to the pulpit, has become a crippling epidemic that threatens the future of our country. Something must be done."

Pacelle noted, "The way humans treat animals is a test of our character as individuals and as a society. Securing better outcomes for domesticated and wild creatures is a great and complicated moral challenge of our times. We have to ask ourselves what it says about us as a civilized nation when we imprison pigs and chickens in small cages on factory farms, kill animals for their fur and let wild animals languish in zoos."

As CEO of the HSUS, Pacelle leads the nation's largest animal protection organization and one of the largest charities in the U.S. In the last eight years, he has helped pass more than 800 state laws to help animals and personally led more than 25 successful ballot measures. He is the author of The New York Times best-selling book "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them."

He strongly believes kindness and compassionate treatment toward animals builds virtue, and as individuals develop these characteristics, they will exercise them in other facets of a civil society.

I urge you to go to the Ferguson Library and hear Pacelle speak on Oct. 7. Admission is free, but you must register online at http://bit.ly/1pbSn3v or call 203-351-8231. Bring your children and grandchildren to hear his powerful message that we must marshal the creativity of the human mind to find better ways to live and generate income without causing harm to animals.

New Canaan resident Cathy Kangas is a member of the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States. She can be reached at cathy@praibeauty.com.