By Hilda Kean
Within the past due 20th century animals are information. Parliamentary debates, protests opposed to fox searching and tv courses like Animal Hospital all concentrate on the way we deal with animals and on what that claims approximately our personal humanity. As vegetarianism turns into ever extra renowned, and animal experimentation extra arguable, it's time to hint the historical past to modern debates and to situate them in a broader historic context.
Hilda Kean appears on the cultural and social function of animals from 1800 to the current – on the means during which visible photographs and myths captured the preferred mind's eye and inspired sympathy for animals and outrage at their exploitation. From early campaigns opposed to the thrashing of livestock and ill-treatment of horses to trouble for canines in battle and cats in laboratories, she explores the connection among renowned photos and public debate and motion. She additionally illustrates how curiosity in animal rights and welfare used to be heavily aligned with campaigns for political and social reform through feminists, radicals and socialists.
"A considerate, powerful and well-written book"—The Scotsman
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Extra resources for Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800
The brown bear allegedly possessed a high degree of brute force, intellectual stupidity, and insatiable and gluttonous voracity)2 The relationship between physical appearance and moral qualities was a particular theme: thus the black ape's expression was 'peculiarly cunning'; the leopard had a moral character of suspicion, presenting an air of 'malignity and wiliness')3 What was apparently observed in the physical appearance of an animal was also translated into its relationship with humans. The grace of the lesser American flying squirrel made it appropriate as a lady's pet; the pelican's contentedness and familiarity rendered it suitable as a captive bird)4 Animals were not described as part of social formations which existed within the animal world but in terms of their use to people.
Bull-baiting, cock-fighting and dog-fighting were not attended by those of the lowest social standing in society, but by those with the lowest morals: 'The same disposition which leads a man to the raceground, takes him to the ring, the cockpit, and the gaming table, and thus a character is formed of the most revolting description. '9 2 The aristocracy was united with the lowest in society by their behaviour towards animals. Cock-fighting was seen as the sport of kings and princes: the Earl of Derby kept 3,000 cocks specifically for fighting.
O'ny the fare, sir. ' 7° But the subject of Dickens's wit suffered severe distress and premature death. While the search for profits was the main motive for speeding up horses, fashion and slothfulness was another. So fashionable was it to be driven around town that the practice of using horses for leisure descended down the social order. As a colourful pamphleteer put it: 'People now ride who twenty years ago must have walked; but to walk is reckoned vulgar. The fat butcher's wife, flounced and ANIMAL RIGHTS }(onso 1 eaO.