For the Love of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

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Henry Holt and Company, Jun 23, 2009 - History - 368 pages

The engaging story of how an unlikely group of extraordinary people laid the foundation for the legal protection of animals

In eighteenth-century England—where cockfighting and bullbaiting drew large crowds, and the abuse of animals was routine—the idea of animal protection was dismissed as laughably radical. But as pets became more common, human attitudes toward animals evolved steadily. An unconventional duchess defended their intellect in her writings. A gentleman scientist believed that animals should be treated with compassion. And with the concentrated efforts of an eccentric Scots barrister and a flamboyant Irishman, the lives of beasts—and, correspondingly, men and women—began to change.

Kathryn Shevelow, a respected eighteenth-century scholar, gives us the dramatic story of the bold reformers who braved attacks because they sympathized with the plight of creatures everywhere. More than just a history, this is an eye-opening exploration into how our feelings toward animals reveal our ideas about ourselves, God, mercy, and nature. Accessible and lively, For the Love of Animals is a captivating cultural narrative that takes us into the lives of animals—and into the minds of humans—during some of history's most fascinating times.


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FOR THE LOVE OF ANIMALS: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

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Bright account of the much-reviled reformers who fought to end animal cruelty in England.In 1822, the British Parliament passed the Ill-Treatment of Cattle Act, the world's first animal-protection law ... Read full review

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Professor Shevelow truly outdid herself with this book. As a student studying the 18th and 19th centuries with a special interest in animal studies, I found this book to be invaluable. Though the descriptions of cruelty are at time horrific in their vivid detail, these descriptions are absolutely necessary to Professor Shevelow's project: to chronicle the rise of the animal protection movement, which one can see from the descriptions of cruelty was and is absolutely necessary. I found myself so emotionally involved in the story of the men who would be the founders of the RSPCA. I cried and felt anguished when their bills were defeated in Parliament time and time again. I felt elated when they were victorious. Professor Shevelow touches on all the important details regarding animal welfare, with examples from science, history, law, literature, politics, and art. A captivating book, well worth reading. 


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PART TWO Natures
PART THREE Speakingfor Animals

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About the author (2009)

A specialist in eighteenth-century British literature and culture, Kathryn Shevelow is an award-winning professor at the University of California in San Diego. She is the author of Charlotte: Being a True Account of an Actress's Flamboyant Adventures in Eighteenth-Century London's Wild and Wicked Theatrical World and Women and Print Culture. She lives in Solana Beach, California.

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