For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States

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Ohio University Press, May 25, 2006 - History - 368 pages

Animal rights. Those two words conjure diverse but powerful images and reactions. Some nod in agreement, while others roll their eyes in contempt. Most people fall somewhat uncomfortably in the middle, between endorsement and rejection, as they struggle with the profound moral, philosophical, and legal questions provoked by the debate. Today, thousands of organizations lobby, agitate, and educate the public on issues concerning the rights and treatment of nonhumans.

For the Prevention of Cruelty is the first history of organized advocacy on behalf of animals in the United States to appear in nearly a half century. Diane Beers demonstrates how the cause has shaped and reshaped itself as it has evolved within the broader social context of the shift from an industrial to a postindustrial society.

Until now, the legacy of the movement in the United States has not been examined. Few Americans today perceive either the companionship or the consumption of animals in the same manner as did earlier generations. Moreover, powerful and lingering bonds connect the seemingly disparate American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the nineteenth century and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals of today. For the Prevention of Cruelty tells an intriguing and important story that reveals society's often changing relationship with animals through the lens of those who struggled to shepherd the public toward a greater compassion.

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Despite being a very narrow area, well-written and really amde me think. Read full review

Contents

1 Resurrecting the Voice
1
2 A Movement Takes Shape
19
3 Leaders and Followers
39
4 The Voice of the Voiceless
59
5 Reaching Out to the Mainstream
91
6 Our Most Strenuous Protest
119
7 The Road to Liberation
147
Epilogue
197
Notes
203
Bibliography
267
Index
295
Copyright

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Page 35 - With such huge and lumbering civility the country hands a chair to the city. All the Indian huckleberry hills are stripped, all the cranberry meadows are raked into the city. Up comes the cotton, down goes the woven cloth; up comes the silk, down goes the woollen; up come the books, but down goes the wit that writes them.
Page 44 - To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States; to enforce all laws which are now, or may hereafter be, enacted for the protection of animals; and to secure by lawful means the arrest, conviction and punishment of all persons violating such laws. A further object of the society shall be to Instruct the pi-ople to be kind to animals by the dissemination of humane literature and other effective methods.
Page 19 - No man shall exercise any Tirranny or Crueltie towards any bruite Creature which are usuallie kept for mans use.
Page 147 - WE STAND NOW where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one "less traveled by" — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of our earth.
Page 33 - I know that physiology cannot possibly progress except by means of experiments on living animals, and I feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the progress of physiology commits a crime against mankind.
Page 59 - I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak Till a deaf world's ear Shall be made to hear The wrongs of the wordless weak. The same force formed the sparrow That fashioned man, the king. The God of the Whole Gave a spark of soul To furred and feathered thing. And I am my brother's keeper; And I will fight his fight, And speak the word For beast and...
Page 30 - Nevertheless the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.
Page 59 - The same force formed the sparrow That fashioned man, the king. The God of the Whole Gave a spark of soul To furred and feathered thing. And I am my brother's keeper; And I will fight his fight, And speak the word For beast and bird Till the world shall set things right.
Page 21 - But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer'?

About the author (2006)

Diane L. Beers is an associate professor of history at Holyoke Community College, where she teaches social, environmental, and African American history.

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