For the Love of Animals
For the Love of Animals
The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement
Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805080902, 368pp.
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
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.
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.
“For the Love of Animals is an absorbing, rich book - I learned much and it made me think more deeply about the relationship between humans and animals. A fresh new voice has been added to the growing literature about the complexity of the rights of animals.”—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep
“This shocking book tells the story of the brave, eccentric individuals who worked to stop heartless animal abuses in 17th and 18th century England. For the Love of Animals is essential reading for people interested in both the history of legislation to protect animals, and animal ethics issues.”—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation
“Richard Martin, named ‘Humanity Dick’ by King George IV, remains a hero to all who believe that kindness is indeed a virtue. He not only founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now the RSPCA) together with William Wilberforce, but fought hard for legislation to help the poor and illiterate. It is a joy to read Kathryn Shevelow’s careful examination of this extraordinary man and the other courageous men and women who worked together to radically change society with their ideas about social justice. You are left pondering the implications of their words and deeds on those around them, indeed on us all, even today.”—Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA
"[A] fascinating history of the animal-rights movement."—Susan Salter Reynolds, LA Times
"Exceptionally interesting. . . . [A] first-rate study. . . . For the Love of Animals is exemplary in every respect."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World