Political zoology
Class, religion and animal exploitation, 1830–45
in Civilised by beasts
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This chapter compares the fates of the Dublin Zoological Society and the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) during the early nineteenth century. The chapter argues that the specific political and social context of Ireland in the aftermath of Catholic Emancipation and at the beginning of the campaign for Repeal of the Union shaped attitudes towards the exploitation of animals. In particular, the chapter shows that the DSPCA suffered from a lack of public interest because its daily activities involved the punishment of poor Catholics in a city increasingly politicised along religious lines. The Zoological Society, by contrast, developed widespread public support for the display of exotic animals as a project in popular education.

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