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Protection of animals in nineteenth-century Britain
Author: Diana Donald

This book explores for the first time women’s leading roles in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain. Victorian women founded pioneering bodies such as the Battersea Dogs’ Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the first anti-vivisection society. They intervened directly to stop abuses, promoted animal welfare, and schooled the young in humane values via the Band of Mercy movement. They also published literature that, through strongly argued polemic or through imaginative storytelling, notably in Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, showed man’s unjustifiable cruelty to animals. In all these enterprises, they encountered opponents who sought to discredit and thwart their efforts by invoking age-old notions of female ‘sentimentality’ or ‘hysteria’, which supposedly needed to be checked by ‘masculine’ pragmatism, rationality and broadmindedness, especially where men’s field sports were concerned. To counter any public perception of extremism, conservative bodies such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for long excluded women from executive roles, despite their crucial importance as donors and grassroots activists. However, women’s growing opportunities for public work in philanthropic projects and the development of militant feminism, running in parallel with campaigns for the vote, gave them greater boldness in expressing their distinctive view of animal–human relations, in defiance of patriarchy. In analysing all these historic factors, the book unites feminist perspectives, especially constructions of gender, with the fast-developing field of animal–human history.

Rory Stewart and the fantasy of innocence
Peter Mitchell

subordinate the ethical demands of the present to those of an imagined past: Afghanistan must be invaded to restore it to its authentic history, just as teachers must return to work during a pandemic in order to honour and emulate the sacrifice of those who fought Hitler. Either way, neither Afghans nor teachers are to be afforded full control over their own destinies until they have paid their dues to a past

in Imperial nostalgia
Abstract only
Diana Donald

It was claimed that both nature and revealed religion instructed man to treat animals with a benevolence modelled on that of God himself; but, if so, should this not entail avoidance of any action that caused them suffering or death? The uncertainty of such ethical demands made kindness to animals an imperfect obligation, as Erskine had conceded, on a par with the wealthy classes’ voluntary charitable provision for the poor:  but it also made cruelty an unfit subject for legislation. It would be another thirteen years before Windham’s view was gainsaid, in the very

in Women against cruelty
Abstract only
Diana Donald

that both nature and revealed religion instructed man to treat animals with a benevolence modelled on that of God himself; but, if so, should this not entail avoidance of any action that caused them suffering or death? The uncertainty of such ethical demands made kindness to animals an imperfect obligation, as Erskine had conceded, on a par with the wealthy classes’ voluntary charitable provision for the poor: but it also made cruelty an unfit subject for legislation. It would be another thirteen years before Windham’s view was gainsaid, in the very limited anti

in Women against cruelty (revised edition)
John Carter Wood

; moreover, policy-making belonged to ‘the practical statesman’ with experience ‘lacking to the clergy or to the ordinary Christian citizen’. Nonetheless, middle axioms, while abstract, enabled evaluating politics according to how they related to Christian purposes. Oldham defined middle axioms as lying between ‘purely general statements of the ethical demands of the Gospel’ and ‘decisions that have to be made in concrete situations’: they showed the ‘directions’ in which faith should be expressed ‘at a given period and in given circumstances’. 37

in This is your hour