This book is a history of nineteenth-century Dublin through human–animal relationships. The book offers a unique perspective on ordinary life in the Irish metropolis during a century of significant change and reform. The book argues that the exploitation of animals formed a key component of urban change, from municipal reform to class formation to the expansion of public health and policing. The book uses a social history approach but draws on a range of new and underused sources including archives of the humane society and the Zoological Society, popular songs, visual ephemera and diaries. The book moves chronologically from 1830 to 1900 with each chapter focused on specific animals and their relationship to urban changes. The first chapter examines the impact of Catholic emancipation and rising Catholic nationalism on the Zoological Society and the humane movement. The second chapter looks at how the Great Famine drove reformers to try to clearly separate the urban poor from animals. The third chapter considers the impact of the expanding cattle trade on the geography, infrastructure and living conditions of the city. The fourth chapter looks at how middle-class ideas about the control of animals entered the legal code and changed where and how pigs and dogs were kept in the city. The fifth and final chapter compares ideas of the city as modern or declining and how contrasting visions were associated with particular animals. The book will interest anyone fascinated by the history of cities, the history of Dublin or the history of Ireland.
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.
affected animal lives as well as humans. 51 In Dublin, for example, demand for meat crowded more cattle into city markets, city slaughterhouses and city quays waiting for ships to England. The humanemovement had some success in improving the treatment of working animals but the city also demanded more of them. The dog fancy encouraged the elimination of certain types of dogs and changed acceptable dog behaviours. The city that emerged at the end of the century was a compromise between reformers’ desires for markers of urban civility and the need to accommodate
It will be noted that, unlike many modern historians of the animal protection
movement, Mill presumed that animal suffering per se was the real, primary
concern of the activists, and that claims for the social or political benefits of
anti-cruelty laws were merely a stratagem for winning over a sceptical public.
The American scholar Roswell McCrea, in his intelligent history of the humanemovement, published in 1910, likewise observed that most nineteenth-century
animal advocacy was ‘based on a “faith” rather than on any rationalistic scheme
Roswell McCrea, The HumaneMovement: A Descriptive Survey (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1910), p. 89.
‘The importation of cattle’, letter from T.F. Hewitt, Secretary of the Hull and East Riding
branch of the RSPCA to the Times (4 August 1865), p. 10. Liverpool RSPCA Reports
(1873), p. 11; (1876), pp. 14–15; (1877), p. 12; (1878), p. 12; (1881), p. 13.
All these abuses were frequently discussed in the press, in connection with parliamentary reports on the Contagious Diseases (Animals) bill of Spring 1869. The Times (28
September 1866), p. 5; (29 July 1869), p
suffering per se was the real, primary concern of the activists, and that claims for the social or political benefits
of anti-cruelty laws were merely a stratagem for winning over a sceptical public. The American scholar Roswell McCrea, in his intelligent history of the humanemovement, published in 1910, likewise observed that
most nineteenth-century animal advocacy was ‘based on a “faith” rather
than on any rationalistic scheme of fundamentals. The emotional basis is
the common one, and the kind treatment of animals is assumed to be a
thing desirable in itself, as
), Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture: Contexts for
Criticism (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).
58 ‘Home for lost dogs’, letter from the Secretary of the Dogs’ Home, Charles Colam,
in the Standard (24 December 1886), p. 2. Ouida, ‘Cure for rabies’, letter to the
Times (4 November 1886), p. 3, and ‘The quality of mercy’, in her Critical Studies
(Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1901), p. 227. Kean, Animal Rights, pp. 91–5. Howell, At
Home and Astray, pp. 85, 87, 96.
59 Roswell McCrea, The HumaneMovement: A Descriptive Survey (New York: Columbia
and unionists. Few of the founders had a reputation in zoological science. What they shared was social and economic status and a desire to make their city great. Together they could use the Dublin Zoological Society as an avenue to civic and national improvement.
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also responded to political change and saw its aims as reforming. The humane treatment of animals in Ireland, as Helen O’Connell has demonstrated, was linked to the literature of improvement. 26 The foremost advocate of the humanemovement in
Bywater Smithies’, pp. 588–91. Article on Smithies by Frank
Murray in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
82 ‘C.S.’ [Catherine Smithies], A Mother’s Lessons on Kindness to Animals (London: S.W.
Partridge, undated [c.1862]). ‘The late Mrs Smithies’, Band of Mercy Advocate, 1:1
(January 1879), 6.
83 ‘Sixty-sixth anniversary of the R.S.P.C.A. first meeting’, with report on the Band
of Mercy, Animal World, 21:251 (1 August 1890), 119. Roswell C. McCrea, The
HumaneMovement: A Descriptive Survey (New York: Columbia University Press,
1910), pp. 94
–1898]), pp. 94–9. Beers, For the Prevention
of Cruelty, pp. 26, 31.
109 McCrea, HumaneMovement, pp. 112, 115–16.
110 Tess Cosslett, Talking Animals in British Children’s Fiction, 1786–
(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006). Teresa Mangum, ‘Narrative dominion or the animals
write back? Animal genres in literature and the arts’, in Kathleen Kete (ed.), A
Cultural History of Animals, vol. 5, In the Age of Empire (Oxford and New York: Berg,
111 Anon., Memoirs of Dick, the Little Poney, Supposed to be Written by Himself; and
Published for the Instruction and Amusement of