This is the first book to explore women's leading role in animal protection in nineteenth-century Britain, drawing on rich archival sources. Women founded bodies such as the Battersea Dogs' Home, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and various groups that opposed vivisection. They energetically promoted better treatment of animals, both through practical action and through their writings, such as Anna Sewell's Black Beauty. Yet their efforts were frequently belittled by opponents, or decried as typifying female 'sentimentality' and hysteria. Only the development of feminism in the later Victorian period enabled women to show that spontaneous fellow-feeling with animals was a civilising force. Women's own experience of oppressive patriarchy bonded them with animals, who equally suffered from the dominance of masculine values in society, and from an assumption that all-powerful humans were entitled to exploit animals at will.
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Number of pages: 296
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
'In her riveting and meticulously researched book, Diana Donald explores the complex relationships between women, gender and animal protection movements. She shows, with insight and compassion, what was at stake in the quest to change both attitudes towards and practices concerning animals. Weaving together accounts of women's activism, legal and political debates, controversies around vivisection and the roles of institutions, Donald is writing important and timely history about forms of empathy.'
Professor Ludmilla Jordanova, Durham University
'In a compelling and fascinating work, Diana Donald restores the words and deeds of 19th century women to the historical record-updating interpretations with a powerful and empowering narrative of the inseparability of animal advocacy, politics and gender.'
Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat and Burger -- .