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The History of Human-Animal Relations (August 2017): Animal Welfare

By J. Wendel Cox

Animal Welfare

Numerous scholars have addressed organizations concerned with the conditions and suffering of animals and disposed to act against animal cruelty. Such organizations began in Britain in the nineteenth century and spread shortly after that to the United States and other parts of the world. One of the best recent works studying the history of animal activism is Janet M. Davis’s The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America. Davis’s work is especially valuable for its connection of ostensibly local animal welfare concerns in mid-nineteenth-century American cities to subsequent imperial encounters elsewhere in the world. Her chapters on the Philippines and India are invaluable. Modern activism is well represented by Peter Singer’s biography of Henry Spira, founder of Animal Rights International, entitled Ethics into Action: Henry Spira and the Animal Rights Movement.