The engaging story of how an unlikely group of extraordinary people laid the foundation for the legal protection of animals
In eighteenth-century England—where cockfighting and bullbaiting drew large crowds, and the abuse of animals was routine—the idea of animal protection was dismissed as laughably radical. But as pets became more common, human attitudes toward animals evolved steadily. An unconventional duchess defended their intellect in her writings. A gentleman scientist believed that animals should be treated with compassion. And with the concentrated efforts of an eccentric Scots barrister and a flamboyant Irishman, the lives of beasts—and, correspondingly, men and women—began to change.
Kathryn Shevelow, a respected eighteenth-century scholar, gives us the dramatic story of the bold reformers who braved attacks because they sympathized with the plight of creatures everywhere. More than just a history, this is an eye-opening exploration into how our feelings toward animals reveal our ideas about ourselves, God, mercy, and nature. Accessible and lively, For the Love of Animals is a captivating cultural narrative that takes us into the lives of animals—and into the minds of humans—during some of history’s most fascinating times.