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"Baby-Farming" by Rev. Benjamin Waugh (of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
was written in 1890 as part of a campaign to pass reforms which would protect unwanted (and usually illegitimate) babies who had been effectively abandoned and left in the care of those who would benefit from their death. It is reprinted here as a historical document.
There was a practice in Victorian England whereby children could be given over to people who were paid to take them. Those who had the means could afford to give over a child and pay to have it properly cared for until it was no longer a baby and would not disrupt the home upon its return. Some individuals took on large numbers of these unwanted children from mothers who were poor in order to yield large profits. The result was horrible neglect and often the death of the infants. These large disreputable operations were known as 'baby farms'. The baby farmers actually often benefited when one of their charges died because they might receive a lump sum for taking the child or get paid a large amount when they initially took the child followed by smaller payments for the child's maintenance. Once the child's body was disposed of, the 'farmer' could replace it with a new baby. Greater turnover produced greater profits, so that the baby farmers had an incentive to see to it that the children died quickly.
Waugh and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children campaigned to have parliament pass regulations which would regulate baby farming in order to prevent infanticide. In 1908 they succeeded.