For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States

Front Cover
Ohio University Press, May 25, 2006 - History - 312 pages
1 Review

Animal rights. Those two words conjure diverse but powerful images and reactions. Some nod in agreement, while others roll their eyes in contempt. Most people fall somewhat uncomfortably in the middle, between endorsement and rejection, as they struggle with the profound moral, philosophical, and legal questions provoked by the debate. Today, thousands of organizations lobby, agitate, and educate the public on issues concerning the rights and treatment of nonhumans.

For the Prevention of Cruelty is the first history of organized advocacy on behalf of animals in the United States to appear in nearly a half century. Diane Beers demonstrates how the cause has shaped and reshaped itself as it has evolved within the broader social context of the shift from an industrial to a postindustrial society.

Until now, the legacy of the movement in the United States has not been examined. Few Americans today perceive either the companionship or the consumption of animals in the same manner as did earlier generations. Moreover, powerful and lingering bonds connect the seemingly disparate American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of the nineteenth century and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals of today. For the Prevention of Cruelty tells an intriguing and important story that reveals society's often changing relationship with animals through the lens of those who struggled to shepherd the public toward a greater compassion.


What people are saying - Write a review

Review: For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States

User Review  - Ja - Goodreads

Despite being a very narrow area, well-written and really amde me think. Read full review


1 Resurrecting the Voice
2 A Movement Takes Shape
3 Leaders and Followers
4 The Voice of the Voiceless
5 Reaching Out to the Mainstream
6 Our Most Strenuous Protest
7 The Road to Liberation

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 19 - No man shall exercise any Tirranny or Crueltie towards any bruite Creature which are usuallie kept for mans use.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

Diane L. Beers is an associate professor of history at Holyoke Community College, where she teaches social, environmental, and African American history.

Bibliographic information