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Synopsis

In the late twentieth century animals are news. Parliamentary debates, protests against fox hunting and television programs like AnimalHospital all focus on the way in which we treat animals and on what that says about our own humanity. As vegetarianism becomes ever more popular, and animal experimentation more controversial, it is time to trace the background to contemporary debates and to situate them in a broader historical context.

Hilda Kean looks at the cultural and social role of animals from 1800 to the present – at the way in which visual images and myths captured the popular imagination and encouraged sympathy for animals and outrage at their exploitation. From early campaigns against the beating of cattle and ill-treatment of horses to concern for dogs in war and cats in laboratories, she explores the relationship between popular images and public debate and action. She also illustrates how interest in animal rights and welfare was closely aligned with campaigns for political and social reform by feminists, radicals and socialists.

"A thoughtful, effective and well-written book"—The Scotsman

"It could hardly be more timely, and its wonderful material is bound to provoke ... reflection"—The Independent

"A work of great interest"—Sunday Telegraph

"Lively, impressively researched, and well-written ... a book that is timely and valuable"—Times Literary Supplement

"A pleasing balance of anecdote and analysis"—Times Higher Educational Supplement

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