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

Diane L. Beers, Author
Diane L. Beers, Author . Ohio Univ. $34.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-8040-1086-3 ISBN 978-0-8040-1087-0
Hardcover - 312 pages - 978-0-8040-1086-3
Open Ebook - 329 pages - 978-0-8040-4023-5
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Destined to become a classic in its field, historian Beers's study of the animal advocacy movement in the U.S. since the ASPCA's founding in 1866 fills a glaring historical gap with exceptional style, accuracy and insight. Beers observes that while involvement in the animal rights movement has exploded since the 1975 publication of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation, with more than 7,000 organizations today representing more than 10 million members, the movement has "historical amnesia." To counter this, she shows how animal rights activism "has been far more successful historically and has had a far greater impact of society than previously suggested." Displaying an impressive mastery of social and environmental contexts, the author reviews a range of activism, from the influence of the abolitionist movement on "radical humanists" working for the emancipation of animals in the post–Civil War era, through the antivivisection movement of the late 19th century (which numbered Mark Twain as a member), to the impact of historic legislation such as the 1958 federal Humane Slaughter Act. Beers delivers a superbly convincing account of how early animal advocates "made the developments of 1975 and the years thereafter possible." B&w illus. (July)

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