Giulia Guazzaloca

A battle for «civilization». The animal protection movements in the 19th century

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Keywords: Animals; Education; Middle Classes; Feminism; Vivisection.

The essay analyzes the changing attitudes towards animals during the 19th century and the first anti-cruelty laws. With a focus on Italy, the paper provides a reconstruction of activities and campaigns carried by animal protection societies and antivivisection activists. It shows how the origins of animalism in the western world were linked to the middle class values, such as benevolence, self-discipline, temperance and spirit gentleness. The rise of a political debate and then of the societies to protect animals became a distinctive part of the creation of a new political and moral sensibility, in which an important role was played by women, feminist groups and social reformists.

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