There's a brief but good book review in the May issue of the New York Review of Books about Peter Sahlins' '1668: The Year of the Animal in France' by Lynn Hunt.
Hunt writes: 'The industrial production of animals developed at the same time as governments and reform-minded elites began to root out bear-baiting, bull-baiting and the wholesale torturing of cats for fun. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in England in 1824, and the first law against cruelty to animals was passed in 1835, whereas the abuse of children was only explicitly criminalized in England in 1889. One reformer of the London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children complained, "If wretched children were only dogs, what sunlight would fall into their doomed and dismal lives."'
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