The Cow and the Plow: Animal Suffering, Human Guilt, and the Crime of Cruelty

Susan J. Pearson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Nineteenth-century animal protectionists endeavored to frame laws that gave animals direct legal protections, and they conducted large-scale public education campaigns to define the harm of cruelty to animals in terms of animals' own suffering. However, animal suffering was only one of the many possible definitions of cruelty's harms, and when judges and other legal interpreters interpreted animal protection laws, they focused less on animal suffering and more on human morality and the dangers of cruelty to human society. Battling over the definition of human guilt for cruelty, protectionists and judges drew and redrew the boundaries of the law's reach and the moral community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Law Politics and Society
EditorsMatthew Anderson
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

NameStudies in Law Politics and Society
ISSN (Print)1059-4337

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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