The Origins and Efficacy of Private Enforcement of Animal Cruelty Law in Britain
48 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2012
Date Written: November 14, 2012
In 1822, the British Parliament enacted “An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle,” generally recognized as the first statute of any nation specifically targeting animal cruelty. Richard Martin, a colorful and eloquent member of the House of Commons from Galway, was the legislation’s principal author and champion and after the law’s enactment worked tirelessly to ensure its enforcement. Thus, this landmark statute is appropriately known as “Martin’s Act.” Martin’s Act made it a crime, subject to a penalty of up to five pounds or three months in prison, for any person to “wantonly and cruelly beat, abuse or ill treat” various types of livestock, including horses, cattle, and sheep. In one simple sentence, the Act established an important new norm governing the relationship of human to animals.
Keywords: Britain, Animal, Cruelty, Martin, Law
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