The Hunt for Mercy
Journal of Animal Law, Vol. 3, 2007
17 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2007
British historian Thomas Macaulay wrote in the second chapter of his history of England: "the Puritan objected to bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectator." Catholic Church Father St. Thomas Aquinas noted that cruelty to animals is shunned in scripture for its capacity to provoke the same in us; an "injury of an animal leads to the temporal hurt of man." Immanuel Kant wrote: "[H]e who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men." A frequent question asks whether animal laws are passed as a mercy to individual animals or if they are human-centered in their intention, crafted to alleviate the harm to people that comes from harming animals. The Hunt for Mercy examines the largest animal law debate in history - the English ban on foxhunting - to see whether a discourse of mercy or human-centeredness prevails. The result is an overwhelming discourse of mercy - and a thus far underwhelming law.
Keywords: animal law, animal rights, foxhunting, fox hunting, hunting act, hunting bill, hunting ban, UK hunting ban, English foxhunting, English fox hunting, animal welfare
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K33, K42, K49, Z00
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