Making Humans More Humane—Henry Bergh and the Birth of Animal Rights in 19th century America

Lecture Description

In Gilded Age America, people and animals lived cheek-by-jowl in environments that were dirty and dangerous to man and beast alike. The industrial city brought suffering, but it also inspired a compassion for animals that fueled a controversial anti-cruelty movement. When Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA in 1866, he launched campaign to grant rights to animals that was applauded by many, and ridiculed by many more. Bergh fought with robber barons, Five Points gangs, and legendary impresario P.T. Barnum, as he came to the defense of trolley horses, livestock, stray dogs, and other animals. This talk is based on Freeberg’s book, A Traitor to His Species, that tells the story of a remarkable man who helped to shape our modern relationship with animals.


1865-1900 Social Movements

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