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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The emergence of anti-cruelty to animal societies in the early to mid-19th century in England and North America has relevance to children and childhood studies in two specific ways. First, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals both laid the groundwork for constructing cruelty as something that could be defined, identified, and punished. In so doing, these societies represented early exemplars of social pressure groups successfully arguing that the government and the law could, and should, legislate morality. The groups paved the way for similar societies on behalf of children. Second, the child and childhood were objects of anti-cruelty to animal education, both as exemplars of innocence closely identified with ...

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