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Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements
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Bearing Witness

Ruth Harrison and British Farm Animal Welfare (1920–2000)

Authors: Kirchhelle, Claas

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  • Funded by the Wellcome Trust, this book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license
  • Explores the interconnected rise of British animal welfare politics, science and activism from the mid-1960s onwards
  • Examines the life and work of one of Britain’s most prominent animal welfare activists, drawing on research from the previously restricted papers of Harrison’s charity (Farm Animal Care Trust)
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eBook  
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62792-8
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62791-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
About this book

This open access book is the biography of one of Britain’s foremost animal welfare campaigners and of the  world of activism, science, and politics she inhabited. In 1964, Ruth Harrison’s bestseller Animal Machines  triggered a gear change in modern animal protection by popularising the term ‘factory farming’ alongside a new way of thinking about animal welfare. Here, historian Claas Kirchhelle explores Harrison’s avant-garde  upbringing, Quakerism, and how animal welfare debates were linked to concerns about the wider ethical and environmental trajectories of post-war Britain. Breaking the myth of Harrison as a one-hit wonder, Kirchhelle reconstructs Harrison’s 46 years of campaigning and the rapid transformation of welfare politics and science during this time. Exacerbated by Harrison’s own actions, the decades after 1964 saw a polarisation of animalpolitics, a professionalisation of British activism, and the rise of a new animal welfare science. Harrison’s belief in incremental reform allowed her to form ties to leading scientists but alienated her from more radical  campaigners. Many of her 1964 demands gradually became part of mainstream politics. However, farm animal welfare’s increasing marketisation has also led to a relative divorce from the wider agenda of social improvement that Harrison once bore witness to. This is the first book to cast light on the interlinked histories of British farm animal welfare activism, science, and legislation. Its unique scope allows it to go beyond existing accounts of modern British animal welfare and will be of interest to those interested in animal welfare, environmentalism, and the behavioural sciences.

About the authors

Claas Kirchhelle (DPhil, Oxon 2015) is a medical historian and Lecturer at University College Dublin, with a Wellcome Trust University Award. His award-winning research and public engagement (Back from the Dead - Demystifying Antibiotics 2016-2017; Typhoidland 2020-2022) explore the interconnected evolution of modern science, politics, and the environment. His previous publications include Pyrrhic Progress. The History of Antibiotics in Anglo-American Food Production, which won the 2020 Turriano Prize.

Reviews

“For millions of farm animals, the world started to change for the better after Ruth Harrison wrote "Animal Machines" and laboured for many years on UK and International committees. Ruth always believed that there is only one biology and that differences between humans and other species are much smaller than many people thought. Claas Kirchelle explains beautifully how Ruth came to have such dramatic impact in Bearing Witness.” (Donald M. Broom, Professor Emeritus of Animal Welfare, University of Cambridge, UK) 

“A fascinating biography of a woman who changed the way the world treats farm animals, this book fills an important gap in the history of animal welfare.” (Marian Stamp Dawkins, CBE FRS, Professor of Ethology, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK) 

“By following Ruth Harrison’s career, Kirchhelle skilfully amalgamates biography with an analysis of British social, intellectual, and political life in the postwar years, charting the growing importance of animal welfare as a matter of concern. This book is a welcome and important contribution in an area that is ripe for sustained historical investigation.” (Dmitriy Myelnikov, Historian of Science and Animal Welfare, University of Manchester, UK)

Table of contents (13 chapters)

Table of contents (13 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-17

    Kirchhelle, Claas

  • Meet the Winstens: A ‘Downstart’ Anglo-Jewish family

    Pages 21-34

    Kirchhelle, Claas

  • Becoming an Activist: Ruth Harrison’s Turn to Animal Welfare

    Pages 35-48

    Kirchhelle, Claas

  • Between Physiology and Psychology—Ethology and Animal Feelings

    Pages 51-64

    Kirchhelle, Claas

  • Ideals and Intensification: Welfare Campaigns in a Nation of Animal Lovers

    Pages 65-78

    Kirchhelle, Claas

Buy this book

eBook  
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62792-8
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on link.springer.com
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62791-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Bearing Witness
Book Subtitle
Ruth Harrison and British Farm Animal Welfare (1920–2000)
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) if applicable and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-62792-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-62792-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-62791-1
Series ISSN
2634-6559
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXVI, 271
Number of Illustrations
4 b/w illustrations, 9 illustrations in colour
Topics