eCite Digital Repository

Civilizing Mission: animal protection in Hobart 1878-1914


Petrow, Stefan, Civilizing Mission: animal protection in Hobart 1878-1914, Britain and the World, 5, (1) pp. 69-95. ISSN 2043-8567 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Edinburgh University Press

DOI: doi:10.3366/brw.2012.0035


According to environmental historian Alfred Crosby, European immigrants arrived in the New World accompanied by ‘a grunting, lowing, neighing, crowing, chirping, snarling, buzzing, self-replicating and world-altering avalanche’. Animals helped Europeans conquer foreign lands, but soon they were treated as violently and brutally as native peoples. Some colonists reacted against this ill-treatment and took seriously the injunction by Lord Erskine that animals were not under ‘the dominion of man’, but were ‘a dominion in trust’. All over the British Empire animal lovers followed the great humanitarian example set by Britain in 1824 and eventually established Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Although Tasmania was one of the first Australian colonies to pass anti-cruelty legislation in 1837, this paper will focus on the activities of the Tasmanian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from its formation in July 1878. The Tasmanian Society was influenced by the work and publications of its British progenitor and was formed to teach southern Tasmanians ‘to treat kindly the dumb creatures which ministered so much to man’s uses and enjoyments’. The Society appointed an Inspector to investigate cases of abuse and persuade by private remonstrance owners of animals to stop their mistreatment. The society enforced the law in extreme cases of cruelty or to punish recalcitrant owners. The society in effect gave animals a voice in society and in court. This paper assesses the work of the society in its endeavours to protect all animals, especially horses which were widely used for work and transport. The paper also considers attempts to evade and oppose the society inside and outside the legal system.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:British history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Petrow, Stefan (Professor Stefan Petrow)
ID Code:76615
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2012-03-08
Last Modified:2018-03-16
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page