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Property, Pain and Pastoral Power: The Advent of Animal Welfare in the Review of the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act, 1947-1965

Duxbury, Catherine (2019) 'Property, Pain and Pastoral Power: The Advent of Animal Welfare in the Review of the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act, 1947-1965.' Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 16 (2). 3 - 33. ISSN 1948-352X

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In this paper, I analyze the first post-war review of the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act, entitled the Littlewood Enquiry, 1947-1965. The Act regulated the practice of vivisection in Britain through the licensing of scientists and research establishments. It was during this review that experimental scientists, politicians and bureaucrats started to consider the welfare of nonhuman experimental animals, including recognizing that nonhuman laboratory animals can experience psychological as well as physical pain. This consideration of nonhuman animals as feeling beings was a turning point in animal experimentation law. It was the first time welfarist discourses became effusively subsumed into jurisprudential and scientific concerns, if not necessarily ubiquitously in practice (yet). I analyze this emergence of scientific-political discourses of care, and use Michel Foucault notion of Pastoral Power to demonstrate that a strategic shift in laboratory human-animal relations was necessary if animal experimentation was to continue. My argument is twofold: firstly, that pastoral power operated under the guise of animal welfare during the enquiry. Secondly, the property status of nonhuman animals helped to mediate and reinforce the relationship between this form of pastoralism (welfare) and the discourses circulating concerning nonhuman animals’ experiences of pain, their care, and treatment.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 18:48
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2020 10:15

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