Animal rights in history

Jul 2012
3,404
.
#1
What type of legislation has existed in history regarding the treatment of animals? How often was there some type of protection for them? Is it mainly a modern development, or has been there some significant legislation in the past? I'm specifically talking about laws, not just cultural attitudes. Also, things like the sacred cows in India would be something different, since I'm mainly talking about animal rights from a point of view of recognizing them as being deserving of some sort of legal protection, rather than the target of religious consideration.
 

Salah

Forum Staff
Oct 2009
23,284
Maryland
#2
The only example that springs to mind is the medieval English ban on hunting in royal forests. And of course that wasn't instated to protect the animals, it was only meant to guarantee that nobody was killing the animals but the King.

Pretty much every reference to any particular animal species being shown special consideration in ancient history - that I am aware of - stems from religious taboos.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,699
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#3
In one Japanese Samurai movie I saw that during the reign of a certain Emperor it was forbidden to harm dogs (and other animals?). The whole thing was so ridiculous that one couldn't even deffent oneself against a pack of wild, violent dogs, if they attacked one. The consequences were very harsh. Since it was a movie, I'm not completely sure, if that's true, I never researched the matter.
 
Apr 2016
1,646
United Kingdom
#5
Animals had the right to a defence in medieval Europe, where some of them were seen as having human intelligence (or at least moral sense) and could be put on trial for capital crimes. Technically not animal rights in the sense we understand, but in their cultural context that's actually far better than us. When we put dogs down for attacking a rival, we don't tend to hear their side of the story ;)
 
Jan 2015
1,309
meo
#10
I'm mainly talking about animal rights from a point of view of recognizing them as being deserving of some sort of legal protection, rather than the target of religious consideration.
People of the old days were not that dumb and have so much free times to think of stupid things like that. Human right of the old days was a luxury thing, why could filthy animals get any of that? If you are an emperor's dog, you could probably get away even if you pisses on the chancellor's feet or takes a crap right in the middle of the court, especially if the emperor hates the chancellor.

All of the posts above are about religious view of animals. Cats are sacred, cows are sacred. Totem animals are sacred. Unicorns are sacred. Elves are sacred. Dragons are sacred. What is next? Water bear?
 
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