Cruelty To Animals: Queen Victoria


Nothing brutalizes people more than cruelty to animals, and to dogs, who are the companions of man, it is especially revolting. The Queen is sorry to say, that she thinks the English are inclined to be more cruel to animals than some other civilized nations are.

Queen Victoria 1819-1901

Letter to the Home Secretary 20 July 1868

The image, via Wikimedia,  is Sir Edwin Henry LandseerStudy of a Greyhound

The RSPCA says this about themselves:

We were founded in a London coffee shop in 1824. The men present knew they were creating the world’s first animal welfare charity, but they couldn’t have imagined the size and shape that the charity would become today. Back then we were the SPCA – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Royal patronage followed in 1837 and Queen Victoria gave permission to add the royal R in 1840, making us the RSPCA as we’re known worldwide today.

Meanwhile, the similar organisation for children was awarded royal patronage, but not invited to include the world ‘royal’ in its title:

The early days of child protection
Reverend Benjamin WaughThe late 19th century was a time of social deprivation and great hardship for many children. The Reverend George Staite summed up the inhumanity of the era in a letter to the Liverpool Mercury in 1881: “…whilst we have a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, can we not do something to prevent cruelty to children?”
Social attitudes made a very clear distinction between the public and private lives of Victorians, and even social reformers such as Lord Shaftesbury warned Staite against trying to protect children through legal means. He said:  “The evils you state are enormous and indisputable, but they are of so private, internal and domestic a nature as to be
beyond the reach of legislation.” However, times were changing.On 8 July 1884, The London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was established. Lord Shaftesbury was appointed as president and the Reverend Benjamin Waugh and Reverend Edward Rudolf as joint honorary secretaries. After witnessing the levels of deprivation and child cruelty in Greenwich, London where he lived, Waugh’s urgent priority was to draw public and government attention to the plight of children. By 1889 the London Society had 32 branches throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Each branch raised funds to support an inspector, who investigated reports of child abuse and neglect. At the 1889 annual general meeting the Society changed its name to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Queen Victoria became Patron and Waugh was appointed as director.

About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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