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

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


This chapter studies the post-war evolution of British animal campaigning. It shows how the 1950s and 1960s saw long-standing concerns about cruelty to animals and wartime tropes of Britain as a Nation of Animal Lovers merge with concerns about the impacts of new intensive animal husbandry systems. So-called factory farms were not ubiquitous. However, in popular discourse, the “factory farm” increasingly functioned as a dystopian sociotechnical imaginary of new and alien technological threats to the English countryside, animal welfare, “British values,” consumer health, and the environment.

Campaigning for animal protection had an illustrious history in Britain. Starting in the late eighteenth century, an increasing number of Britons had called for the improved treatment of animals. Founded in 1824, the RSPCA was the first organised body for animal protection and had influential supporters in parliament and society. During the second half of the nineteenth century, antivivisectionist and anti-cruelty campaigns commanded considerable public support.Footnote 1 As numerous authors have emphasised, the prominence of British debates about the proper treatment of animals was exceptional.Footnote 2 It was also reflected in a series of laws centring on animal protection. Motivated by humanitarian and disease concerns, a series of Parliamentary Acts had introduced measures to protect animals in transit from the 1870s onwards. In 1911, the Protection of Animals Act consolidated existing rules. Restricted to public spaces, the 1911 Act was intended to prevent wilful physical cruelty to animals. However, enforcement of the 1911 Act and of the enhanced provisions for animal slaughter (1954 and 1958) was lackluster. Meanwhile, concerned RSPCA inspectors were not allowed to enter premises against an owner’s will.Footnote 3 As a consequence, relatively few successful convictions resulted from the Act.Footnote 4

Despite such legislative gaps and criticism by humanitarian campaigners like Henry Salt (see Chap. 2), the trope of being a ‘Nation of Animal Lovers’ became increasingly popular in Britain. As described by Hilda Kean, this alleged national trait was reinforced by British charities and officials during the two world wars, when campaigns emphasised civilised British compassion as opposed to German cruelty. ‘British’ character traits were also superimposed onto national animal breeds. Although several hundreds of thousands of cats, dogs, and other pets were euthanised at the outset of the war in 1939, most owners decided to spare their pets’ lives. The following years saw campaigns emphasise either Britons’ compassionate treatment of animals or British animals’ heroism in the face of the mechanised Nazi onslaught.Footnote 5

Following the war, the ‘Nation of Animal Lovers’ trope strengthened the social and political standing of animal charities like the RSPCA. However, in what can be described as “organisational capture,”Footnote 6 the Society’s establishment status and close ties to Britain’s elite also decreased its willingness to confront authorities. Similar to arrangements between agricultural officials and the National Farmers Union (NFU), many aspects of RSPCA animal protection were quasi-corporatist:Footnote 7 the Society was granted limited powers like inspection rights and was regularly consulted when it came to developing new regulations. In return, RSPCA leaders were expected to create acceptance for or moderate criticism of official politics. Traditional forms of lobbying via parliamentary channels, letters to the Times, and backroom influencing were acceptable—instigating public mass-protests or using new forms of direct action was not.Footnote 8

During the 1950s and 1960s, two issues increasingly strained corporatist welfare arrangements: the first was already entrenched and rising RSPCA grassroots protest against ‘field sports’ like hare coursing, stag carting, and fox hunting with hounds—pastimes enjoyed by the RSPCA’s royal patrons and some of its elite members. The second was the perceived rise of the ‘factory farm.’Footnote 9

Starting in the interwar period, some British farmers had attempted to compete with Danish bacon imports by experimenting with new kinds of intensive indoor pig production. However, a combination of foreign competition, disease pressure, and laissez-faire policies had made many endeavours fail.Footnote 10 Despite growing government involvement in agricultural production, the Second World War saw a significant decline in British animal numbers. The official wartime emphasis on caloric output meant that farmers focused on plant instead of animal production. With the exception of the dairy sector, British animal production fell dramatically.Footnote 11 After 1945, the situation did not improve immediately. Harvest failures, wartime destruction, the sudden termination of the American Lend Lease agreement, and enforced sterling-dollar convertibility left Britain chronically short of cash and made feedstuff imports undesirable. Bogged down by its military commitments in Europe and in its colonies, Britain prolonged production controls and rationing until 1954.Footnote 12

Following the end of rationing, things changed rapidly. Having profited from wartime price guarantees and having been encouraged to expand production by the 1947 and 1957 Agriculture Acts, British farmers invested heavily in new technologies.Footnote 13 Consumers’ hunger for meat also fuelled an expansion of livestock production.Footnote 14 Whereas Britain produced 762,000 tonnes of meat in 1947, total meat production more than doubled to 1,713,000 tonnes in 1960.Footnote 15 Described by Abigail Woods, many initial production gains in pig farming were achieved within existing outdoor or hybrid indoor-outdoor systems.Footnote 16 However, in the poultry sector, a growing number of producers adopted new intensive indoor facilities, designed to guarantee the year-round production of animals via optimised environments and feed regimes. Declining feedstuff costs, consumer demand, and improved disease control facilitated a rapid increase in production and concentration processes within industry.Footnote 17 By the early 1960s, 35 per cent of British laying stock were located in battery cages and 50 per cent were produced in indoor deep litter houses. Two-thirds of broiler chickens were kept indoors in units of more than 20,000 birds.Footnote 18 Inspired by the poultry industry, cheap grain, and continental success stories, new intensive production methods were also trialled in pig and calf production.Footnote 19

Although Karen Sayer and Abigail Woods have shown that ‘factory farming’ was far from ubiquitous around 1960,Footnote 20 the changes wrought by existing intensive animal production facilities and the likelihood of further intensification appeared dramatic to many contemporaries. In stark contrast to popular images of bucolic countryside pastures, animals in intensive operations were confined in high-density settings and bred and fattened for maximum productivity. While some commentators hoped that efficient production would prevent Malthusian scenarios of global overpopulation and political instability,Footnote 21 others began to question the wider logic of intensification. Popular criticism of intensive animal production had three interwoven strands: (1) a first strand focused on potential personal and environmental health hazards resulting from new intensive methods and technologies like antibiotics and pesticides; (2) a second strand focused on the physical and emotional welfare of intensively produced animals; (3) a third strand highlighted the ‘alien’ nature of ‘factory farms’ and its threat to British values and ‘the countryside.’ Over time, the emerging dystopian “sociotechnical imaginary”Footnote 22 of the ‘factory farm’ would not only mobilise significant public and consumer protest but also lead to significant changes in animal policymaking (Chaps. 79) and open the door for a new discipline of welfare science (Chap. 10).

In the case of health and environmental concerns, the interwar period had triggered a gradual integration and formalisation of British ‘anti-chemical,’ vegetarian, and other dietary reform movements. Inspired by developments in continental Europe as well as by work on composting and ‘natural’ diets by agricultural scientist Albert Howard and physician Robert McCarrison, a small group of British landowners and consumers began to experiment with ‘non-artificial’ forms of nutrition and food production. Founded in 1946 by Eve Balfour, niece of former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, the Soil Association dedicated itself to developing non-intensive forms of organic agriculture.Footnote 23 Although the initial reach of this elite organisation was limited, celebrity endorsements, food scares, and 1950s’ books like Franklin Bicknell’s The English Complaint (1952)Footnote 24 and Doris Grant’s Housewives Beware (1958)Footnote 25 spread the message of healthy ‘natural’ food and dangerous intensive production methods.Footnote 26

Concerns about intensive farming’s health hazards reached a peak around 1960. In that year, future Pulitzer Prize winner William Longgood published The Poisons in Your Food.Footnote 27 In his book, Longgood warned consumers about the invisible toxins and carcinogens contaminating their food. According to Longgood, intensive technologies in plant and animal production had turned consumers’ shopping carts into a toxic ensemble. Despite being attacked as “an all-time high in ‘bloodthirsty pen-pushing,’”Footnote 28 Longgood’s 1960 publication became a bestseller and coincided with the opening of the British Soil Association’s first Wholefood store for organic produce in London.Footnote 29 Two years later, American biologist Rachel Carson heightened concerns about the fallout of the ‘chemical revolution’ in her iconic Silent Spring. Carson’s book—which appeared in Britain in 1963—fused long-standing concerns about chemical pesticides’ and insecticides’ environmental impact with more intimate concerns about personal health. Now often remembered for its powerful attack on DDT, Silent Spring was wary of an overall increase in agricultural and environmental chemical use. For Carson, intensive production systems’ reliance on chemical helpers was facilitating the unchecked spread of carcinogens and toxic substances into citizens’ environment, food, and bodies.Footnote 30

Carson and Longgood’s views were part of a rapidly expanding sea of environmentalist-inspired health warnings. In 1960, British physician Franklin Bicknell rehashed earlier warnings about unnatural production methods in his Chemicals in Food and in Farm Produce.Footnote 31 Three months ahead of Silent Spring, the American anarchist and libertarian socialist Murray Bookchin published similar warnings about modern agriculture’s environmental and health hazards under the pseudonym Lewis Herber in Our Synthetic Environment. According to Bookchin, the agricultural mass use of chemicals was alienating humans from the natural world. Once again, the intensive farm featured prominently as a dangerous site of environmental and nutritional contamination.Footnote 32 Similar opinions were voiced in the British media. Commenting on the 1962 decision by the Court of Appeal to deny intensive broiler houses the status of agricultural buildings, the Daily Mail noted: “Now we know what the broiler chicken really is—not a creature of the farm but a product of the factory.”Footnote 33

Popular concerns about the ‘unnatural’ health hazards of intensive food production fused with rising uneasiness about new systems’ effects on animals themselves. While most agricultural commentators supported intensive production,Footnote 34 some veterinarians and farmers had since the 1950s warned about the detrimental effects of ‘artificial’ practices and treating animals like ‘machines.’ However, even sceptical producers rarely called for bans or regulation. Instead, they relied on a theory of natural self-regulation, which stated that pushing animals too hard would result in lower productivity, economic losses, and production adjustments. Described by Abigail Woods, this equation of animal productivity—thrift—with adequate welfare failed to satisfy a growing number of non-agricultural observers.Footnote 35

The introduction of continental veal production systems proved particularly contentious. In 1960, major British newspapers reported that the new intensive systems produced ‘white’ meat by inducing anaemia in young calves SeeSeeVeal with diets deficient in iron, by rearing animals in total darkness in small wood crates, and by bleeding them.Footnote 36 Resulting outrage sparked an inconclusive official enquiry by the Parliamentary Animal Welfare Group, which criticised practices as inhumane but could not legally fault them.Footnote 37 The group’s findings reinforced concerns about existing welfare legislation: relying on self-regulation via thrift and the prosecution of individual cases of excessive cruelty was not enough if economically viable systems like intensive veal production were inherently inhumane. Outrage over veal production also focused public attention on other intensive practices like battery systems for hens and the long-distance transport of live animals. Between December 1962 and January 1963, three consecutive issues of the Daily Mirror attacked stalling legislative reform regarding the long-distance trade of male bobby calves from the West Country and Scotland for fattening or slaughter in the South of England. According to the Mirror and the RSPCA, transported calves were never fed, suffered multiple instances of physical abuse, and frequently died before reaching abattoirs or markets.Footnote 38

Reacting to rising concerns about so-called broiler systems, Labour MP John Dugdale, former private secretary to Clement Attlee and relative of ex-Minister of Agriculture Thomas Dugdale, introduced the 1960 Animals (control of intensified methods of food production) Bill. Dugdale’s private bill attempted to ensure humane living conditions by regulating the construction of new buildings to give animals more space.Footnote 39 The Bill was supported by the inter-party Parliamentary Animal Welfare Group.Footnote 40 However, without government support, it failed to secure a second hearing. The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF ) objected to the Dugdale Bill because of the “extreme difficulty of trying to regulate the detailed conditions under which farm animals are to be kept.”Footnote 41 In a sign of how polarised welfare debates were becoming, MAFF officials successfully lobbied against a more general welfare enquiry “because of the unlikelihood that generally acceptable conclusions would ever be reached on a subject which generates so much emotion.”Footnote 42

The ‘emotionality’ of welfare concerns was exacerbated by intensive methods’ alleged foreignness.Footnote 43 Fusing wartime tropes of British compassion with Kulturkritik of alienating technology, contemporaries highlighted the foreign origins of intensive ‘American’ broiler systems, ‘Dutch’ white veal, and ‘German’ pig sweat boxes.Footnote 44 Intensive systems were presented as a threat to ‘core’ British values like ‘freedom’ and ‘decency.’ In 1960, the Archbishop of Canterbury considered the increasing adoption of Dutch intensive calf production an “absolute horror” and a “blow to decent feeling.”Footnote 45 Commentators in the Daily Mail joined him in calling the alien systems unchristian:

No one can doubt that, given the choice, the calves would opt for the green fields, the sunlight, and the winds of heaven, even though the meadow was sparse and the weather unfriendly. They love their freedom too. (…). The real indictment of the ‘broiler’ system is that it is so unnatural that it outrages ordinary human feelings. (…) there is a moral gulf between mechanising a plough and mechanising an animal. (…) we shall all lose something of mind and spirit if we begin to abandon immemorial pastoral ways and scenes merely, for example, to please the consumers of veal and ham pies.Footnote 46

In Parliament, future Labour Minister of Agriculture, Thomas Frederick Peart, reacted to the failure of the 1960 Dugdale bill by stressing the ‘British’ values of kindness and tolerance: “there might be some people who thought more of animals than of human beings but British people were kind and tolerant. He had always found when abroad that standards of conduct were not comparable with those existing in Britain in animal welfare.”Footnote 47 According to the Daily Mail, 90 per cent of readers opposed veal calf production because they defined “‘cruelty’ as something more than pain, starvation or persistent bad treatment. The ‘cruelty’ to these calves lies in the deprivation of their natural freedom.” Footnote 48

The fact that intensive production took place in ‘the countryside’ as a highly stylised seat of upper-middle class English identity further heightened the perceived moral and physical threat of ‘alien’ factory farms.Footnote 49 Coinciding with a boom of countryside writing and motorised tourism, protests against factory systems blurred with protests against urban encroachment and attempts to preserve rural heritage in the form of hedgerows, country houses, and traditional ways of life.Footnote 50 In 1962, Punch satirised the visit of city girl Linda from Walham Green to Uncle Henry at Jollity Farm, a “burly man with a bundle of £5 notes thrust carelessly into his hatband,” whose farm specialises in destroying British countryside hedgerows and killing woodpigeons:

By the end of three days Linda suspected that her uncle was a god (…). ‘Uncle Henry’, she suggested as she trotted behind him to check the day’s takings, ‘why don’t you make square hens? Then you could pack four to a cage.’ And how proud she was when Uncle Henry patted her head and said bless his buttons but he might have a try yet.Footnote 51

Looking at the US, the Daily Mail warned that the “transition from farm to factory, and the substitution of the natural by the artificial” would lead to the “shriek of the factory whistle” replacing the traditional “call of the land.”Footnote 52

Critics’ portrayal of intensive animal protection as a systemic threat to health, the environment, animal welfare, British values, and ‘the countryside’ caused increasing tensions with producer interests. Faced with concerns about dewy-eyed calves, the British National Farmers’ Union (NFU) responded to cruelty allegations with articles such as “Broiler Veal Not Cruel—Says NFU,”Footnote 53 “Calves don’t suffer—Mr. Hare,”Footnote 54 and “Cruel to their Kind?”Footnote 55 Agricultural commentators stressed that poorly treated animals would not be profitable and attempted to defend intensive systems with expert studies and references to allegedly high production standards.Footnote 56 In comparison to the “pot-bellied” pre-war animals “with staring coats, housed in filthy hovels,”Footnote 57 intensive systems offered a much better life. According to Farmers Weekly columnist A.G. Street:

The charge that such intensive methods of fattening are cruel springs from the inevitable difference between the definition of ‘cruelty’ according to whether one is country or town bred. To the former—and especially the farmer—cruelty is ill-treatment, especially to the extent that the health and thriving of the animal is adversely affected. But the latter usually add to this what they call lack of consideration. Rightly or wrongly—I think wrongly—townsfolk are apt to invest dumb animals with human minds and hopes and emotions.Footnote 58

Farming organisations were not the only ones to experience pressure in the face of new welfare demands. Rising criticism of intensive farming also challenged traditional animal protection bodies like the RSPCA. During the 1950s, the Society had focused on preventing individual instances of cruelty like the exploitation of circus animals or the so-called ritual slaughter of un-stunned animals. More systematic considerations of animal welfare in new agricultural production systems had not been a prominent campaigning focus.Footnote 59 Starting in the 1960s, rising grassroots opposition to hunting and agricultural intensification would lead to an adaptation of campaigning goals, criticism of the Society’s elite leadership, and a growing fragmentation of ties between the RSPCA and Whitehall. Studying RSPCA Council minutes reveals the growing intensity of internal and external struggles.

The issue of so-called field sports (hunting for pleasure) proved particularly contentious. As described by Angela Cassidy, protests against hunting charismatic animals have a long history in Britain. The early twentieth century had seen an increase of popular opposition to ‘cruel’ forms of hunting. Protests had significant class dimensions. While middle- and lower-class hunting of badgers and otters steadily decreased, fox hunting with hounds became increasingly popular among Britain’s upper class. Opposing elite interests posed challenges for establishment charities like the RSPCA. In 1924, internal RSPCA tensions about upper-class hunting practices led to a schism. Disagreeing with the Society’s decision not to publicly oppose ‘field sports,’ disgruntled members formed the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS ). Alarmed by LACS activities and growing opposition among RSPCA members, hunting and anti-poaching societies formed the British Field Sports Society (BFSS ) as a counter lobby in 1932.Footnote 60

After dying down during the war, conflicts over ‘field sports’ resurfaced after 1945. Although an attempt to outlaw fox hunting with hounds failed in 1949, the Scott Henderson report on Cruelty to Wild Animals (1951) resulted in a ban of mechanical gin traps in 1954. In the same year, the Protection of Birds Act provided an important legislative template “against any person who ‘kills, injures or takes’ wild animals.”Footnote 61 Invigorated by growing public support for conservationist and environmentalist causes, LACS activists disrupted the RSPCA’s 1961 annual general meeting with calls for more decisive action against ‘blood sports’ like foxhunting with hounds, before being removed by the police. The RSPCA’s leadership reacted by rapidly expelling protesters from the Society because of their “highly undignified conduct” and instigation of “rowdyism.”Footnote 62 However, underlying problems refused to disappear.Footnote 63

In addition to member protests against ‘field sports,’ RSPCA leaders also had to find a way of addressing growing concerns about intensive farming. The RSPCA had already warned in 1959 about the import of Dutch veal systems to Britain.Footnote 64 In 1960, campaigners raised the issue of calves in “broiler houses” at the Society’s annual general meeting and demanded that the RSPCA “‘strangle’ the practice in its infancy.”Footnote 65 Bowing to popular pressure, the RSPCA sent a letter to MAFF “urging the discontinuance of broiler and battery houses, and asking that so long as these systems persist, all battery produced eggs should be appropriately stamped” as well as fowl meat produced in “broiler plant’ systems.”Footnote 66 In the same year, the RSPCA Council supported John Dugdale’s Animal Bill and subsequent efforts to regulate animal transits.Footnote 67 Senior Council members like RSPCA vice-chairman Dr Robert Rattray also published pamphlets and provided information for media articles expressing concern about intensive systems and animal health.Footnote 68

However, the Society’s leadership was hesitant to depart from established protest practices—even though these proved inadequate to address the new welfare challenges posed by intensive farms. In 1960, RSPCA veterinary inspections had revealed no offences in intensive facilities, which would have been prosecutable with the 1911 Act.Footnote 69 The Council also felt that it was impossible to use existing legal instruments to oppose the spread of new intensive calf systems.Footnote 70 Rather than jeopardise ties to MAFF with vocal public protest, the Society relied on more respectable forms of lobbying like parliamentary questions and the high-society connections of its elite leadership to push for legal reform. In public, early RSPCA opposition to intensive farming was couched mostly in moral rather than in ethological, health, or environmental terms. In 1961, RSPCA pamphlets attacked the “intensive exploitation of food animals”: “It is the moral wrong in this practice to which we object. It is wrong to treat living things solely with a view to making money out of them and without reasonable consideration for them.”Footnote 71 Dissatisfied with what they interpreted as overly cautious campaigning, more radical RSPCA members began to call for vocal wholesale opposition to agricultural intensification.Footnote 72

Intensive animal production systems had thus already become focal points of public protest by the time Ruth Harrison started writing Animal Machines : while some critics stressed systems’ alleged dangers for human, environment, and animal health, others stressed their ‘alien’ origins and detrimental effects on animal welfare, British values, and ‘the countryside.’ It was also becoming clear that existing case-by-case legal mechanisms for animal protection were no longer adequate to deal with the systemic welfare issues raised by intensive animal production. Dissatisfied with government politics and cautious campaigning by organisations like the RSPCA, a growing number of activists began to demand a radical overhaul of welfare politics. What was needed was an event to tie together the disparate strands of contemporary protest movements and galvanise sufficient societal pressure for reform. The runaway success of Animal Machines in March 1964 achieved just that.


  1. 1.

    Kean, Animal Rights, 35–135.

  2. 2.

    See, for example, Kean, Animal Rights, 1–12; and Roscher, Königreich, 11–15.

  3. 3.

    Woods, “From Cruelty to Welfare,” 14–15; Neil Pemberton and Michael Worboys. Rabies in Britain: Dogs, Disease and Culture, 18302000 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 40–101; Webster, “Ruth Harrison—Tribute,” 5.

  4. 4.

    The British National Archives [in the following TNA] MAF 260/351 Part II - Protection of Animals Act, enclosed in, Background Notes and Possible Supplementary Questions, enclosed in: Minute ES Virgo to Mr Hutchison (18.03.1964), 1.

  5. 5.

    Kean, Animal Rights, 166–179; 191–197; Roscher, Königreich, 242–243; Hilda Kean, The Great Cat and Dog Massacre. The Real Story of World War Two’s Unknown Tragedy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), Chapters three, six, and seven; for a broader discussion of animals and nationalist character assignations see: Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate. The English and Other Creatures in Victorian England (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1987) and Sandra Swart, “The other citizens: Nationalism and animals,” in Hilda Kean and Philip Howell (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History (London: Routledge, 2018), 31–52.

  6. 6.

    John Abraham, Science, Politics and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Controversy and Bias in Drug Regulation (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 22–23.

  7. 7.

    Michael Winter, “Corporatism and agriculture in the UK: the case of the milk marketing board,” Sociologia Ruralis 24/2 (1984), 106–119; Graham Cox, Philip Lowe, and Michael Winter, “From State Direction to Self-Regulation: The Historical Development of Corporatism in British Agriculture,” Policy and Politics 14/4 (1986), 475–490; Michael Winter, Rural Politics: Policies for Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment (London: Routledge, 1996), 3, 19–21, 100–103, 115.

  8. 8.

    Roscher, Königreich, 242–45.

  9. 9.

    Roscher, Königreich, 231–242, 290–291, 294–297.

  10. 10.

    Abigail Woods, “Rethinking the History of Modern Agriculture: British Pig Production, C. 1910–65,” Twentieth Century British History 23/2 (2012), 168.

  11. 11.

    John Martin, The Development of Modern Agriculture. British Farming since 1931 (London et al.: Macmillan & St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 6–8; 10; 23; 38; 51; 54.

  12. 12.

    Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Austerity in Britain: Rationing, Control and Consumption 19391955 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 73.

  13. 13.

    B. A. Holderness, British Agriculture since 1945 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985), 12–16; 21.

  14. 14.

    H. J. H. Macfie and Herbert L. Meiselman, Food Choice Acceptance and Consumption (London: Blackie Academic & Professional, 1996), 377.

  15. 15.

    Europe: Meat Output Statistics, in: “International Historical Statistics” (London: Palgrave Macmillan, April 2013).

  16. 16.

    Woods, “Rethinking”.

  17. 17.

    Andrew Godley and Bridget Williams, “Democratizing luxury and the contentious “invention of the technological chicken” in Britain,” Business History Review 83/2 (2009), 267–290; Andrew Godley, “The emergence of agribusiness in Europe and the development of the Western European broiler chicken industry, 1945 to 1973,” Agricultural History Review 62/2 (2014), 315–336; Alessandra Tessari and Andrew Godley, “Made in Italy. Made in Britain. Quality, brands and innovation in the European poultry market, 1950–80,” Business History 56/7 (2014), 1057–1083.

  18. 18.

    Woods, “Cruelty to Welfare,” 16.

  19. 19.

    Woods, “Cruelty to Welfare,” 16; Woods, “Rethinking”.

  20. 20.

    Sayer, “Animal Machines,” 482–83, Woods, “Rethinking”.

  21. 21.

    G. R. H. Nugent, “The Twentieth-Century Hen”, Times, 30.07.1951, 5; “Pigs Fattened By Antibiotics”, Times, 01.12.1952, 3; Anthony Lisle, “Untouched by Hand”, Farmers Weekly, 06.07.1962, 99; Kirchhelle, Pyrrhic Progress, 79–80.

  22. 22.

    Jasanoff and Sang-Hyun, “Sociotechnical Imaginaries,” 189–196.

  23. 23.

    R. More-Colyer, “Towards ‘Mother Earth’: Jorian Jenks, Organicism, the Right and the British Union of Fascists,” Journal of Contemporary History (2004), 353–371; Philip Conford and Patrick Holden, “The Soil Association,” in William Lockeretz (ed.), Organic Farming: An International History (Wallingford, UK: CABI, 2001), 187–192; Philip Conford, The Origins of the Organic Movement (Edinburgh: Floris, 2001), 83–92, 146–151.

  24. 24.

    Franklin Bicknell, The English Complaint or Your Fatigue and its Cure (London: William Heinemann, 1952).

  25. 25.

    Doris Grant, Housewives Beware (London: Faber and Faber, 1958).

  26. 26.

    Kirchhelle, Pyrrhic Progress, 80–83.

  27. 27.

    William Longgood, The Poisons in Your Food (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960).

  28. 28.

    William J. Darby, “Review, the Poisons in Your Food by William Longgood,” Science, 131/3405 (1960), 979.

  29. 29.

    Craig Sams, “Introduction,” in Simon Wright (ed), Handbook of Organic Food Processing and Production (Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media 1994), 12.

  30. 30.

    Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1962); organisations like the Audubon Society had been warning about the use of DDT for years; Simon, Ddt. Kulturgeschichte Einer Chemischen Verbindung (Basel: Christian Merian Verlag, 1999), 14–21, Edmund Russell, War and Nature. Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 204–23.

  31. 31.

    Bicknell, Chemicals in Food.

  32. 32.

    Lewis [Pseudonym for Murray Bookchin] Herber, Our Synthetic Environment (New York: Knopf, 1962).

  33. 33.

    “The Farm Factory”, Daily Mail, 04.07.1962, 1; see also: Clifford Selly, “Chicken Farm Or Factory?”, Observer, 08.03.1959, 3.

  34. 34.

    See, for example, parallel defences of intensive production in the Daily Mail, Alan Exley, “Twelve Week Wonder”, Daily Mail, 15.04.1959, 11–12; A.G. Street , “How I hate the chicken”, Daily Mail, 09.04.1960, 11; Peter Black, “Conversation with a broiler.” Daily Mail, 16.08.1963, 6; “On a Yorkshire rabbit farm. A parallel to the broiler industry”, Guardian, 25.11.1960, 18.

  35. 35.

    Abigail Woods, “From cruelty to welfare,” 17.

  36. 36.

    “Calves ‘Reared in Broiler Houses’”, Guardian, 16.06.1960, 1; “Calves’ Growth Encouraged By Draining Blood”, Guardian, 30.04.1960, 2; “Comment: The Fatted Calves”, Daily Mail, 16.07.1960, 1.

  37. 37.

    “Calf-rearing for veal”, Guardian, 21.07.1960, 5.

  38. 38.

    “This sad, sad business’, Daily Mirror, 31.12.1962, 10–11; “The Evidence about this sad, sad business”, Daily Mirror, 01.01.1963, 10–11; “This sad, sad business”, Daily Mirror, 02.01.1962, 10–11.

  39. 39.

    “Animals (Control of Intensified Methods of Food Production),” Hansard Vol. 630 (23.11.1960); Woods, “Cruelty to Welfare,” 16.

  40. 40.

    “Animals (Control of Intensified Methods of Food Production),” Hansard Vol. 630 (23.11.1960).

  41. 41.

    TNA MAF 293/169 Minute: Mr Hutchison to ES Virgo (05.03.1964).

  42. 42.

    TNA MAF 293/169 Minute: Mr Hutchison to ES Virgo (05.03.1964).

  43. 43.

    Links between welfare and nationalist discourse remain strong; see ongoing work on Brexit and animal welfare campaigning by Reuben Message.

  44. 44.

    “Calves’ Growth Encouraged By Draining Blood”, Guardian, 30.04.1960, 2; Elspeth Huxley, Brave New Victuals. Are We All Being Slowly Poisoned? A Terrifying Enquiry into the Techniques of Modern Food Production (London: Panther Books [1965] 1967), 27–29; RSPCA Archives, CM/57 RSPCA Council Minutes, Meeting of the Council, 25.07.1968, 2.

  45. 45.

    “Comment: The Fatted Calves”, Daily Mail, 16.07.1960, 1.

  46. 46.

    “Comment: The Fatted Calves”, Daily Mail, 16.07.1960, 1.

  47. 47.

    “Calves’ growth encouraged ‘by draining blood’”, Guardian, 30.04.1960, 2; see also: “Calves ‘Reared on Broiler System’”, Daily Mail, 17.05.1960, 11.

  48. 48.

    “Editorial: The Calves Again”, Daily Mail, 23.07.1960, 1.

  49. 49.

    David Lowenthal, “British National Identity and the English landscape,” Rural History 2/2 (1991), 205–230.

  50. 50.

    Sophia Davis, “Secluded Suffolk: Countryside Writing, c. 1930–1960,” Island Thinking (2019), 31–71; Malcolm Chase, “This is no claptrap: this is our heritage,” in Christopher Shaw and Malcolm Chase (eds.), The Imagined Past: History and Nostalgia (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989), 128–146; Catherine Brace, “Looking back: the Cotswolds and English national identity, c. 1890–1950,” Journal of Historical Geography 25/4 (1999), 502–516; Veldman, Fantasy, 215–219; Sean Nixon, “Trouble at the National Trust: Post-war Recreation, the Benson Report and the Rebuilding of a Conservation Organization in the 1960s,” Twentieth Century British History 26/4 (2015), 529–550; Cassidy, Vermin, 166–167; Sayer, “Animal Machines,” 488, 495–496.

  51. 51.

    Angela Milne, “A Plague of Pigmy Shrews”, Punch, 30.05.1962, 820–821.

  52. 52.

    “The Farm Factory”, Daily Mail, 04.07.1962, 1.

  53. 53.

    “Broiler Veal Not Cruel—says NFU”, FW, 22.07.1960, 38.

  54. 54.

    “Calves don’t suffer—Mr Hare”, FW, 29.07.1960, 40.

  55. 55.

    A.G. Street, “Cruel to their Kind?”, FW, 30.09.1960, 83.

  56. 56.

    J. Sandison, “What Suits Calves…”, FW, 29.07.1960, 62–63; “Broiler Veal Not Cruel—says NFU”, FW, 22.07.1960, 38

  57. 57.

    A.G. Street, “Cruel to their Kind?”, FW, 30.09.1960, 83.

  58. 58.

    A.G. Street, “Cruel to their Kind?”, FW, 30.09.1960, 83.

  59. 59.

    RSPCA Archives, CM/ 50–54, Committee meetings 1954–1960; campaigning was mostly limited to pamphlets and newspaper articles; “Battery Eggs: RSPCA Fights Hen-Cruelty”, Daily Mail, 16.07.1953, 1.

  60. 60.

    Cassidy, Vermin, 164–165; in many ways, LACS continued earlier protest by Henry Salt’s Humanitarian League, Tichelar, Blood Sports, Chapter 4; Callum C. McKenzle, “The Origins of the British field sports society,” The International Journal of the History of Sport 13/2 (1996), 177–191.

  61. 61.

    Quoted according to Cassidy, Vermin, 167.

  62. 62.

    RSPCA Archives, CM/54, Meeting of the Council, 20.07.1961, 1; see also: “New Drive against fox hunting”, Guardian, 18.06.1961, 11.

  63. 63.

    “Expulsions from the RSPCA”, Guardian, 07.08.1961, 9; “Row over foxhunting at RSPCA meeting”, Guardian, 15.06.1962, 12.

  64. 64.

    RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, RSPCA Annual Report for 1960, 218.

  65. 65.

    “Calves ‘reared in broiler houses’”, Guardian, 16.06.1960, 1.

  66. 66.

    RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, RSPCA Annual Report for 1960, 221.

  67. 67.

    “Animals (Control of Intensified Methods of Food Production),” Hansard Vol. 630, 23.11.1960; RSPCA Archives, CM/55, Meeting of the Council, 21.02.1963, 3.

  68. 68.

    “Battery Eggs: RSPCA Fights Hen-Cruelty”, Daily Mail, 16 July 1953, [1] See also: RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, RSPCA Annual Report for 1961, 231.

  69. 69.

    “Calves ‘reared in broiler houses’”, Guardian, 16.06.1960, 1.

  70. 70.

    RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, Annual Report for 1960, 220.

  71. 71.

    RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, RSPCA Annual Report for 1961, 231; see also: RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, Part 2, Extracts from RSPCA Minutes relating to intensive farming, 13.03.1963.

  72. 72.

    RSPCA Archives, IF/25/1 RSPCA Intensive Farming 2 of 2, Part 2, Extracts from RSPCA Minutes relating to intensive farming, 19.01.1961, item 8.

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Kirchhelle, C. (2021). Ideals and Intensification: Welfare Campaigns in a Nation of Animal Lovers. In: Bearing Witness. Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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