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On the Geohistory of Justiciable Animals: Was Britain a Deviant Case?

  • Piers Beirne
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Green Criminology book series (PSGC)

Abstract

This chapter begins with the mysterious image of a cat hanged in 1554 London and investigates whether this particular hanging was similar in nature to the extensive medieval and early modern animal prosecutions in continental Europe reported on by the historian E.P. Evans. It examines the adequacy of Evans’ claims about the periodicity, the geography and the meaning of animal prosecutions. The existence of deodands notwithstanding, no evidence is found of any animal trials in the British Isles. The chapter warns that the power of medieval criminal law to punish animals has been usurped by the bureaucratic regulations attached to the circumstances in which animal shelters and animal control officers put animals to death.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Piers Beirne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CriminologyUniversity of Southern MainePortlandUSA

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