Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Book Shows Mark Twain an Early Advocate Against Animal Cruelty

A new book by author and Stanford professor Shelly Fisher Fishkin reveals that Mark Twain was an early advocate against animal cruelty. Called Mark Twain's Book of Animals, the book contains a number of his writing about animals. From the review:
Twain writes about cruelty to animals in a range of contexts, criticizing, for example, the insensitivity involved in the exploitation of animals for sport or entertainment. Twain may have been the first American to call attention to the brutality of the so-called sport of cockfighting, which he describes in graphic detail.

Several pieces express Twain’s contempt for the idea of hunting for sport, including a memorable passage from a sequel to Huckleberry Finn in which Huck shoots a bird and feels immediate remorse and shame (“Huck Shoots a Bird”). Another text in the book--from an unpublished piece of autobiographical writing -- makes it clear that Twain based this account on an experience he had himself as a child (“Assassin”).

Twain wrote a searing account of an English earl’s behavior on a buffalo hunt (in “Man’s Place in the Animal World”) and wrote an impassioned anti-bullfighting novella (A Horse’s Tale).
Interesting. The book also contains writings by Twain against vivisection.

You can buy it here.

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