22nd July 1822. RSPCA.

The Dog Acts of 1906 and 1926 said if a dog attacked a sheep, goose, cattle, horse, ass, hen or pig the owner was responsible, but if it attacked a person he had to prove that the owner knew it was dangerous.


Today in 1822 legislation was enacted against cruelty to animals particularly against pit-ponies and cattle resulting from a group meeting in the ‘Old Slaughters’ Coffee House, London.

The outcome was the foundation of the SPCA, subsequently granted royal status by Queen Victoria in 1840. (1)

Richard Martin MP (‘Humanity Dick’) was a key promoter of the ‘Martin’s Act’ which gave cattle, horses and sheep a degree of protection against abusive treatment and constituted the first national animal protection in the world.(2)

Other animals were the concern of the SPCA which in 1833 went to Stamford, Lincs., to stamp out Bull-Running where the ‘sport’ was so strong that riots took place against any opposition requiring the Metropolitan Police and troops to intervene. Not until 1839 was the ‘running’ banned.

Bull-Running was popular throughout many areas including Tutbury, Staffs., near the Author’s home, a feature, ‘on the morrow of the Holy Day of The Assumption, 16th August, but as a result of SPCA action was soon to cease.

Pease’s Act of 1835 extended legislation to include abuse of dogs and other domestic animals and improve conditions in slaughter-houses, this at a time when bear-baiting, cock-fighting as well as bull-running were endemic.


Bull and Bear Arenas London c 1560.

Bull and Bear Arenas, London c 1560.

Whilst all animal welfare is important we must be aware of over-zealous action by Animal Rights where this might impinge on human rights and welfare.

(1) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals founded 16th June 1824.

(2) Martin was the leader of 22 other reformers including William Wilberforce MP and the Rev. Arthur Broome.



wikipedia.org/rspca/Logo Image.

wikipedia.org/cock_fighting and bull_running/Pic Image.

book of days.com/stamford-bull-running.





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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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