Animal Rights: A History

Thomas Wentworth

The Deeper Minds Of All Ages Have Had Pity For Animals
Friedrich Nietzsche

Related links: Animal Rights and Why they Matter



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Why Animals matter:
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This page is part of the section: Animal Rights:A History

Thomas Wentworth

Thomas Wentworth, 1593-1641, was the 1st Earl of Strafford . He was an English statesman and a prominent figure in the period leading up to the English Civil War.

Thomas Wentworth was responsible for the first real law passed prohibiting animal cruelty, it was the first animal rights law in history. The law called Thomas Wentworth's act of 1635 ", was implemented in Ireland and  prohibited the unimaginable cruelty of working horses being pulled by their tails and the pulling of wool from live sheep, rather than shearing.



Act against Plowing by the Tayle, and Pulling the Wooll off Living Sheep
[None shall plow or work horses by the tail.] WHEREAS in many places of this kindgome, there hath been a long time used a barbarous custome of ploughing, harrowing, drawing and working with horses, mares, gledings, garrans and colts, by the taile, whereby (besides the cruelty used to the beasts) the breed of horses is much impaired in this kingdome, to the great prejudice thereof: [Barbarity of the custom, a prejudice to the breed of horses.] whereas also divers have and yet do use the like barbarous custome of pulling of the wooll yearly from living sheep instead of clipping or shearing of them; be it therefore enacted by the Kings's most excellent Majesty, and the lords spirituall and temporall, and the commons in this present Parliament assembled, that no person or persons whatsoever, shall after one yeare next ensuing the end of this present Parliament, plough, harrow, draw or worke with any horse, gelding, mare, garran or colt, by the taile, nor shall cause, procure of suffer any other to plough up or harrow his ground, or to draw any other carriages with his horses, mares, geldings, garrans or colts, or any of them, by the taile; [None shall instead of shearing or clipping, pull off the wool from living sheep.] and that no person or persons whatsover, shall, after the end of this present Parliament, pull the wool of any living sheep, or cause or procure to be pulled, instead of shearing or clipping of them; [Justices of assize and of the peace may inquire and punish by fine and imprisionment.] and if any shall doe contrarie to this act, and the intention thereof, that the justices of assize at the generall assizes to be holden before them, and the justices of peace at their quarter-sessions, shall have power by this act to enquire of, heare and determine all and every offence and offences done contrary to this present act, and to punish the offendors which shall do contrary to the same, by fine and imprisonment, as they in their discretion shall think fit.

Parliament of Ireland
Act Against Cruelty to Horses, Sheep (Ireland), 1635



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