Here is the eighth weekly digest for Animal History Daily, which I'm running on Twitter (@hannahvelten) every day for 2014. Using the #AHD tag, I find random titbits of animal history from the British Newspaper Archive (@BNArchive) on the appropriate day, from any year (generally the 1800s).
Blog house-keeping note: Since starting this blog on 1st January, my working life has gone rather crazy and it's no longer possible for me to include the deeper analysis of the #AHD tweet - I'll still include some short explanations, if needed, and the 'Image of the Week' will now be from any date/year... just something that's caught my eye in the last seven days.
So, without further ado....
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
In homage to the curling successes this week in Sochi - I give you... sheep dip?!
(via Museum of English Rural Life - @MERLReading)
This week's #AHD offerings: a cattle plague cure, a clever dog, pensions for horses?, horse medicine, performing animal legislation, theatrical horses and nesting larks
19th Feb: 1853: A Too Clever Dog. Targeted children with bread & butter and 'mugged' them; owner never had to feed him. Destroyed after bit child (Sheffield Independent)
20th Feb: 1866: cattle plague spreading thro England; trials of Mr Worm's medicine (incl. garlic/onions/ginger) is proving to be effective (Sussex Advertiser)
21st Feb: 1931: Call for 'Pension Scheme For Horses' during Animals' Welfare Week: Bath City Council shld provide long rest before put them down (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)
22nd Feb: 1868: Elliman's Royal Embrocation for Horses - used by chief Carriers, Carmen, etc - for broken knees, bruises, sore throat, &. (London Standard)
23rd Feb: 1922: Gov. Select Committee set up to investigate 'the somewhat obscure subject' of performing animals - great pain and suffering? (Western Daily Press)
24th Feb: 1811: Stars of 'Blue-beard' performance at Covent-garden Theatre are 'well-trained and gorgeously caparisoned horses' from Astley's Amphitheatre (The Examiner) - see image below
25th Feb: 1897: Behaviour of animals towards steam machinery: larks make nests & rear young under railway tracks, with heavy trains constantly rolling (Manchester Evening News)
1) Astley's stud of horses was hired for an equestrian revival of the controversial melodramatic romance Blue-Beard. There were protests against the introduction of the horses on opening night and the Morning Chronicle deplored the prostitution of Covent Garden to 'buffoonery and shew' and demanded Blue-Beard should be 'transferred to its proper sphere, which is Astley's Amphitheatre.' But the public loved the fashionable hippodramas (horse dramas) and despite having to rapidly reinforce the Covent Garden stage and provide stables for the horses, the managers of the theatre were happily took in receipts of £21,00 in its first 40 nights. (from Moody, J. Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770-1840, p.69-70)
2) Mr Worm from Ceylon was the most famous name associated with 'cures' for cattle plague (rinderpest). Using an 'Indian' concoction of red pickling onions, garlic, ginger and asafoetida, the draught was administered to affected cattle with some cayenne pepper. First tried on an infected herd of 19 cattle, The Times reported all the cattle to have been cured - they all died shortly afterwards. The Times continued to report success cases, but the British Medical Journal was not convinced, stating that any apparently cured animals didn't have the disease anyway... eventually all animals either with the plague or who had contact with infected animals were killed.
3) Suggestion of 'Pensions for Horses' was made by Miss Anderson, the 'prominent Bath animal lover' at a meeting during Animals' Welfare Week - this event, started in 1922, was designed to make 'everyone everywhere consider everything every animal needs'. It marked the 100th anniversary of the passing of Martin's Act - the first anti-cruelty Act of Parliament (for cattle).
4) Carmen were those in the business of transporting goods by waggon/horse - they would walk beside their horses.
5) The 'Performing Animals' Defence League' was central in the fight to provide evidence of cruelty towards stage animals, to put in front of the Select Committee in 1921 and 1922. In 1923 and 1924, after huge opposition from 'the trade', the Bills were rejected. Finally, a year later, the PADL felt an incomplete Bill was better than nothing so they recommended that trainers and exhibitors of performing animals should be registered. Further amendments weren't suggested until 1933...
6) Apparently, the 'proverbially stupid animal, the ox, stands composedly on the rails without having any idea of the danger that threatens him; dogs run among the wheels of a departing railway train without suffering any injury, and birds seem to have a peculiar delight in the steam engine....' - animals certainly got everywhere!
Hannah Velten - author of