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The Law is an Ass: Reading E.P. Evans' The Medieval Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals

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image of Society & Animals

In this essay I address a little-known chapter in the lengthy history of crimes against (nonhuman) animals. My focus is not crimes committed by humans against animals, as such, but a practical outcome of the seemingly bizarre belief that animals are capable of committing crimes against humans.2 I refer here to the medieval practice whereby animals were prosecuted and punished for their misdeeds, aspects of which readers are likely to have encountered in the work of the historian Robert Darnton (1985).

Affiliations: 1: UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

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1994-01-01
2016-12-08

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