234 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    234 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume provides a concise synthesis of human-animal relations over time, charting shifting attitudes towards animals from domestication to the present day. It asks how non-human species have shaped human history, and how humans have reconfigured the animal world.

    Humans have had a long and close relationship with animals. They have hunted them, consumed them as food and fashion, exploited them as energy sources, utilised them in warfare, exhibited them in zoos and menageries, and studied them for science. In the process, they have radically changed the way in which many animals live, subjecting them to captivity, altering their diets, constraining their movements and, through selective breeding, reshaping their bodies. The book explores the use of animals for sustenance, labour, companionship and display and traces the rise of the animal rights movement. It also assesses how humans have impacted the overall biodiversity of the planet, driving some species of animals to extinction and permitting others to colonise new continents.

    With case studies on animal astronauts, celebrity kakapos, globetrotting pandas and cocaine hippos, Animals in World History offers a lively and accessible introduction to human-animal relations for students and instructors of animal studies, environmental history, and social and cultural history.


    1. Consumption

    2. Labour

    3. Companionship

    4. Exhibition

    5. Knowledge 

    6. Biodiversity

    7. Animal Rights


    Helen Louise Cowie is Professor of History at the University of York. She is the author of Conquering Nature in Spain and its Empire, 1750-1850 (2011), Exhibiting Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Empathy, Education, Entertainment (2014), Llama (2017), and Victims of Fashion: Animal Commodities in Victorian Britain (2021).

    "No one working in historical animal studies today surpasses Helen Cowie’s depth and breadth of knowledge. A keen analyst of the cultural and economic demands humans place on other animals, Cowie never writes of nonhuman animals as mere resources. Using historical documents, archaeology and the biological sciences, her accounts give voice to animal sentience and agency. From turnspit dogs who refused to work on their day off to an alpaca recorded as plaintively moaning in remembrance of two conspecifics who died during their nineteenth-century voyage from Peru to Australia, Cowie’s animals are not Cartesian stimulus-response machines. Animals in World History is the summary overview needed to move a growing field forward."

    Abel A. Alves, Professor of History, Ball State University