1st Edition

The History of Opposition to Blood Sports in Twentieth Century England
Hunting at Bay

ISBN 9781138600102
Published April 27, 2018 by Routledge
202 Pages

USD $51.95

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Book Description

An interdisciplinary social history, this book examines the major pressures and influences that brought about the remarkable growth of opposition to hunting in twentieth century England. With public opinion consistently deciding from the middle of the century onward that hunting mammals for sport was cruel and unacceptable, it would appear that the controversy over hunting has all but been decided, though hunting yet remains ‘at bay’.

Based on a range of cultural, social, literary and political sources drawn from a variety of academic disciplines, including history, sociology, geography, psychology and anthropology, The History of Opposition to Blood Sports in Twentieth Century England accounts for the change in our relationship with animals that occurred in the course of the twentieth century, shedding light on the manner in which this resulted in the growth in opposition to hunting and other blood sports.

With evidence comprising a mixture of primary and secondary historical sources, together with documentary films, opinion polls, Mass Observation records, political party archives, and the findings of sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and geographers, this book will appeal to scholars and students across the social sciences and historians with an interest in human–animal relations.

Table of Contents



List of abbreviations


Part I: The Historical Setting

1. Opposition to hunting – chronology, debates and vitriol.

2. ‘All Heaven in a Rage’: opposition to hunting before 1900

Part II: From 1900 to 1970

3. Changing public opinion

4. The influence of pressure groups: the battle for the soul of the RSPCA .

5. ‘Putting Animals into Politics’: the parties, electoral geography and changes in the Countryside

6. Anthropomorphism: The representation of hunting in visual culture

7. The hunter and the hunted: their representation in literature

Part III: The 1970s and thereafter

8. From animal welfare to animal rights?: philosophy, feminism and science.

9. ‘Hounds Off Our Wildlife’: the origins and influence of the hunt saboteurs.

10. ‘Hunting at Bay’ – the ban and thereafter.






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Michael Tichelar is a visiting research fellow in History at the University of the West of England, where he obtained his Ph.D. He is retired from academic life and a career in local government. He lives in Bath and is a psychotherapist working as a school counsellor. He has published a range of scholarly articles on the Labour Party and land reform, including two on the history of opposition to hunting in twentieth century England.