Synopses & Reviews
and#160;Horse-drawn cabs rattling down muddy roads, cattle herded through the streets to the Smithfield meat market for slaughter, roosters crowing at the break of dawnandmdash;London was once filled with a cacophony of animal noises (and smells). But over the last thirty years, the city seems to have banished animals from its streets. In Beastly London, Hannah Velten uses a wide range of primary sources to explore the complex and changing relationship between Londoners of all classes and their animal neighbors.and#160;Velten travels back in history to describe a time when Londoners shared their homes with pets and livestockandmdash;along with a variety of other pests, vermin, and bedbugs; Londoners imported beasts from all corners of the globe for display in their homes, zoos, and parks; and ponies flying in hot air balloons and dancing fleas were considered entertainment. As she shows, London transformed from a city with a mainly exploitative relationship with animals to the birthplace of animal welfare societies and animal rightsandrsquo; campaigns. Packed with over one hundred illustrations, Beastly London is a revealing look at how animals have been central to the cityandrsquo;s success.
From the milk we drink in the morning, to the leather shoes we slip on for the day, to the steak we savor at dinner, our daily lives are thoroughly bound up with cows. Yet there is a far more complex story behind this seemingly benign creature, which Hannah Velten explores here, plumbing the rich trove of myth, fact, and legend surrounding these familar animals.
From the plowing field to the rodeo to the temple, Velten tracks the constantly changing social relationship between man and cattle, beginning with the domestication of aurochs around 9000 BCE. From there, Cow launches into a fascinating story of religious fanaticism, scientific exploits, and the economic transformations engendered by the trade of the numerous products derived from the animal. She explores in engaging detail how despite cattles prominence at two ends of a wide spectrum: Hinduism venerates the cow as one of the most sacred members of the animal kingdom, while beef is a prized staple of the American diet. Thought provoking and informative, Cow restores this oft-overlooked animal to the nobility it richly deserves.
About the Author
Hannah Velten is a freelance journalist who has worked as a livestock reporter for Farmers Weekly and has years of experience working with cows and oxen, including on Australian cattle stations and dairy farms in the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Revealing the Beasts
1and#160; Livestock: Londonersand#8217; Nuisance Neighbours
2and#160; Working Animals: Straining Every Muscle
3and#160; Sporting Animals: Natural Instincts Exploited
4and#160; Animals as Entertainers: Performance, Peculiarity and Pressure
5and#160; Exotic Animals: The Allure of the Foreign and the Wild
6and#160; Pampered Pets and Sad Strays
7and#160; London Wildlife: The Persecuted and the Celebrated
Final Thoughts: An Apology and a Pardon