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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

There is No Real Religion Without Love for the Animals. By Anna Sewell. Ed. Dr. Chapman Chen


“There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham - all a sham.” ~ Anna Sewell, Black Beauty


Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions, the Autobiography of a Horse is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell (1820-1878). It was written in the last years of her life, during which she was bedridden and seriously ill. At the age of 14, Swell slipped and severely injured her ankles. For the rest of her life, she had to rely on horse-drawn carriages to move around, which contributed to her love of horses and her concern for the humane treatment of animals. Published in 1877, Black Beauty sold over 50 million copies worldwide in 50 different languages.


The depiction of the "bearing rein" in Black Beauty spurred so much outrage and empathy from readers that its use was not only abolished in Victorian England, but public interest in anti-cruelty legislation in the United States also grew significantly. The arguably detrimental social practices concerning the use of horses in Black Beauty inspired the development of legislation in various states that would condemn such abusive behaviours towards animals.


The impact of the novel is still very much recognized today. Writing in the Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, Bernard Unti calls Black Beauty "the most influential anti-cruelty novel of all time". Comparisons have also been made between Black Beauty and the most important social protest novel in the United States, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, on account of the strong degree of outrage and protest action that both novels triggered in society.

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