Wild Things: Taming Canada’s
Animal Welfare Movement
This chapter brings ecofeminist perspectives to bear on perceptions of gender, animals, and ethics in the rapidly urbanizing and industrializing world of Victorian Canada. Its objective is to make sense of the absence of upper- and middle-class women in Canada from a movement that was in other parts of the world so thoroughly associated with them. Their absence, I argue, had little to do with a lack of interest on their part. Rather, it speaks to a process of marginalization that took shape in animal welfare organizations across the country. The many reasons for their marginalization will be articulated below, but the overall rationale was fairly straightforward. In England, where the animal welfare movement developed during the early decades of nineteenth century, observers soon perceived a tendency toward more radical views on the part of the movement’s female participants. The American experience quickly confirmed this tendency, so that when Canada’s animal welfare movement took shape, the link between women, animal welfare, and radicalism was well established.1 Augmented by tensions associated with first wave feminism, including demands for greater education, the entry of women into professional circles, and the development of the moral reform, social gospel, and suffrage movements, that link resulted in a paradox when it came to their involvement in animal welfare. On the one hand, women were proving throughout the Anglo-American world to be a vital part of the movement to address the ethical dimensions of human–nonhuman animal relations. On the other hand, their vision of animal welfare was often too far-reaching for a society that relied heavily on the exploitation of animals. For many among the mainly white, upper- and middle-class men in Canada who dominated not only the political and economic arenas but also the animal welfare NGOs that developed in urban centres across Canada during the latter decades of the century, this paradox was particularly troubling because of the degree to which their material interests and the Canadian economy were so thoroughly dependent on animals.2 The result was the widespread perception among both the movement’s opponents as well as its movers and shakers that women were simply too radical to be permitted to participate. As a result, their desire to do so had to be directed toward marginal roles. Ironically, one of the key means of accomplishing this was to emphasize the well-established view of women that informed their connection to the movement in the first place – that of the irrational, domestic, nurturing, closer-to-nature, and less-civilized counterpart to the rational, public, cultured, and civilized Victorian middle-class male. In other words, at precisely the time when women were becoming active public sphere participants in the context of first wave feminism and other endeavours, the effort to elevate the status of animals in Victorian Canada was matched by a simultaneous effort to contain, if not lower, that of women. In addition to marginalizing women’s participation in the animal welfare movement, such efforts helped to ensure that the movement in Canada remained far more conservative than in England or the United States.
3.1 Images such as this from the Toronto Humane Society’s Aims and Objects of the Toronto Humane Society (1888) captured the widespread understanding of the link between women and animal welfare. Originally published in J. George Hodgins, ed., Aims and Objects of the Toronto Humane Society, Toronto: W. Briggs, 1888.
Rethinking Human–Animal Relations in an Urban/Industrial Society
Ecofeminist theory has long grappled with the status of women within the human–animal binary, and some of ecofeminism’s central arguments – that the domination of women and the domination of nature (including animals) by men are connected, that the liberation of women and the liberation of nature from such domination are equally linked, and that embracing rather than severing the longstanding historical and cultural connections between women and nature forms a key strategy in that process – speak directly to the politics of animal welfare and rights. As such, the status of women as representatives of an “interconnected” ethical vision based on care and responsibilities (as opposed to a rights-based ethic more commonly ascribed to men) has long positioned them as obvious supporters of animal welfare and rights.3 That connection seems straightforward until one considers the many implications of the animal welfare movement and the place of women in it during the nineteenth century. In broad terms, those implications comprised sweeping political, economic, social, and cultural changes, including the participation of women in the public sphere and ultimately in the shaping of politics and state policy. Thus while many of the values emphasized in ecofeminism overlap in tangible ways with commonplace perceptions of women and the ideals of first-wave / maternal feminism in the nineteenth century, the place of women in the animal welfare movement was by no means as simple as it may appear.
All of these issues were caught up in the maelstrom of change that characterized this period. Between Darwin’s rethinking of the relationship of humans to animals, developments in the medical sciences, and the transformations brought by urbanization and industrialization to established attitudes and practices, Victorians had a lot to contend with when it came to ethics and animals. On the one hand, processes at work were resulting in separation of the humans and animals, inasmuch as urban and industrial life broke longstanding links between them. That break is most notable in the shift from a rural world in which humans and animals were constantly together to an increasingly interdependent society in which the bulk of the human population no longer lived or worked in close quarters with animals. As testament to this separation, one of the most common objectives of municipalities during the nineteenth century was to push animals out of the city as a means of addressing issues including health, sanitation, noise, aesthetics, and social order. On the other hand, were we to magically transport ourselves to a nineteenth-century urban milieu, whether in Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, or any other Canadian city, one of the first things to catch our attention would be the animals. From livestock and labouring horses to dogs and cats both feral and domestic, and finally to the many wild creatures that were adapting in their own ways to the opportunities and challenges of modernity, they were everywhere. In fact, given the demands of the industrial world and the density of the urban spaces in which they moved, they were in some ways becoming even more a part of daily life.4
The animal welfare movement was a direct response to these changes. As in the United States, animal welfare NGOs first appeared in Canada in the 1860s, with the establishment of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) in Montreal in 1869. Attempts to establish SPCA chapters in other Canadian cities were common during the 1870s, but the movement did not really take hold in Canada until the 1880s, alongside urbanization, industrialization, and growing interest in social purity and moral reform. At this point, upper- and middle-class urbanites began to form SPCAs and Humane Societies in cities across the country, so that by the turn of the century there was hardly a city of significant size without one.5 Tapped into a growing international network, these organizations routinely exchanged materials, and because their cut-and-paste approach to these materials knew no bounds it was entirely normal for animal welfare proponents from Halifax to Victoria to be reading, publishing, and distributing the same information, much of which was coming out of Britain and the United States.
By the 1880s, supporters in Canada were able to draw on a well-developed repertoire that represented animals in sympathetic and at times strikingly human terms. They stocked their libraries with materials including the London SPCA’s monthly journal Animal World, the Boston-based Massachusetts SPCA’s journal Our Dumb Animals, and a variety of books, pamphlets, brochures, poems, sermons, society reports, magic lantern slides, and newspapers. Through these materials, supporters presented their subjects in ways that emphasized species’ human-like qualities, in part via their capacity to suffer pain but also with regard to their intelligence and their social capacities. In this way, they picked up on the radical challenge that Darwin’s evolutionary theory posed to the line that separated humans from nonhuman animals. They drew little inspiration, however, from its survival-of-the-fittest vision or the competitive, cut-and-thrust world of nineteenth-century industrial capitalism that inspired it. Instead, they tended to emphasize cooperation, communication, and community among animals via examples of intelligence, reason, empathy, love, trust, loyalty, and mutual respect. Though the comparison can be easily drawn, this was by no means an edenic or prelapsarian retreat from modernity, but rather a critique of past and present practices and a vision of the direction animal welfare proponents believed civilized society should be headed.
Some of the clearest expressions of these values in Canada are contained in the two books put together by the Toronto Humane Society (THS), Aims and Objects of the Toronto Humane Society (1888) and Work Accomplished by the Toronto Humane Society (1892).6 At 232 and 112 pages respectively, these were weighty volumes, and the THS saw that they were distributed throughout the city and to animal welfare NGOs across the country. Both comprised materials from Canada, the United States, Britain, and elsewhere. They presented a variety of narratives common to the movement. Among the most common tropes were dogs rescuing their human companions; birds caring for their young; and horses demonstrating high levels of intelligence. Brought forward in chapters such as “Bird Life,” “Kind Treatment of Horses,” “Devotion of the Dog,” and “Interesting Natural History Facts,” these narratives bridged the gulf that separated humans from their nonhuman animal counterparts. In much the same way that Christabelle Sethna argues social purity proponents did with regard to human sexual behaviour, proponents of animal welfare selected from the natural world patterns that appeared to best exemplify the kind of social order they wished to bring forward among humans, made narratives of them, and circulated them as widely as possible.7
Equally important to the movement was the depiction of relations between animals and their human counterparts. Through countless examples of human–animal interaction, supporters emphasized not only how humans should treat animals but also how humans should treat each other – all of which speaks to how animal welfare served as a means of establishing behavioural norms for humans. Unlike the examples above, these narratives were not always so positive. Most striking in them was the attention given to violence and brutality directed by humans – almost always men – at animals: the carter who beats his horse mercilessly, boys who shoot songbirds for fun; and countless bizarre instances of cruelty inflicted on dogs, cats, rats, livestock, and other creatures. Often these stories involve animals beset by industrialization in its worst forms, from the treatment of livestock during shipping to the overworking of horses. In this regard, they spoke to the movement’s ongoing struggle to come to terms with modernity. Overall, the common theme among this set of narratives entails a reversal that depicts demonstrably uncivilized humans abusing sentient, intelligent, and highly sociable animals.
By contrast, narratives depicting positive relations between humans and animals typically involved women and children. This was fuelled in part by the movement’s focus on children’s education. Voiced most directly via the movement’s Bands of Mercy (children’s groups pledged to promote kindness to animals) and its kindness to animals campaigns, such narratives offered young minds carefully selected examples of animal behaviour on which children could model their own actions. In doing so, these materials confirmed those characteristics of care and responsibility commonly associated with women, the family, and the private sphere that fitted neatly into an idealized domestic world, and that offered shelter from the competitive urban industrial world of the nineteenth century. The fact that these three groups – women, children, and animals – were during the nineteenth century linked by their common inability to “speak for themselves,” to the point that some NGOs aimed to address all three, underscores their shared identity as defenceless subjects in need of protection.8 That women often made this link themselves points to the ethics of care and responsibility, but also to a sense of solidarity. As many studies now document, women were drawn to the animal welfare movement in part because the status of animals in society reflected directly on their own marginalization. Buttressed by domestic materials ranging from novels such as Canadian author Margaret Marshall Saunders’s Beautiful Joe, a dog story which like its equine counterpart Black Beauty literally gave a voice to its animal narrator, to the Montreal Veterinary College Society of Comparative Psychology’s discussions of animal intelligence, these materials at once elevated the status of animals and challenged that of humans.9
Organizing Women: The Parameters of NGO Participation
So how did women fit into this picture? The CSPCA’s Ladies’ Humane Education Committee offers a good starting point. Established in 1873, it was modelled after the Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts’s organization of the same name in London. Its specific target was children’s education – “a sphere of action,” it argued, “in which women’s influence can be advantageously exercised, as they have opportunities for awakening and training the sympathies of the young, in families, schools, and charitable institutions.10 The committee worked with teachers and religious leaders to develop humane education programs; organized essay contests on the subject of kindness to animals; distributed materials to families and institutions throughout the city; and set out on a series of fundraising initiatives for the parent society. Popular from the start, it drew forty-five members during its first year of operations. All were from prominent and mostly Protestant Montreal families well connected to the city’s growing philanthropic networks.
3.2 The key players in the Canadian SPCA’s Ladies’ Humane Education Committee upon its establishment in 1873. Source: Canadian SPCA. Fourth Annual Report. Montreal: Protestant Institution for Deaf-Mutes, 1873.
That the Ladies’ Humane Education Committee focused on the wealthy female philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts is telling. While women were prominent in the animal welfare movement in England, the more radical female supporters who emerged there and in the United States from the 1870s on did not always endear themselves to upper- and middle-class women seeking to emulate models of respectable female philanthropy.11 This was particularly true of antivivisectionists who, exemplary though they may have been with regard to their active lives in the public sphere, presented identities that would have been difficult to maintain in the relatively small circles in which this segment of Montreal society moved – all the more so given that many of these women’s husbands and sons were prominent and typically more moderate supporters of the parent society. In this sense, Burdett-Coutts’s status as ‘the richest heiress in all England,” a key figure within London’s thoroughly respectable Royal SPCA, and a prominent antivivisectionist offered the women of the Ladies’ Humane Education Committee a wide range of positions through which they could identify their own activities.12 Indeed, it is likely that expectations within the group varied considerably, for there seems from its inception to have been something wrong within the committee. Society documents do not explain the issue, and speak in brief but glowing terms of the committee’s objectives. Nevertheless, the committee fell apart in 1876 as a result of “insuperable obstacles.”13 Just what those obstacles were is difficult to know, but it is hard to imagine that tensions over its scope, direction, and relationship to the parent society did not loom large. From that point on, the CSPCA’s children’s education program continued with the assistance of participating teachers and religious leaders, and for the next two decades women all but disappeared from the organization’s reports.
What makes the brief lifespan of the CSPCA’s Ladies’ Humane Education Committee particularly striking, though, is the fact that its members were among the most politically active women in Montreal, and indeed in Canada. Well positioned, often as the relatives of men prominent in their city and nation’s political, economic, and social circles, they expressed themselves through participation and leadership in a wide range of religious, philanthropic, and other organizations.14 Many were active in the just-formed Montreal Ladies’ Educational Association, through which they sought to open higher education opportunities to women.15 As such, the failure of the Ladies’ Humane Education Committee demonstrates how the circles in which its participants moved could countenance the growing public role of upper- and middle-class women in organizations aimed at children, the elderly, the unemployed, poor, and even women’s rights, but drew the line at animals.
A closer look at the CSPCA helps us to understand why this was the case. In the works since the early 1860s, the CSPCA held a prominent role in the animal welfare movement and was influential in the establishment of like-minded organizations across the country. As the leadership of its well-respected humanitarian president and future city mayor William Workman attests, the society represented well that city’s upper- and middle-class English Protestant milieu. It would be a mistake, however, to view the organization as the voice of strident Protestant reformers aiming to curtail cruelty in society. In fact, the CSPCA brought together a wide range of interests connected to animals, including those of foxhunters, sportsmen, conservationists, medical and veterinary professionals, and industrial capitalists engaged in activities involving horses and livestock. While the society’s early annual reports note a few female subscribers, the CSPCA was from the start a society comprised of men. At its founding, all of the society’s executive members were men, as were all of its medical and legal advisors and all but 2 of its 148 subscribers. That it remained so throughout the century reflected an ongoing effort common within Canada’s animal welfare NGOs to exclude women from the society’s formal levels of power. This was done not because they were seen to be ineffective, or because they were altogether unwelcome in the public sphere, but precisely because of the considerable impact the movement’s more moderate, instrumentally minded male supporters believed they would have on the organization and on the movement in general. As such, the men who ran the CSPCA recognized the skills, the energy, and the connections that women could bring to the movement, and in order to take advantage of this they initially encouraged them to participate in the society’s work. But they also recognized that women were connected less directly to economic and recreational activities involving animals, and more directly to the ethics of care and responsibility that informed their work in so many other public sphere arenas. Because of this, Montreal’s upper- and middle-class women were seen by many among the CSPCA’s founders to be less rational and overly sympathetic to the plight of animals. As such, they threatened to take the movement in directions that posed too great a challenge to the status quo.
The relegation of women to the margins of the CSPCA soon became a pattern in Canada’s animal welfare NGOs. During the 1870s, animal welfare proponents in Quebec, Halifax, Ottawa, and Toronto struggled and for the most part failed to establish stable organizations. Problems included the economic climate of the 1870s and the perceived but costly need to employ officers to enforce anti-cruelty legislation. But documents also speak to the failure to effectively integrate women, who were well known for their organizational, fundraising, and other skills, into these fledgling institutions.16 Though their importance to the movement was recognized widely, the movement’s leaders preferred overwhelmingly the establishment of ladies’ auxiliaries rather than direct participation, and only the short-lived Woodstock branch of the Toronto-based Ontario SPCA integrated women directly into its operations. This pattern continued when the movement re-emerged in the 1880s with reorganized societies in Montreal and in Halifax, and new organizations in cities including Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa, Saint John, Winnipeg, and Victoria.17
Thus while it is tempting to explain the reticence to incorporate women more fully into the animal welfare movement in terms of conservative gender norms or the parameters of first wave feminism in Canada, There was something else at work here too.18 Carried too far, the animal welfare movement had the potential to move in directions that were untenable to its committed but more moderate supporters – notably the many upper- and middle-class men who shared a wide range of economic and recreational interests in which animals figured prominently. And by the 1880s, women in England and the United States had established reputations for taking the movement in exactly such directions. Of particular concern were the radical antivivisection societies in which women played prominent roles, and that helped to establish an unflattering view of the relationship between women and animal welfare. Given that it was becoming more common for upper- and middle-class women to participate in the public sphere via institutions including suffrage associations, the YWCA, the WCTU, the National Council of Women and its local counterparts, and various philanthropic and charitable organizations, the persistence of the ladies’ auxiliary model was no accident, but rather the product of a relatively moderate movement whose more conservative supporters wished it to remain so.19 Indeed, it was no coincidence that the Montreal-based CSPCA – at once the most prominent and the most conservative of Canada’s animal welfare societies – operated for more than two decades without a ladies’ auxiliary despite the tremendous appeal that the movement had among upper- and middle-class women in that city and their participation in many other philanthropic endeavours. Despite expanding its operations in 1882 to include women and children, the Halifax-based Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (SPC) was not much different in this regard. In 1879, it began to put together a “Ladies’ Royal Auxiliary Society” with branches in cities across the province – all but one of which saw men fill the key roles of branch president and secretary.20 Once established, the Nova Scotia SPC’s Ladies’ Auxiliary began work in areas of education, and succeeded in establishing Canada’s first Bands of Mercy. But it too struggled and fell apart, only to be revived in the late 1880s. When auxiliary members attempted during the 1890s to merge their organization with the parent society, they met with resistance. Following lengthy discussions, the Nova Scotia SPC executive concluded in 1898 that “the ladies were doing good work now and it would not be desirable to alter the present mode of working this Society.”21 Given their status as the oldest animal welfare institutions in the country, the CSPCA and the Nova Scotia SPC had considerable influence, and their advice, along with copies of annual reports, constitutions, and other materials to fledgling societies, helped to establish this pattern of participation elsewhere across the country. Consider, for example, the Nova Scotia SPC’s response to the newly established New Brunswick SPCA (based in Saint John) when it sought advice in 1881 on how best to establish its own Ladies’ Auxiliary. “We got a lady of good social position” explained SPC secretary John Naylor, “– a leader of fashion if possible – to call upon her lady friends and get them to sign the membership role of the proposed Association. When that was done they and the others were individually invited to attend a meeting when officers were elected . . . after the objects being explained by some of the committee of the Parent Society [sic].”22 Established in 1885, the NBSPCA’s Ladies’ Humane Educational Auxiliary fitted neatly into this model, and it soon gravitated toward women’s and children’s issues, to the point that it became better known for its work in these areas than it was for its work on animal welfare.23
The few notable exceptions to this pattern that took shape during the 1880s and 1890s speak in their own ways to the tensions surrounding women’s participation in animal welfare circles. By this time, the moral reform and social purity movements were creating greater precedents for women to participate directly in the public sphere, and arguments for women’s suffrage were likewise making their way into public discourse. Such participation was most likely to be found in Ontario, where many animal welfare proponents opted to establish Humane Societies rather than SPCAs. Popular in the United States, this model tended to be more open to women’s formal participation as both members and officers. It also extended its focus beyond animals to encompass the protection of children and sometimes women. As a result, there are notable differences between the more direct participation of women in some of Ontario’s animal welfare NGOs and the persistence of the ladies’ auxiliary model in other parts of Canada.
The most influential of these was the Toronto Humane Society (THS). Though established later than its counterparts in Montreal and Halifax, it immediately shared centre stage with them. Arguably the most engaged voice in Canada’s animal welfare movement, it drew much of its support from that city’s growing moral reform and social purity networks and the many women active in them. In part this stemmed from the society’s mandate to address cruelty to children as well as animals, which connected it directly to numerous NGOs already established in the city. But women were also key to the THS’s more extreme position on a range of animal welfare issues. From its start, the THS made a concerted effort to include women. Organizers encouraged women to attend the society’s inaugural meeting, and its constitution demanded that its council be comprised of a minimum of fifteen men and ten women.24 Of the women who filled these positions, most were already active in similar institutions. Among them were Mrs. S. Brett, president of the Girls’ Industrial Institute; Mrs. John Harvie, president of the Young Women’s Christian Guild and the Haven and Prison Gate Mission; Miss Dupont, principal of the Young Ladies School; and Miss Matilda Elliott, who taught at the Mercer Reformatory.25 During the 1890s many participated in Toronto’s Local Council of Women, with which the Toronto Humane Society affiliated, and the National Council of Women.26 Such dynamics speak directly to the connections these supporters made between animals, women, children, education, and sexual and social reproduction. By this time, the relationship of cruelty to animals on the part of children to violence in adulthood was well established in the minds of animal welfare advocates, and fitted neatly into broader concerns. In an era in which everything from childhood identity to prison reform was being negotiated, educating children to be kind to animals became a central tenet of moral reform, and women active in the animal welfare movement in Toronto assumed considerable responsibility in this arena. They also clearly identified animal welfare as one of the growing number of options for entry into the public sphere. Though still conservative when compared to the range of opinions that existed in England and the United States, the THS adopted a relatively advanced position within the movement’s Canadian context, and was willing on occasion to confront controversial issues, including vivisection.
But the THS was exceptional. Outside Toronto, few animal welfare NGOs saw women participate to such a degree. Among the closest to the THS in this regard was the Hamilton SPCA, established in 1887. Headed by federal MP and grocer Adam Brown, its committee included three women, it counted as many as a dozen women among the society’s 300 members, and documents indicate that it had many sympathizers among women in the community.27 In similar fashion, the board of the Winnipeg Humane Society (est. 1895) comprised ten men and five women, and the BCSPCA saw some women participate at this level by the turn of the century.28 Ottawa presented yet another precedent. Among the many attempts to establish an animal protection society in the 1870s and 1880s, there emerged in that city in 1888 the Women’s Humane Society of Ottawa. Founded and established entirely by local women, it addressed both children and animals, but in practical terms it focused mainly on children while supporting the local SPCA in its sphere of operations. During the early 1890s, it helped form the local Children’s Aid Society along with its own Children’s Aid Committee. Its members were also active in the formation of the National Council of Women and its local branch, to the extent that the Humane Society’s president, Lady Sarah Ritchie, and its vice-president, Julia Gwynne, occupied the same positions in the latter organization.29 But the society struggled with funding and membership numbers, and in 1894 it merged its operations with those of the Ottawa SPCA, dropped “women’s” from its title, opened its membership to men, and became the Ottawa Humane Society. Upon doing so, it took up the SPCA’s enforcement work and devoted itself more directly to the animals portion of its mandate. Women continued into the twentieth century to be central to the newly reconstituted society, but this move nevertheless resulted in a significant change as men entered, first as general, management, and executive committee members, and before long within the society’s directorship. In 1912 the Ottawa Humane Society elected its first male president, and that position would not be claimed by a woman again until 1967.30
And these, again, were the exceptions. During travels to promote Ontario’s Children’s Aid Society in 1895, THS founder and vice-president John Kelso expressed surprise upon discovering among the groups he visited that “all the officers of the Humane Societies were men.”31 And even Kelso’s organization had to contend with the likes of Goldwin Smith, a co-founder of the THS who was known for both his strong stance against vivisection and his strident opposition to women’s suffrage.32 As for the Montreal-based CSPCA, women remained outside that organization until 1898, at which point the society saw the formation of yet another women’s branch, tasked with the same fundraising and educational objectives of the 1870s. Further testament to this pattern appears in the 1900 compilation Women in Canada: Their Life and Work. Aimed at summarizing the contribution of women to public life in the nation for the International World’s Fair held in Paris that year, it outlines the work of hundreds of non-governmental organizations in which women played prominent, often leading roles. With regard to animal welfare, however, the compilation mentions only six organizations. Set alongside the text’s broader overview of the work of women in Canada, its presentation of these organizations confirms in striking terms the peripheral, auxiliary-based presence they held within the movement.33 Thus while at the end of the century, the THS could be found coordinating its meetings to coincide with those of the Local and the National Council of Women in order that its members could move easily from one to the other, women of similar political persuasion in many other cities in the country found themselves on the margins when it came to animal welfare.
Women, Animals, and Politics: Public Perceptions and Criticism
So successful was this process of marginalization that Canada presented relatively little home-grown criticism of female animal welfare supporters during the nineteenth century. Indeed, with no antivivisection societies, breakaway institutions, or outspoken women within the movement in Canada, there was not much to criticize. Given the absence of this more radical edge, the importance and genuine appreciation of the work done by women who were active in the movement, and the close familial and social links between them and the men who funded and participated in the nation’s SPCAs and Humane Societies, it comes as no surprise that NGO records seldom speak of female animal welfare advocates in disparaging terms.
That said, criticism of women in the movement circulated widely in the Anglo-American world, and clearly shaped views in Canada. While it was difficult for anyone to attack animal welfare proponents’ most basic premises regarding the cessation of deliberate, wanton, unnecessary cruelty to animals, the movement nevertheless had its share of vociferous critics. For them, the stereotypical image of the overly emotional, radical female animal welfare proponent, in particular that of the antivivisectionist movement, provided considerable fodder. Combined with negative views of first wave feminism and the women’s suffrage movement, that image prompted some to dismiss the animal welfare movement altogether. As such, criticism levelled at the THS in 1891 that depicted its “fanatical members” as a group of “zealots,” “cat worshippers,” and “idealiz[ers of] the brute creation” underscores how casting the movement’s more radical supporters in less-than-civilized terms had become a common rhetorical strategy.34
Among the best venues for critics was the House of Commons. There, heated debates took place over the direction and policy of the federal government, the key institution with regard to anti-cruelty legislation in Canada during the nineteenth century. When, for example, Conservative MP and Hamilton SPCA president Adam Brown took the lead during the 1880s in a decades-long debate over the prohibition of trap shooting, critics were quick to focus on gender as a means of dismissing his arguments.35 During the latter decades of the century, the animal welfare movement’s most intractable opponent in the House was fellow Conservative MP David Tisdale, a lawyer and former Lieutenant-Colonel in the 39th Norfolk Battalion of Rifles from Simcoe, Ontario, who had little patience for anyone who promoted animal welfare.36 Describing Brown’s efforts as “mawkish sentimental[ism],” Tisdale and his supporters worked throughout the 1880s and 1890s to derail all attempts to amend the Cruelty to Animals Act.37
Among the tensions to emerge in the lengthy political debates over animal welfare was the status of women in the public sphere. Given Prime Minister John A. Macdonald’s repeated efforts during the early 1880s to expand the federal franchise in ways that would include women, parliamentarians were well primed for such debates.38 In this context, opponents cast as unimaginable the notion that women should have influence in the political realm. Because women sympathized widely with animal welfare, they contended, the movement had little substance behind it, and they argued this readily. “It must be observed that a great majority of those who signed the petition are ladies,” Tisdale noted at one point in reference to public support for Brown, “and I should like to ask if the ladies are to legislate or the members of this House?”39 Far from new, this argument echoed widespread perceptions of animal welfare as the concern of sentimental, irrational women, and of the illegitimacy of their voice in political discourse.40 For many of such persuasion, the animal welfare movement served as an excellent means to illustrate these views, given that it drew extensively on those qualities that were employed to argue against women’s participation in the public sphere in general. Tisdale summarized this view precisely in his dismissal of Brown’s supporters. “We all admire, I am sure, the tender-heartedness of the ladies . . . But when it comes to a matter of sympathy, then good-bye their judgment.”41
As Tisdale’s remarks indicate, the conflation of women and animal welfare meant that the status of the movement came often to rest on the status of the women who supported it. In response, proponents found themselves defending not only the animal welfare movement but also the legitimacy of female opinion. As Brown was quick to remind his detractors, the movement had at least one trump to play in this regard: “When my hon. friend makes satirical remarks on the influence of the ladies, he must remember that he has to begin with the Queen of England,” who was by far the movement’s most prominent patron.42 Others presented similar arguments. Among them was Assiniboia West MP Nicholas Flood Davin, who in addition to his interest in animal welfare was one of the most articulate supporters of women’s suffrage in the House of Commons during the 1890s.43 With regard to animal welfare, Davin’s counter to opponents rested in part on defending the views of women, which he argued “are nearly always instinctively on the side of what is right and good; and I confess that I have always felt myself that they are much better than we are – that they are in advance of us in their moral feelings.”44 Yet while arguments such as these clearly championed women as defenders of animals, they were almost always focused on instinct and emotion – qualities easily associated both with ‘primitive” humans and with animals, and the same ones that Tisdale employed to undermine women’s status within the movement.
Among the many issues discussed, some opponents took up contemporary trends in women’s fashion as a means to demonstrate women’s lack of judgment. Toward the end of the century the fashion industry came under considerable scrutiny for its use of bird feathers and body parts to adorn women’s clothing, all of which fuelled a highly destructive millinery industry.45 Animal welfare proponents mounted a successful campaign during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries against this trend, but the irony that the women who wore such clothes were of the same segment of society that supported the animal welfare movement was not lost on critics. In this regard, the trend among upper- and middle-class women to effectively dress themselves both with and by extension as animals provided a striking contradiction. In effect, it linked upper- and middle-class women to an animal-like identity that critics readily exploited. In 1894, Vancouver MP Andrew Haslam employed the issue to derail yet another series of amendments concerning trap shooting. “The Bill,” he argued, “might seem more consistent if there were greater consistency on the part of those who promote it. But the ladies who are the strongest advocates of this Bill, are those for whose pleasure of adornment so many beautiful birds are slaughtered.”46 That this argument undermined the movement’s female supporters was only part of its purpose. As important was the fact that such observations encouraged animal welfare advocates to become embroiled in an extended, introspective campaign that consumed considerable energy. In this way, questions regarding women’s fashion became a means by which the movement’s opponents diverted animal welfare supporters from issues that posed more significant challenges.
In order to trivialize the movement further still, critics in the House of Commons also presented hypothetical examples of women considerably further down the social ladder from the upper- and middle-class “ladies” who consorted with Brown. Tisdale, for example, compared cruelty associated with trap shooting to that of “market women who take domestic fowls to market. They put them in coops and keep them all day without food, and then if they sell them they wring their necks. If the hon. gentleman had ever seen them wring their necks he would bring in a Bill to prevent market women doing so, and we would have to eat our chickens alive.”47 Liberal MP James Frederick Lister made a similar argument with regard to longstanding provisions against driving animals in a cruel manner:
An old woman driving her geese home at night might be prosecuted under the provisions of this Act by some neighbor who thought she was driving them too fast. Imagine my hon. friend driving home one of his chickens, and that one of his friends, who might be politically opposed to him, should consider that he had committed a violation of this Act and prosecute him.48
That women were rarely if ever prosecuted for cruelty to animals underscores the deliberately absurd terms employed by opponents here to dismiss the movement. But that was only the start. In presenting figures well outside the urban, industrial world that underpinned the animal welfare movement, such rhetoric inversely implied a level of respect for rural women who knew well their place and that of animals in the social order, as compared to upper- and middle-class urban women who did not.
That said, women’s active participation in Canada’s animal welfare movement was stifled to such a degree that the movement’s male leadership often made a better target. In the debates with Brown over trap shooting, critics routinely played on gender to cast the movement in derogatory terms. Tisdale, for example, referred specifically to Adam Brown’s efforts as the work of a “tender hearted,” urban, and effeminate SPCA president and his “ladies.”49 In an effort to amuse the House as much as to attack Brown, he at one point quipped that the signatures collected in support of Brown’s bill came down to the MP’s predatory charm over this trusting, loyal, naive segment of society: “I want to confess honestly that I believe that, if I were a woman, and the hon. gentleman should approach me with his genial manners and beaming smile, I would certainly surrender at discretion.”50
Such tactics took shape outside the walls of Parliament, too. Kelso, for example, was ripe for this kind of critique, given his social activism and his status as one of the most prominent figures in Canada’s animal welfare movement. That critique came within a year of the THS’s formation, when the society’s secretary was the subject of a vociferous personal attack in the Toronto media. “Let the long haired men and short haired women meet and resolute and petition and mix themselves up with other people’s business all they have a mind to. It pleases them and doesn’t hurt me or anyone else that I am aware of,” its author began:
But there is a class of young men who want severely suppressing. It is the young man of very juvenile appearance, undeveloped faculties, expressionless features and with an appetite for the society of old ladies, bread and butter young women, Y. M. C. A. young men and the goody goody class generally . . . When a young man of this description gets a hobby he is an unmitigated nuisance. Very often they keep within moderate bounds, but every once and a while one of the genus flops over and metaphorically spills himself. When he does, Toronto is hardly large enough to hold him.
Such, the author contended, was Kelso, the “secretary of the Humane Society, the General Reformation Society, the Interfere with Everybody’s Business Society, etc., etc., etc.”51 In the lengthy tirade that ensued, Kelso was presented as an effeminate and unreliable leader who received his mandate from women, and whose judgment was no more reliable than theirs.
With that was another telling metaphor, couched in the author’s suggestion that he might “warble a little horse sense” to a simultaneously feminized and now animalized Kelso. That Kelso himself would later resign from his post as THS secretary, due to the “constant interference of Mrs. Grassett” and others who promoted a more radical agenda than his own (he later returned as its vice-president) speaks all the more to the struggles both within and outside the movement to grapple with the conflation of women and radicalism.52
In sum, there is at work in the context of Victorian Canada’s animal welfare movement a discourse that, at its most basic level, presented animals as human, men as women, and women as animals, or at the very least a few rungs down the evolutionary ladder as it applied to the civilized order of things. What is to be made of this?
At first glance, it seems straightforward that women would be prominent in the animal welfare movement in Canada as they were elsewhere during the latter decades of the nineteenth century. That they were not raises a number of issues. From the formation of Canada’s first animal welfare NGOs in the 1860s, women were caught in a paradox. On the one hand, their passion, commitment, and skills in areas of fundraising, organization, networking, and children’s education made them ideal and in many cases vital participants. On the other hand, the stereotypes and opinions associated with them were seen by many of the movement’s more moderate male participants and by opponents of the movement to pose too great a challenge when it came to human–animal relations. As a result, women’s participation in animal welfare was from the start a problem. Overall, those societies in which women participated directly – most notably the Toronto Humane Society – were the more radical of Canada’s animal welfare NGOs. These, however, were the exception. More often, women’s participation was restricted, if not altogether, to the level of auxiliary institutions through which they were able to contribute to the cause but not to shape their parent institutions’ scope or mandate. Such marginalization was further encouraged by the movement’s opponents, who relied on gender-based arguments to present its supporters as irrational and overly emotional. In short, the qualities associated with women that spoke to so many of the movement’s ideals – emotional sensitivity, virtue, kindness, loyalty, instinct, the care of children – ended up speaking against the seriousness with which they might be treated within the movement itself. That these qualities were also employed by the animal welfare movement to elevate animals to quasi-human status is perhaps the greatest irony at hand, inasmuch as they conflated women and the movement’s non-human subjects. In effect, their presumably irrational, radical, inconsistent views meant that women were simply too “wild” to be considered full participants in the movement.
In turn, the range and scope of women’s participation permits us to draw some conclusions about their real and potential impact within the movement. The irony that promoting maternal feminism led many upper- and middle-class women to become active in the public sphere has often been noted.53 In the context of animal welfare, however, the ethics of care and responsibility that were so central to first wave feminism, social purity, and moral reform posed a threat considerable enough that there emerged across the nation a pattern of marginalization that limited the capacity of women to extend their views to animals. For the most part, this involved relegating women to the movement’s educational sphere of activity, to auxiliary institutions, and to fundraising in order to prevent them from setting the movement’s agenda or participating in efforts to deal with enforcement and to shape state legislation and policy – both areas more typically associated with men. The fact that animal welfare NGOs in which women did participate tended toward more extreme views suggests that the Canadian movement would have been more radical had women been able to participate in it more fully. Instead, the pattern that unfolded helped pave the way for a remarkably conservative approach to animal welfare in Canada. Given the degree to which contemporary animal welfare legislation at the federal level can be traced directly to its Victorian contexts, that pattern arguably reverberates today.
As part of their emphasis on the links between women and animals, ecofeminists have long argued that their shared experience of marginalization has contributed as much to women’s identification with animal protection as have the ethics of care and responsibility with which women are so often associated. If the combination of widespread interest and institutional marginalization observed here and in a number of other studies is any indication, these dynamics have long informed the politics of animal welfare and rights. Future studies that explore personal documents such as diaries and letters, that pursue in greater detail discussions in other non-governmental organizations, that look carefully at the authorship of literary and popular texts dealing with animals, or that consider more closely family, education, and community networks, may reveal women to have played a broader role in Canada’s animal welfare movement than presented here. If so, they will underscore further the process of marginalization at work within the movement’s formal organizational networks. And that process speaks in turn to what is perhaps the greatest irony at hand. Despite its position as a nexus that contributed to the development of some of the most important women’s organizations in the nation, the animal welfare movement in nineteenth-century Canada did not provide much of a forum through which women could speak for themselves or for animals.
1 The best examples of this are in the context of antivivisection organizations. See Mary Ann Elston, “Women and Anti-Vivisection in Victorian England, 1870–1900,” Vivisection in Historical Perspective, ed. Nicolaas A. Rupke (London: Routledge, 1990), 259–94; Susan E. Lederer, “The Controversy over Animal Experimentation in America, 1880–1914,” in Rupke, Vivisection in Historical Perspective, 236–58; Coral Lansbury, The Old Brown Dog: Women, Workers, and Vivisection in Edwardian England (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985). For other works dealing specifically with antivivisection see Anita Guerrini, Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 87; Hilda Kean, “‘The Smooth, Cool Men of Science’: The Feminist and Socialist Response to Vivisection,” History Workshop Journal 40 (1995): 16–38; Richard D. French, Antivivisection and Medical Science in Victorian Society (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975). On Canada see J.T.H. Connor, “Cruel Knives? Vivisection and Biomedical Research in Victorian English Canada,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 14, no. 1 (1997): 37–64. On the history of the animal welfare movement in Britain and the United States during the nineteenth century see James Turner, Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980); Brian Harrison, “Animals and the State in Nineteenth-century England,” in Peaceable Kingdom: Stability and Change in Modern Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 82–122; Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987); Hilda Kean, Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800 (London: Reaktion Books, 1998); Diane L. Beers, For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States (Athens, OH: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2006); Susan J. Pearson, The Rights of the Defenseless: Protecting Animals and Children in Gilded Age America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); Bernard Oreste Unti, “The Quality of Mercy: Organized Animal Protection in the United States, 1866–1930” (PhD diss., American University, 2002).
2 Darcy Ingram, “Beastly Measures: Animal Welfare, Civil Society, and State Policy in Victorian Canada,” Journal of Canadian Studies / Revue d’études canadiennes 47, no. 1 (2013): 221–52.
3 A useful summary of these issues is found in Greta Gaard, “Living Interconnections with Animals and Nature,” in Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature, ed. Greta Gaard (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993), 1–12. Carole Gilligan, In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), was key to the development of these ideas. Particularly helpful in establishing the historical framework for these views is Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990). In addition to Gaard’s collection, see Carol J. Adams and Josephine Donovan, eds., Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 1995). See also the recent collection by Carol J. Adams and Lori Gruen, eds., Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014).
4 For a powerful argument regarding the separation of humans and animals during this period see John Berger, “Why Look at Animals?,” in About Looking (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), 1–26. For a challenge to this view see Hilda Kean, “Traces and Representations: Animal Pasts in London’s Present, The London Journal 36, no. 1 (2011): 54–71; and Kean, Animal Rights. On the ubiquity of animals in nineteenth-century Canadian cities see Sean Kheraj, “Living and Working with Domestic Animals in Nineteenth-Century Toronto,” in Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region, ed. L. Anders Sandberg, Stephen Bocking, Colin Coates, and Ken Cruikshank (Hamilton, ON: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, 2013), 120–40; Sean Kheraj, “Demonstration Wildlife: Negotiating the Animal Landscape of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, 1888–1996,” Environment and History 18, no. 4 (2012): 497–527; Turner, Reckoning with the Beast; Harrison, “Animals and the State”; Ritvo, The Animal Estate; Beers, For the Prevention of Cruelty; Pearson, The Rights of the Defenseless; and Unti, “The Quality of Mercy.”
5 Ingram, “Beastly Measures,” 232–34.
6 J. George Hodgins, ed., Aims and Objects of the Toronto Humane Society (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1888); J. George Hodgins, Work Accomplished by the Toronto Humane Society (Toronto: Massey Press, 1892).
7 Christabelle Sethna, “Animal Sex: Purity Education and the Naturalization of the Abstinence Agenda,” Sex Education 10, no. 3 (2010): 267–79. See also J. Keri Cronin, “‘Can’t you talk?’ Voice and Visual Culture in Early Animal Welfare Campaigns,” Early Popular Visual Culture 9, no. 3 (2011): 203–23.
8 Derived from Proverbs 31 and appearing on the cover of the Massachusetts SPCA publication Our Dumb Animals starting in 1868, the motto “We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves” soon became a stock phrase within the movement.
9 Duncan McEachran, “Why Every Student of Veterinary Medicine Should Study Psychology,” Can Animals Reason? Opening Address, Society of Comparative Psychology (Montreal: Gazette Printing Company by Request of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Montreal, 1888).
10 Canadian SPCA. Fourth Annual Report (Montreal: Protestant Institution for Deaf-Mutes, 1873), 1–2.
11 For discussion of women in the context of the movement’s more radical aspects see Elston, “Women and Anti-vivisection in Victorian England, 1870-1900”; Lederer, “The Controversy over Animal Experimentation in America, 1880–1914”; Kean, “‘The Smooth, Cool Men of Science’”; Craig Buettinger, “Women and Antivivisection in Late Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of Social History 30, no. 4 (1997): 857–72; Chien-hui Li, “An Unnatural Alliance? Political Radicalism and the Animal Defence Movement in Late Victorian and Edwardian Britain,” EurAmerica 42, no. 1 (2012): 1–43.
12 Edna Healey, “Coutts, Angela Georgina Burdett-,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition, http://www.oxforddnb.com.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/view/article/32175.
13 Canadian SPCA. Seventh Annual Report (Montreal: Protestant Institution for Deaf-Mutes, 1876), 4.
14 Studies of women within this segment of Montreal society include Bettina Bradbury, Wife to Widow: Lives, Laws, and Politics in Nineteenth Century Montreal (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011; Joanna Dean, Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007); Elizabeth Kirkland, “Mothering Citizens: Elite Women in Montreal 1890–1914” (PhD diss., McGill University, 2012); Janice Harvey, “The Protestant Orphan Asylum and the Montreal Ladies’ Benevolent Society: A Case Study in Protestant Child Charity in Montreal, 1822–1900” (PhD diss., McGill University, 2001).
15 Montreal Ladies’ Educational Association, Report of the Montreal Ladies’ Educational Association: Second Session, 1872–73 (Montreal: Gazette Printing House, 1873).
16 Ontario SPCA, First Annual Report (Toronto: n.p., 1874), 10.
17 Ingram, “Beastly Measures,” 232–33.
18 On the more conservative character of first wave feminism in Canada see Alison Prentice, Paula Bourne, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Beth Light, Wendy Mitchinson, and Naomi Black, Canadian Women: A History (Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), 170.
19 On these three organizations see Sharon A. Cook, Through Sunshine and Shadow: the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Evangelicalism, and Reform in Ontario, 1874–1930 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1995); Nina Mjagkij and Margaret Spratt, Men and Women Adrift: The YMCA and the YWCA in the City (New York: New York University Press, 1997); Veronica Strong-Boag, The Parliament of Women: The National Council of Women of Canada, 1893–1929 (Ottawa: National Museum, 1976). See also Mariana Valverde, The Age of Light, Soap, and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada, 1885–1925 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008).
20 Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty, Ninth Annual Report (Halifax: Morning Herald, 1885), 16; Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty, 11th Annual Report (Halifax, n.p., 1888); “The SPCA: Organization of a Ladies’ Auxiliary,” Halifax Morning Herald, 22 August 1879.
21 Nova Scotia Archives, Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty fonds, MG20 517 1, Minute Book March 1888–February 1907, 8 March 1898, 42.
22 Ibid., MG 20 16, Letter Books, No. 1, September 1877–April 1886, letter to New Brunswick SPCA, 15 November 1881, 337.
23 National Council of Women of Canada, Women of Canada: Their Life and Work (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1900), 390.
24 Toronto Humane Society, Officers of the Toronto Humane Society (Toronto: n.p., 1888).
25 Toronto City Directory for 1888 (Toronto: R. L. Polk & Co., 1888); J. J. Kelso, Early History of the Humane and Children’s Aid Movement in Ontario, 1886–1893 (Toronto: L. K. Cameron, 1911), 15–16.
26 City of Toronto Archives, 1409, Toronto Humane Society Fonds, 147918, Minutes of the Toronto Humane Society, 1887–1906, 30 November 1893, 127; 14 May 1894, 140; 30 May 1895, 179. On the National Council of Women see Strong-Boag, The Parliament of Women. On the workings of Humane Societies during this period see Pearson, The Rights of the Defenseless.
27 Hamilton SPCA, First Annual Report (n.p., 1888).
28 National Council of Women of Canada, Women of Canada, 391. While the Victoria SPCA began in 1888, the society’s fonds at the British Columbia archives indicate that the attempted province-wide association of BCSPCA chapters struggled well into the twentieth century just to stay afloat.
29 Sarah Ritchie was married to Supreme Court Justice Sir William Ritchie; Julia Gwynne was the wife of Supreme Court Justice John Wellington Gwynne.
30 Ottawa Humane Society, Sixth Annual Report, 1893–94 (Ottawa: C.W. Mitchell, 1894); Ottawa Humane Society, Eighth Annual Report, 1895–96 (Ottawa: C.W. Mitchell, 1896); Vivian Astroff, The Humane Society of Ottawa-Carleton: The First 100 Years of Caring for the Abused and Abandoned, 1888–1988 (Ottawa: Humane Society of Ottawa-Carleton, 1888), 91.
31 City of Toronto Archives, 1409 Toronto Humane Society Fonds, 147918, Minutes of the Toronto Humane Society, 1887–1906, 21 March 1895, 175.
32 Though not prominent in THS records after the society’s founding, Smith remained an important voice within the animal welfare movement in Toronto, in particular on vivisection. On his views regarding women’s suffrage see Goldwin Smith, Female Suffrage (London: MacMillan and Co., 1875). On Smith’s antivivisection views see Ingram, “Beastly Measures,” 239; Connor, “Cruel Knives,” 55.
33 Specifically, the Humane Societies based in Toronto, Ottawa, and Winnipeg, and the SPCAs operating out of Montreal, Victoria, and Saint John. See National Council of Women of Canada, Women of Canada, 382–92.
34 James Haverson, “Cat Worshippers,” The World, undated newsclipping, 1891, in Library and Archives Canada (hereafter LAC), MG30, C97, J.J. Kelso fonds, vol. 2, file folder: Diary 1885–1891.
35 A sport that involves shooting pigeons released from cages, trap shooting was the subject of considerable debate in the Anglo-American world during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
36 Political biographies of Brown, Tisdale, and others can be found at the Parliament of Canada website: www.parl.gc.ca.
37 House of Commons, Debates, 6th Parliament, 3rd Session, vol. 27, 20 February 1889 (Ottawa: Brown Chamberlin, 1889).
38 Catherine L. Cleverdon, The Woman Suffrage Movement in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), 105–9.
39 House of Commons. Debates, 6th Parliament, 4th Session, vol. 29, 27 February 1890 (Ottawa: Brown Chamberlin, 1890).
42 Ibid., 12 March 1890.
43 Cleverdon, Woman Suffrage Movement, 110.
44 House of Commons, Debates, 6th Parliament, 4th Session, vol. 29, 12 March 1890.
45 For an overview of this controversy see Anthony N. Penna, Nature’s Bounty: Historical and Modern Environmental Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2015), 97–99.
46 House of Commons, Debates, 7th Parliament, 4th Session, vol. 38, 18 June 1894 (Ottawa: S.E. Dawson, 1894).
47 House of Commons, Debates, 6th Parliament, 3rd Session, vol. 27, 20 February 1889.
49 House of Commons. Debates, 6th Parliament, 4th Session, vol. 29, 27 February 1890.
51 “The Motley Fool.” Life, 26 May 1888, newsclipping in LAC, MG30, C97, J.J. Kelso fonds, vol. 2, file folder: Diary 1885–1891.
52 LAC, MG30, C97, J.J. Kelso fonds, vol. 2, file folder: Diary 1885–1891: June 1891; City of Toronto Archives, 1409, Toronto Humane Society fonds, 147918, Minutes of the Toronto Humane Society, 1887–1906, 21 June 1892, 75
53 For an overview of first wave feminism in Canada see Jacquetta Newman and Linda A. White, Women, Politics, and Public Policy: The Political Struggles of Canadian Women (Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2006), 68–73. See also Cleverdon, Woman Suffrage Movement; Strong-Boag, The Parliament of Women; and Valverde, The Age of Light, Soap, and Water.