Animals have been with us for thousands of years. Since ancient times humanity has felt the need to think about this relationship. Between the 18th and 19th centuries the traditional distinction between humans and non-humans began to be re-conceptualised, giving rise to the first animal protection movements. During the 19th century, pet-keeping grew significantly, as did the connections between zoophilic activism and women’s emancipation groups. Since then, the coexistence between humans and animals has led to new implications, practices, and morals: the way we look at the issues of animal suffering and our relationship with pets has changed irreversibly.
Giulia Guazzaloca teaches Contemporary History at the University of Bologna.