Can an Animal Commit a Crime? This pioneering work collects an amazing assemblage of court cases in which animals have been named as defendants--chickens, rats, field mice, bees, gnats, and (in 34 recorded instances) pigs, among others-- providing insight into such modern issues as animal rights, capital punishment, and social and criminal theory. Evans suggests an intriguing distinction between trials of specific animals or particular crimes, such as the "murder" of an infant by a pig, and trials for larger, catastrophic events, such as plagues and infestations. In the latter case, Evans suggests a parallel to witchcraft. Edward Payson Evans [1831-1917], a historian, linguist and associate of Ralph Waldo Emerson, taught at the University of Michigan before moving to Germany, where he became a specialist in Oriental languages and German literature. A prolific author, his other Animal-related books are Animal Symbolism in Art and Literature and Animal Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture, both published in 1887. CONTENTS Introduction 1. Bugs and Beasts before the Law 2. Mediaeval and Modern Penology Appendix Bibliography Index"
All over Europe, throughout the Middle Ages and into the 19th century, animals were tried for human crimes. This text traces and documents such trials, providing examples of cases, such as a sow tried for murder, caterpillars charged with theft, a cock burned at the stake for the heinous crime of laying an egg, and others.
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