Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Animals on trial...

The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals written by Edward Payson Evans seems like a good read. It was originally published in 1906, but amazingly Kessinger Publishing has issued reprints in hard cover and paperback and you can get them on Amazon. Flipping through the online index, I see dozens of legal actions against animals that were brought to trial, most of them with religious or sexual undertones. Page 3: The Church and its tratment of noxious insects as incarnations of Satan. Page 10: A cock was burned at stake for laying eggs. Page 150: A "she-ass" was acquitted of participating in buggery ("the nameless crime") though her human buggerer was not so lucky and was put to death. Page 175: Ram banished to Siberia. And so on... "In Evans's narrative, all creatures great and small have their moment before the bench. Grasshoppers and mice; flies and cater-pillars; roosters, weevils, sheep, horses, turtle doves—each takes its turn in the dock, in many cases represented by counsel; each meets a fate in accordance with precedent, delivered by a duly appointed official," says writer Jeffrey Kastner in a Cabinet magazine article. It's a good thing our animal cousins can't get themselves organized enough to start filing proceedings against us. Can't you just picture Troels Carlsen's monkey attorney in a three piece suit gesturing solemnly to Exhibit A: a McDonald's sign proclaiming in bold yellow letters: "Billions and Billions Served"?

("Ape Savant" by Troels Carlsen)

No comments: