A place for the animal dead: Pets, pet cemeteries and animal ethics in late Victorian Britain

Ethics, Place and Environment 5 (1):5 – 22 (2002)
Abstract
The recent 'animal turn' in geography has contributed to a critical examination of the inseparable geographies of human and non-human animals, and has a clear ethical dimension. This paper is intended to explore these same ethical issues through a consideration of the historical geography of petkeeping as this relates to the death and commemoration of favourite household animals. The emergence of the pet cemetery, towards the end of the 19th century, is a significant step in itself, but this was only one element in a radical reappraisal of the place of non-human animals in human sensibility and spirituality. For some bereaved pet-owners, the old question of the immortality of animal souls was retrieved and transformed, and sustained by a raft of unorthodox theological and spiritual speculation. The significance of this late Victorian and Edwardian response to non-human animals is assessed and treated as a problem of ethics, as a counterweight to the dominant anthropocentrism of past times and ours.
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