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Historia Crítica

versão impressa ISSN 0121-1617


OSTOS, Natascha Stefania Carvalho de. “Why Must We be Kind to Animals?” The Practical and Moral Training of Brazilians by Discourses on the Protection of Animals (1930-1939). hist.crit. [online]. 2019, n.71, pp.49-68. ISSN 0121-1617.


This article analyzes the development of the Sociedade União Infantil Protetora dos Animais, through its magazine Amigo dos Animais, published by that organization throughout the 1930’s. The organization was founded in a context where there was more and more of a commitment to the cause of the animals in Brazil, marked by the work of such animal protection societies, the passing of the first federal law for the protection of animals in 1934 and the growing interest in the subject on the part of the press and public opinion.


Environmental History is a field of research which is already well established in Latin America. However, the branch of it which is devoted to the History of Animals has been little explored, especially in Brazil, and requires more attention from scholars. This article investigates the work of groups devoted to the protection of animals, a subject which has been practically ignored in Brazilian historiography, and it makes use of a publication which has not been previously consulted either, the magazine Amigo dos Animais.


This investigation favors the representational focus on animals, with an analysis of the work and discourses of the Sociedade União Infantil Protetora dos Animais. We believe that the actions and narratives which create the symbolic animal uphold a tense relation with what is called the “real” animal, moving between a dependence on materiality and a resort to the imagination.


This study shows that by contending with the categories of man and animal, the pronouncements of the animal protection society were shot through with contradictions which always revealed the wavering nature of these concepts. We provide evidence of how the defense of animals also roused ethical and political dilemmas, since it implied a need to choose what the limits of that protection would be.

Palavras-chave : Brazil; animals; press; societies for the protection of animals.

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