Skip to navigation – Site map

HomeNuméros42-3/4ArticlesLa zoophilie dans ses rapports à ...


La zoophilie dans ses rapports à la philanthropie, en France, au XIXe siècle

Éric Pierre


In France, the young Society for the protection of animals (it was founded en 1845), is very soon criticised for a supposed incompatibility between the compassion for animals and the pitiful feelings that should be expressed towards human creatures. The reproach made to the protectors of animals is a lack of sensitivity for the sufferings of their human brothers, and indifference to their poverty and their misery. The protectors retort by proclaiming their compassion for human beings or animals as a same and unique feeling. Some claim that "zoophily" is a branch of philanthropy.
But the Parisian SPA counts among its members men of various opinions. Around 1850-1860, if some of its members accept and even claim their link with philanthropy, with all the supposed ideological and political connotations, others base their involment in the animal protection on Christian charity. But, whatever their motivations, they carry out a kind of protection directed towards economical development and moral improvement of human beings.
Later, around 1880, a second type of animal protection appears, rather centred on the interests of animals. More radical, but also only shared by a minority of members, this protection is in some of its forms relatively remote from human concerns, and can, more easily, be accused, by its opponents, of indifference to the human sufferings. Finally, at the beginning of the XXth century, after several recompositions of the movement for the protection of animals, the successive governors of the SPA reassert that animal protection is a part of philanthropy, but it is a new kind of philanthropy then, with a different and more consensual signification.

Top of page

Index terms

Mots-clés :


Chronologique :

XIXe siècle
Top of page


Electronic reference

Éric Pierre, « La zoophilie dans ses rapports à la philanthropie, en France, au XIXe siècle », Cahiers d'histoire [Online], 42-3/4 | 1997, Online since , connection on 21 June 2021. URL : ; DOI :

Top of page

About the author

Éric Pierre

Top of page


© Tous droits réservés

Top of page
  • OpenEdition Journals
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search