They Call It Puppy Love: 200th Anniversary of Galway Man ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin’s Animal Rights Act

Some 200 years have passed since the world’s first animal welfare law – and it would not have been possible without the work of an Irishman.

Ichard “Humanity Dick” Martin from Galway was the first to introduce animal welfare legislation to the British Parliament.

This dates back to the Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act, also known as Martin’s Law.

The law was introduced in 1822 and outlined “that if a person or persons wantonly and cruelly beat a horse, mare, gelding, mule, donkey, ox, cow, heifer, steer, sheep or other , mistreat or mistreat livestock” the magistrate had the right to issue a warrant.

Many are hoping July 22 will be permanently renamed St. Martin’s Day, with a ceremony taking place outside his former home yesterday.

Mr Martin was also the driving force behind the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which famously called a donkey to testify in court.

Mr Martin was also one of Ireland’s finest duelists, taking part in around 20 duels and earning the nickname ‘Hair-Trigger Dick’.

He also founded Galway’s first theater in 1782.

Peter Phillips, author of Humanity Dick: Animal rights pioneer and feared duelist said: “Mankind embodied Dick Martin and transcended the reigns. Lord of Connemara, but living in bankruptcy, he preferred living off the proceeds of smuggling to charging rent from his tenants.

“With the support of his private army, he protected people and animals alike.” They Call It Puppy Love: 200th Anniversary of Galway Man ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin’s Animal Rights Act

Fry Electronics Team

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