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Three— The Animal Connection*
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The Animal Connection*

Harriet Ritvo

The dichotomy between humans and animals—or man and beast, as it used to be called—is so old and automatic that we scarcely notice it. It was enshrined near the beginning of our tradition, in the second chapter of Genesis, when God presented the animals to Adam one by one, in the vain hope that one of them would prove a fit helpmeet for him. In the end, of course, none of them would do, and God had to provide Adam with a creature more like himself.[1] At least since then, the notion that animals are radically other, on the far side of an unbridgeable chasm constructed by their lack of either reason or soul, has been a constant feature of Western theology and philosophy.[2] It has completely overshadowed the most readily available alternative, which would define human beings as one animal kind among many others.

And the advent of modern science has not made much difference. Most scientific research about animals has been founded on the assumption that they constitute a distinct class to which human beings do not belong. Thus, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century zoologists were confident that "the prerogative of reason," which animals lacked, distinguished humanity "as . . . intended for higher duties, and a more exalted destiny."[3] This confidence insulated them from the implications of such disquieting recognitions as the following, taken from an early Victorian zoological popularizer: "When we turn our attention to Mammalia . . . we find some startling us by forms and actios so much resembling our own, as to excite unpleasant comparisons."[4] Nor did Charled Darwin's formulations necessarily change things. The gap between humans and animals remained axiomatic even, or perhaps especially, in fields like comparative psychology, which focused on the kinds of intellectual and emotional qualities that were also assumed to distinguish us as a species.


George Romanes, a pioneer in such research and the friend and protégé of Darwin, tried to quantify this discontinuity in a book entitled Mental Evolution in Animals, published in 1883. It included a graphic scale of emotional and intellectual development, presented as a ladder with fifty steps. Civilized human adults, capable of "reflection and selfconscious thought," were at the top. Then there was a large hiatus. The highest animals were anthropoid apes and dogs, which Romanes considered capable of "indefinite morality" as well as shame, remorse, deceitfulness, and a sense of the ludicrous. They occupied step 28, along with human infants of fifteen months. Close behind them, on step 25, were birds, which could recognize pictures, understand word, and feel terror; and they were followed on step 24 by bees and ants, which could communicate ideas and feel sympathy.[5] The details of this schematization sound quaint now, but its underlying taxonomy, which defines humans and animals as separate and equivalent categories on the basis of their intellectual, spiritual, and emotional capacities, continued to determine the course of research on animal behavior for the succeeding century. As Donald Griffin, a contemporary critic of this taxonomy, has pointed out. "Throughout our educational system students are taught that it is unscientific to ask what an animal thinks or feels . . . [and] field naturalists are reluctant to report or analyze observations of animal behavior that suggest conscious awareness . . . lest they be judged uncritical, or even ostracized from the scientific community."[6]

Although the dichotomy between humans and animals is an intellectual construction that begs a very important question, we are not apt to see it in that light unless it is challenged. And serious challenges have proved difficult to mount. Those who have based their thinking on the uniqueness of our species (i.e., its uniqueness in a different sense than that in which every species is unique) have often resisted even the attempt to make the dichotomy controversial. The scientific consensus cited by Griffin exemplifies entrenched institutional reluctance to acknowledge that an alternative taxonomy might be possible. An analogous refusal by philosopher Robert Nozick structured his review, which appeared several years ago in the New York Times Book Review, of Tom Regan's The Case for Animal Rights . Instead of grappling seriously with Regan's carefully worked out and elaborately researched argument, Nozick simply dismissed it by asserting that animals are not human and therefore cannot possibly have any rights. That is, he claimed that Regan had made a crippling category mistake by failing to recognize the insuperable barrier that separated humans from all other creatures and that it was therefore not necessary to think seriously about anything else that he said.[7] Such views are not confined to scholars and scientists; so, despite its evasiveness, Nozick's stratagem is unlikely to have bothered


many of his readers. Recent research suggests that most ordinary Americans explicitly endorse the dichotomy that Nozick postulates, whatever else they may think or feel about animals, for example, whether or not they like them, or whether they wish to protect them or to exploit them.[8]

But this repeatedly avowd taxonomy is not the whole story, either about the relationship of human beings to other species or about the way that people have perceived and interpreted that relationship. There are other indexes of belief and understanding than explicit declarations. In the case of other animals, and especially the mammalian species that human beings resemble most closely, the explicit denial of continuity may paradoxically have freed people to articulate, in a veiled and unselfconscious way, their competing sense of similarity and connection. A lot of evidence suggests that when people are not trying to deny that humans and animals belong to the same moral and intellectual continuum, they automatically assume that they do. Discourses that seem to refer exclusively to animals are frequently shaped by cultural constructions clearly derived from human society, even in the scientific and technological fields where it might seem that such constructions would be counterproductive, out of place, and easy to identify and discard. The consequences of this unacknowledged connection have often been enormous, even in the behavioral sciences most strongly committed to reinforcing the dichotomy between humans and animals. Thus, it is no accident that the baboon studies published by S. L. Washburn and Irven DeVore in the 1950s and 1960s stressed the importance of male dominance hierarchies. Analogously, the research undertaken by the increasing number of female primatologists in the past two decades has emphasized the extent to which female primates aggressively manage their own reproductive careers, radically revising earlier characterizations of them as sexually passive and even "coy."[9]

thus animal-related discourse has often functioned as an extended, if unacknowledged metonymy, offering participants a concealed forum for the expression of opinions and worries imported from the human cultural arena. Indeed, much of what people—experts of one sort or another—have said about animals can only be explained in this context. Thus, the foregoing examples from the recent history of primatology suggest how social or political ideology can determine the research agenda of scientists. But these examples may seem too easy. After all, despite the explicit professional commitment of primatologists not to anthropomorphize the animals they study, those creatures are of special interest exactly because of their closeness to humankind. They are obvious targets for projection, as are the extinct pongide and hominids whose fossil remains are interpreted by students of human origins.[10]

It is, however, possible to find evidence that the same intellectual and


cultural preconceptions shape discourses that, on the face of it, look much less promising. One such discourse informs the literature of animal breeding that emerged in late eighteenth-century Britain and developed and flourished throughout the next century. The ostensible subjects of this discourse—horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, dogs, and cats—share far fewer characteristics with human beings than do apes, monkeys, and australopithecines; its participants were concerned with practical results, rather than with anything so abstract and potentially tendentious as the increase of knowledge or the development of theory.

The flavor of this literature—both its tone and its content—is more easily demonstrated by excerpts than by general characterization. The following selections touch in various ways on the relations between the sexes, a subject that was crucial to successful animal husbandry; they also make assertions that are difficult to understand with reference only to the exigencies of stock breeding. In 1828, the author of an article that appeared in the Farrier and Naturalist, a livestock-oriented journal, asked, "What is . . . the part of the female in the great act of reproduction?" He answered his own question, "When the male predominates by his vigour, his constitution, and his health, she is limited, in some measure, to perform the same office that the earth does for vegetables . . . nothing more than a receptacle, in which are deposited the seeds of generation."[11] A few years later, William Youatt, the most distinguished British veterinarian of the early Victorian period and a prolific writer on domestic animals, recounted the following story as an illustration of the need to control the imagination of "even so dull a beast as the cow": a certain cow "chanced to come in season, while pasturing on a field . . . out of which an ox jumped, and went with the cow, until she was brought home to the bull. The ox was white, with black spots, and horned. Mr. Mustard [the owner of the cow] had not a horned beast in his possession, nor one with any white on it. Nevertheless, the produce of the following spring was a black and white calf with horns."[12] Early in the twentieth century, Judith Neville Lytton, a prominent if iconoclastic and combative member of the toy dog fancy, suggested the following remedy for barreness in prize bitches: "In desperate cases . . . try the old . . . recipe of breeding to a thorough cur. . . . If the bitch breeds to this connection . . . the next time the bitch is put to a thoroughbred dog she will almost certainly breed to him. . . . The more . . . highly bred the bitch is, the more likely this is to succeed."[13]

Each of these statements depended on assumptions not only obviously false in the light of modern science but also subject to persuasive contradiction on the basis of accumulated practical experience that was widely available in the nineteenth century. Each statement uses, applied to the activities of domestic animals, language ordinarily reserved to describe


human social intercourse. Why, then, did experts—the very people who should have access to the most enlightened thought and the widest information—hold these opinions (or believe these facts, as they would have put it), and why did they express them in this way? It is likely that both the form and the content of these excerpts were determined by the exigencies of human gender stereotypes rather than by those of applied biology.

This was the case even though animal husbandry was a quintessentially earthbound pursuit, constrained by physicality and detail on every side. It had no obvious connection to the stakes at issue in any arena of human social discourse, including that of gender. Certainly, the techniques used to breed animals were very different from those used to breed people. The results of breeding were highly concrete, and they were usually presented to the general public in the stripped-down terms of cash value. Given all this, it would be reasonable to assume that breeders' understanding of their craft would be structured by empirical rather than rhetorical considerations. Yet what they said about their cattle, sheep, and dogs was strongly conditioned by their views about the nature of human beings, especially women.

This assertion may seem particularly surprising because, by the nineteenth century, the breeding of pedigreed animals had become a highly technical and specialized endeavor, whether it was carried on by professional agriculturalists interested in producing improved farm livestock or by self-professed amateurs who concentrated on dogs, cats, and such smaller animals as guinea pigs, rabbits, and poultry. It was crudely materialistic in its explicit aims. Since the primary goal of all breeders was to produce superior young animals, the crucial focus of their attention was the selection of healthy and appropriately endowed parents for the new generation. Several factors encouraged them to be as pragmatic as possible in their matchmaking decisions.

In the first place, mistakes were easy to spot. Stringent standards existed for almost every king of animal that was frequently bred, and these standards were widely disseminated in handbooks, prints, and periodicals and vigorously enforced by show judges and by the marketplace in which animals were brought and sold by knolwedgeable fanciers. (There were occasional exceptions to this rule of consensus and conformity, the most notable being the pig, which seemed so gross and amorphous that breeders had trouble figuring out what an ideal animal should be like.)[14] These frequently reiterated standards meant that the inferiority of the offspring of ill-considered pairings would sooner or later become obvious—perhaps at birth, but certainly by the time they reached maturity. In addition, breeding was an expensive pursuit—absolutely expensive in the case of the larger animals, which could cost


hundreds and even thousands of pounds to purchase and then to maintain in an appropriate style, and relatively expensive in the case of the smaller ones. Any pregnancy risked the life of the mother, and each successful pregnancy consumed a significant portion of her reproductive potential. Owners of valuable female animals had to expend this limited resource very carefully.

In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the expertise of breeders produced some impressive results. (This seems true even though recent historians have persuasively modified the most extravagant claims made by participants in the Agricultural Revolution and their subsequent admirers.)[15] The earlier and most celebrated achievement of English animal breeding was the modern thoroughbred racehorse, which appeared toward the beginning of the eighteenth century as the result of an infusion of Arabian blood into native English equine stock. The merit of such horses was easily measured on the track. By the middle of the eighteenth century, agriculturalists were applying the techniques developed by racehorse breeders to farm livestock, with consequent impressive increases in the size, most notably, of cattle and sheep but also of pigs and draft horses. And the nineteenth century saw a related explosion in the diversity of fancy animals. Most modern dog breeds originated then, despite the calims of greater qntiquity made by some aficionados; the same was true for cats, rodents, and the diverse starins of pigeons that Darwin studied.

This record of serious animal husbandry in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain thus seems to be one of straightforward, quantifiable, pragmatically oriented achievement. New methods were developed—albeit mostly through trail and error, rather than as a result of systematic theorizing—and carefully applied, with predictably impressive results. This was the way the master breeders themselves understood their accomplishments, as documented in their published reflections on their craft. Such reflections usually took one of two forms: advice to beginners or records of particular successes for the edification of posterity. Authors working in both genres suggested that the complex procedures they described could be rather mechanically applied either to the improvement of whole breeds by those at the forefront of husbandry or to the imitation of such results by breeders content to follow modestly in paths blazed by others. Thus, one early Victorian manual for sheep breeders confidently associated the method with the result, asserting that "there cannot be a more certain sign of the rapid advanced of a people in civilization and prosperity, than increasing attention to the improvement of livestock"; in a related vein, an earlier agricultural treatise had assured readers that "the perfecting stock already well-bred is a pleasant, short and easy task."[16] At the end


of the century, the author of a handbook for cat fanciers similarly suggested that good results would follow the methodical application of expertise: "[mating] requires . . . careful consideration, and . . . experience and theory join hands, while the knowledge of the naturalist and fancier is of . . . superlative value."[17] Pedigree charts, the ubiquitous schematic representations of the results of animal breeding, also corroborated this rather mechanical sense of what the enterprise involved.

When their discussions of animal breeding became more specific, however, the experts tended to retreat from their assertive self-confidence. Neither method or knowledge, even when operating on cats of impeccable pedigree and robust health, could assure "anything like certainty," according to the expert just cited.[18] Manuals for breeders of cattle, sheep, and horses often warned novices not to attempt to produce the kinds of animals that won prizes at national shows, because of the difficulty, risk, and expense involved. Thus, when closely scrutinized, animal breeding no longer seemed merely a mechanical, if complex, technical procedure but was implicitly redefined as a more ambiguous and impressionistic activity. And the more precisely the instructions were articulated, the more confusing they became. Often experts raised issues or offered advice that was irrelevant to the achievement of their stated aims, or even counterproductive. Old and widely recognized canards were ritually chewed over for decades after they had been persuasively discredited.

An explanation might strees the unimaginative and derivative nature of many of these works, which occupied the borderline between technical and popular writing, or it might focus on the conservatism inherent in many fields of applied and popularized technology. And there is doubtless some truth to both of these possibilities. But the curious or anomalous elements in the discourse of animal breeding can be more fully explained if that discourse is also viewed as an arena for the discussion of human gender issues. In a way, it was an extremely obvious focus for each concerns. After all, the central task of breeders was to manage sexual relations of their animals. This task often posed challenges beyond the merely intellectual problem of deciding which ones to pair up. The fact that the participants in this discourse were unaware of its double function merely allowed them to air their views and worries more directly.

In making their decisions about which animals to pair, breeders selected parents on the basis of both their individual quality (i.e., the extent to which they possessed the characteristics that were desired in their offspring) and a set of general notions about the way that the transmission of such characteristics took place. For most of the nineteenth century, there were few authoritative constraints on such ideas. Despite the


claims of scienticity that agriculturalists had made since the beginning of the eighteenth-century vogue for improvement, few of them and even fewer breeders of small animals belonged to the scientific community; the works of popular natural history that they were most likely to encounter did not deal with the questions of reproductive physiology that engaged some elite biologists. And even if breeders had been aware of the most advanced contemporary research on reproduction, they could not easily have applied its results to their enterprise.

Although it was clear to scientists, as it was to breeders, that sexual intercourse was necessary if the higher animals were to reproduce, there was no expert consensus until late in the nineteenth century about why this was so.[19] That is, the modern understanding of the balanced contribution of sperm and egg to the development of a new organism was unavailable to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century animal breeders. Without this knowledge, they were free to predict and interpret the results of their breeding ventures with reference only to their own experience. That experience was vast and, indeed, considered extremely valuable by ope-minded scientists like Charles Darwin.[20] It also turned out to include breeders' attitudes toward other people, as well as their observations of generations of animals.[21]

Many eighteenth- anc nineteenth-century theories of reproduction presented it as the gradual enlargment and development of a tiny but complete seed, but scientists who adhered to this viewpoint were divided about whether that seed was contributed by the male or the female. Animal breeders, however, were of one mind about this question. Many, like the author of the Farrier and Naturalist article quoted earlier, defined the female parent as a mere receptacle. One expert, faced with explaining why, in this case, it was not "an easy thing to produce at once very perfect animals, provided that males of the right form could be obtained," preferred not to posit the mother as a significant source of variation. Instead, he had recourse to the fact that "the offspring will, to a greater or lesser extent, partake of the form and structure of the grandparents [i.e., the grandfathers]." And even if such an absolute assertion of male dominance needed modification in view of the obvious tendency of young animals to resemble both their parents, breeding experts still reserved the more vigorous genetic role for the stud. The imagery of activity and passivity remained useful in the modified case; it suggested, for example that "the male gives the locomotive, and the female the vital organs."[22]

The preponderance of male influence never escaped the attention of writers on these subjects for long, even if they had been momentarily diverted by the need to comment on females. For example, a reminder that "without first class females the descendants will not shine . . . in the


show yard" was predictably accompanied by the acknowledgment that "it must not be forgotten that the male has most influence in breeding."[23] The only situations in which it was generally considered that the female might disproportionately determine the results of procreation were those which introduced a different, and also powerful, cultural construct. Social superiority—that is, the terms of animal husbandry, a more distinguished pedigree—might tip the scales in the direction of the female. As Youatt pointed out, the influence of "a highly bred cow will preponderate over that of the half-bred bull."[24] Since such exceptional circumstances could only result from extreme negligence or ignorance on the part of the breeder, however, they did not have to be incorporated into receive wisdom. In general, breeders were advised to proceed on the assumption that "not only . . . is the male parent . . . cpable of most speedily improved the breed of livestock . . ., but . . . the male is the parent, from motives of sense and sound polity, which we can alone look to for the improvement of our breed."[25]

Perhaps it was to maintain this strong differentation in reproductive roles that cattle show judges were adjured to assess bulls "as males and not as females" and cows "as females and not as males." The telltale signs were admittedly difficult for even first-class judges to detect—not the obvious things but subtle variations in such unlikely features as the conformation of head and horns. But the stakes were considered high enough to justify the trouble, especially where bulls were concerned. According to one veteran cattle breeder, "effeminacy in the male must be shunned as the most deadly poison."[26]

The principles that guided the production of livestock animals were routinely applied to pet species. The author of a late Citorian cat breeding manual assured his readers that "the outward characteristics are in great measure transmitted by the male cat."[27] Nor did the advance of biological knowledge necessarily shake the faith of animal breeders in their time-tested principles. Instead, as it became available, the jargon of science could be appropriated to the service of the conventional understanding of animal reproduction. Everett Millais, one of the most prominent dog fanciers of the late nineteenth century, translated it into the new terminology as follows: "that the male . . . does influence the epiblastic and mesoblastic structures largely, and all out of proportion to the female is undoubted."[28]

So powerful was the influence attributed to at least some males, it was even believed that they could determine the character of offspring in the conception of which they had had no part. That is, they might gain access to the reproductive organs through the eyes of receptive females, as well as in the ordinary way. As a result, breeders anxious to preserve the purity and the quality of their stock had to guard the minds as well as


the bodies of their impressionable female animals from such undesirable approaches. It went without saying that females would be both unable and disinclined to resist them. In short, females could not be trusted with the preservation of their own virtue, even on the level of imagination. Mr. Mustard's cow, referred to earlier, offered an extreme example of the feminine susceptibility posited by this view of relations between the sexes. The off-breed ox that jumped into her pasture when she was in heat was not even completely male—that is, he had been castrated and therefore rendered incapable of procreation—but, even so, he apparently left this make on the calf she subsequently conceived after intercourse with the properly pedigreed bull selected by her owner.

If females of a relatively stolid species were so susceptible to the influence of random males, it was not surprising that female dogs, which were considered both more intelligent and more excitable, had to be guarded still more closely. Breeders agreed that the animals they termed maiden bitches were particularly vulnerable to such external stimuli and advised that "due influence should be exercised in the thorough isolation of bitches . . . or more than a temporary evil and disappointment may occur."[29] But more experienced bitches were also at risk, and beginning breeders were warned that "even very close intimacy between a bitch during oestrum and a dog she fancies may influence the progeny, although the dog has not warded her."[30]

The struggles between bitches and breeders were described in terms that evoked stubborn daughters in romantic narratives who refused to accept their fathers' choice of suitors. Hugh Dalziel, who wrote about a variety of Victorian dog breeds, once owned a Dandie Dinmont terrier whose wayward emotions made her useless for breeding; she "became enamoured with a deerhound, and positively would not submit to be served by a dog of her own breed." Even bitches who were more compliant might defeat their owners' purposes. Delabere Blaine, sometimes known as "the father of canine pathology," had a pug bitch whose constant companion was a white spaniel. All her litters were sired by pedigreed pugs, and all consisted of undeniably pug puppies, but one in each batch was white, a color that was rare and not desirable in that breed.[31]

Recognizing that it was useless to fight against such a predilection, one prolific breeder of dogs and cats who confessed that he would allows his champion studs to serve almost any female whose owner could pay the fee made one of his rare refusals in the case of a bitch that had "already formed an attachment to a dog of a meaner breed."[32] Such inclinations were fairly common among bitches, who were likely to implement them by stubbornly resisting their owners' prudent attempts to cloister them. The author of manuals frequently warned novice breeders that bitches in heat would make unimaginably subtle and persistent attempts to es-


cape from whatever quarters they were confined in. But it was necessary to persevere in thwartint them, because the stakes at risk in the preservation of female purity were high. A match with an inappropriate partner, especially in the case of a virgin animal, was held to have consequences far beyond the issue of that particular mating, as if a female's first sexual partner in some sense established a permanent proprietorship over her reproductive capacities.

Although it was, as one late-nineteenth-century kennel expert admitted, "an exceedingly rare phenomenon," which was difficult to verify, many breeders continued to believe in what was usually called "the influence of the previous sire" but was sometimes dignified by the scientific-sounding term "telegony."[33] The midcentury author of a scientific treatise on agriculture summarized this doctrine as follows: "The effect of the first male is so great as to cause all the animals that female shall afterward give birth to, in a more or less degree, to resemble that by which the female was first impregnated." He chose to illustrate this doctrine with the story of a chestnut mare whose original mate was a quagga (a relative or variety of the zebra that became extinct late in the nineteenth century), and all of whose subsequent offspring were striped, even though all but the first resulted from her union with a black stallion.[34] The breeding literature teemed with similar examples of the dire consequences of letting females slip even once from the straight and narrow. The appearance of spotted puppies in a litter produced by two prize for terriers was explained by the fact that the sire of the bitch's previous litter had been a dalmatian.[35] Of kittens of "a good Persian sire and dam" who nevertheless appeared "remarkably poor specimens . . . what might be called half-breeds," a late Victorian cat fancier said that "I can only attribute this to the blue female having twice strayed from the paths of virtue previous to the attentions of the prize-winning Persian."[36]

Despite their frequent appearance in the breeding literature, instances of the influence of the previous sire seemed to occur only at widely spaced intervals in real life. The cases just recounted, for example, were thirdhand at best. Even in the earlier literature, therefore, authors sometimes gingerly noted that there might be ground on which to question this principle. The more scientists discovered about how reproduction actually worked, the harder it became for breeders to identify a mechanism that would account for such anomalies. They nevertheless clung tenaciously to this doctrine, perhaps because, weak though it might be as a predictor of the results of unsanctioned animal unions, it precisely expressed the metaphorical consequences of such lapses by human females. Even the most sophisticated experts hesitated to dismiss completely the possibility of influence or, as it might be more forth-


rightly expressed, contamination or infection by a female animal's first mate. At most, they might suggest that such occurrences were sufficiently rare that breeders did not need to worry about them. Thus, Neville Lytton, ordinarily impatient with the shibboleths of her fellow fanciers, conceded that "I am inclined to think [it] does occasionally happen," but she asserted that "it happens so seldom that no one has ever beey able to collect evidence enough to prove. In any case it would only affect isolated individuals, and probably only as to a single character, . . . [and so] . . . I do not think breeders need trouble themselves about so small a matter as the possible influence of a previous sire on a single puppy."[37]

In addition to jeopardizing the quality (or legitimacy) of future offspring, the tendency of female animals to follow their own sexual inclinations was perceived to pose less concrete but perhaps equally troublesome threats. Although an occasional authority might compassionately recommend indulging the desires of bitches that were "highly fed . . . [and] living luxuriously, as a means of using up their excess stock of material," an interest in sex for its own sake rather than as a means to procreation was considered an indication of depraved character.[38] The behavior of bitches, in particular, confirmed the worst male fears about female proclivities. Although a single copulation might have sufficed for pregnancy, bitches would wantonly continue to accept new partners as long as they were in heat; connected with this unseemly pursuit of pleasure was a culpable indifference to its providers. One early nineteenth-century sportsman complained that "no convincing proof of satiety is ever displayed . . . and she presents herself equally to all," with the result that the largest of her suitors "is generally brought into action." He noted with some satisfaction, however, that oversexed bitches might pay for their failure to prefer refinement to brute strength; many died while bringing forth too-large puppies.[39]

According to other authorities, however, this unmatronly behavior might harm the offspring rather than the mother. In the dog, as in some other animals that routinely give birth to multiple offspring, it is possible for a single litter to have more than one father. Breeding authorities referred to this phenomenon as 'superfoetation," a technical term that made it sound like an aberration or a disease. As even the possibility of this occurrence would jeopardize the pedigree of the resulting litter, aspiring breeders were strongly advised that "for at least a week after the bitch has visited the dog, the precautions for isolating her must not be relaxed, or all her owner's hopes may be marred."[40] But social stigma and unwelcome half-siblings were not the only ills that newly conceived pedigreed purppies might sustain as a result of their mothers' licentiousness. Dalziel suggested that during or after an unsanctioned and unneces-


sary second copulation, "excessive pain, terror, or other strong emotions, may affect the unborn pups."[41]

In other species, too, interest in copulation for its own sake signaled the weakness of female character. A late-eighteenth-century agriculturalist criticized the female ass for being "full as lascivious" as the male, which he claimed made her "a bad breeder, ejecting again the seminal fluid she has just received in coition, unless the sensation of pleasure be immediately removed by loading her with blows." Similarly, he condemned the sow, who "may be said to be in heat at all times; and even when she is pregnant she seeks the board, which, among animals, may be deemed an excess." An edifying contrast, he pointed out, was offered by the demure behavior of cows, which, once pregnant, "will not suffer the bull to approach them."[42]

In males, however, eagerness to copulate was matter for praise. The he-goat was admired as "no despicable animal . . . so very vigorous . . . that one will be sufficient for above a hundred and fifty she-goats."[43] Breeders agreed that the only reason to curt the enthusiasm of studs was physical rather than moral, since too-frequent copulation was feared to undermine the constitution of both sire and offspring. Thus, one authority on horses complained that "our test stallion . . . cover too many mares in one season; and this is the reason why they get so few good colts"; another advised against pasturing a stallion with a herd of mares because in this situation "in six weeks, [he] will do himself more damage than in several years by moderate exercise."[44] Similarly, one expert on pedigreed dogs warned, "If you possess a champion dog . . . do not be tempted to stud him too much, or you may kill the goose which lays the eggs of gold. One bitch a fortnight is about as much as any dog can do, to have good stock and retain his constitution."[45]

Despite the need to practice such precise accounting, the sexual management of male animals was much simpler than that of females. In the company of a suitable partner, bulls, stallions, dogs, boars, and rams ordinarily did just what was expected of them. But even after breeders had presented their female animal to a suitable male in the required receptive and unsullied condition, their cares were not over. At that point, the female might decide to exercise an inappropriate veto power, offering an unmistakable challenge to the authority of her owner. After all, in an enterprise dedicated to the production of offspring, too much reluctance was as bad as too little, and resistance of legitimate authority was as unfeminine as proscribed sexual enjoyment.

The terms in which breeder described such insubordination expressed not only the anger it provoked but the extent to which that anger reflected worries about sexual subordination within their own species. Some categories of females were viewed with special suspicison. For exam-


ple, bitches of the larger breeds, whose physical endowments commanded respect whether or not they were feeling refractory, had "to be taped or muzzled . . . to prevent either yourself or the dog from being bitten." Maiden bitches, too, were "generally a great annoyance from first to last." Their coyness might have to be countracted with coercion, although breeders were cautined to remember, "not too much."[46] But almost any kind of bitch might evince reluctance when confronted with a prospective made not of her ow choosig, in which case, she could be castigated as "troublesome," "morose," or even "savage."[47] The prescribed remedy was "hard exercise, until the bitch is thoroughly exhausted"; often this would "reduce a tiresome animal to submission." Bitches that reflused to particpate willingly at this point provoked their owners to severer measures—measures that again recalled the clichés of romantic fiction. They might be "drugged with some narcotic," or, in the most serious cases of insubordination, the male dog and the human breeder might cooperate in what was referred to as a "forced service."[48]

The technical discourse of animal husbandry clearly reflected contemporary concerns about human gender relations, even though the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century breeders of domesticated animals were not explicitly aware of this subtext as they shared their practical wisdom and rehearsed their triumphs. But they would not have made the same claims about the nature of their animals or used the same language to describe bovine and canine inclinations and behavior if they had not implicitly assumed an identity between human nature and animal nature—an identity they would certaily have denied if they had been asked about it directly. From the perspective of the late twentieth century, this particular conflation of the human social world with that of domestic animals is easy to criticize. Their projection of human social constructions onto animal mating habits led breeders astray in some practical senses, introducing inefficiency along with misunderstanding and error. And it expressed a view of gender relations that seems both incorrect and objectionable by contemporary standards. But it is hard not to feel that by placing people among the other animals, breeders also implicitly acknowledged an underlying truth, one that human beings have traditionally striven to deny, no less today than in the past.

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Three— The Animal Connection*
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