Martin's Act at 200  By  cover art

Martin's Act at 200

By: Alex Lockwood
  • Summary

  • The Martin’s Act at 200 radio documentary is a collaborative endeavor between Martin Rowe and the Culture & Animals Foundation and the writer Alex Lockwood. Episodes 1-3 were produced by Ryan Rhodes, with the voice talent of Ryan Rhodes, Ben Hunt, Sharon Eckman, EvaMarie Lindahl, Daneet Steffens, and Richard Martin MP dramatized by the one and only Peter Egan.

    Our ambition in marking the bicentenary of Martin’s Act is to chart its history and legacy, and to generate new thinking and debate on the future of human–animal relations especially in regard to animals and the law. Join us as we speak to artists, activists, academics and others in charting a new path toward our just and sustainable future.

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    Culture and Animals Foundation
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  • Martin's Act at 200 Trailer
    Jul 8 2022

    It’s 1822. In London, England, the city’s population is growing by the thousands. To feed them, sheep and cows from as far away as Scotland are driven through the streets to Smithfield meat market to be slaughtered. To entertain the workers in the new factories, bears, bulls and badgers are baited with dogs, sometimes for weeks.


    In Westminster, at the seat of government, a group of politicians is plotting something that has never been done before. These wealthy but compassionate men—women won’t get the vote for another 100 years—have tried and failed in their task many times already. But they are not discouraged. Their goal? To bring about a new, almost unimaginable law. One that will change our understanding of the world.


    This is Martin’s Act at 200, an audio documentary about a group of people who couldn’t bear injustice and cruelty to animals—some animals at least—to overturn thousands of years of history in which the law was meant to protect humans only, and make animals property. This is the story of how the first piece of legislation for animals, known as Martin’s Act after its sponsor Richard ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin, came about two hundred years ago this year, and what its legacy means for animals today, around the world, and in our collective future.


    This landmark law transformed not just the streets of London, but the very way we think about animals, and about the law as a tool to afford them protection and, perhaps even, rights.

    Join us in this series as we talk to activists, artists, academics and experts who have devoted their lives to working for animals. This documentary is part of the Chart2050 project, a two year exploration of the past, present and future of animal advocacy and protection.


    Martin’s Act at 200 is coming July 22 and is a production of the Culture and Animals Foundation. Subscribe now at Apple or Google podcasts, or via our website

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    3 mins
  • Episode 1: Origins
    Jul 20 2022
    Richard “Humanity Dick” Martin (left) was both a man of his times, and an exception to it. In this episode, we find out how this distinctive personality—impetuous, generous, dogged, and pugnacious—pursued his causes, both in parliament and outside it. We learn of the context of his life: the revolutions in France and the United States; the emancipation of Catholics and the Act of Union, which saw Ireland joined politically with the rest of Great Britain; and the reformist movements and shifts in relationships with other animals that marked the era. We also explore the blindspots and assumptions that were to mark animal advocacy for two centuries.

    Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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    31 mins
  • Episode 2: Passage of Martin's Act
    Jul 21 2022

    Richard Martin was not the only parliamentarian with a passion for animal welfare. In this episode, we meet two more: Sir William Pulteney, who brought a bill against bull-baiting by dogs to the UK parliament two decades before Martin’s Act, and the charismatic orator Thomas, Lord Erskine. We delve deeper into Erskine’s convictions, and unpack the speech he made to parliamentarians in 1809—words and ideas that ring as true today as two centuries ago.

    We follow the contentious debates leading to the introduction of Martin’s Act, and its close call in 1821, which sent Martin, Erskine, and their supporters back to the drawing board. And we hear about the dramatic parliamentary maneuvers required to finally get Martin’s Act passed.

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    24 mins

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