Footnoted in Passing

Of the Reticence of Rats

The sixteenth-century French lawyer Bartholomew Chassannée made his name defending rats accused of eating grain. When the rats were summoned to appear in court but never showed up, he invoked the right exercised by human beings to refuse to obey a summons to a place where they are in danger. The rats could justifiably fear for their lives when were they to make the trip to court, since all along the way lurked cats wanting to pounce. —footnote on page 92 of the book For the Love of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement, Kathryn Shevelow, Henry Holt, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8050-8090-2.

(That’s an excerpt from the article “Footnoted in Passing,” Published in AIR 14:5.)

Improbable Research