In 1266, at Fontenay-aux-Roses, near Paris, a pig was brought to trial. This is the first record we have of a mammal put on trial for murder. The pig was convicted of eating a child and was sentenced to be publicly burned. On the one hand, we might consider this simply an example of what any community might do to a vicious animal. As we have seen animals were considered property, and their owners were responsible for making sure their property did no harm to others. On the other hand, however, the 1266 case set a different precedent: the owner was no longer solely responsible for his property. Instead, the court treated this as a criminal matter in which the pig had the free will to choose to commit homicide, so it was solely responsible for its acts, and punished accourdingly. This was not an isolate incident.
The Frequency with which pigs were brought to trial and adjudged to death, was owing, in a great measure, to the freedom with which they were permitted to run about the streets and to their immense number. The fact that they were under the special protection of St. Anthony of Padua conferred upon them a certain immunity, so that they became a serious nuisance, not only endangering the lives of children, but also generating and disseminating diseases.
Thus Guy Pape, in his decisions of the Parliament of Grenoble (Qu. 238)0, raises the query, whether a brute beast, if it commit a crime, as pigs sometimes do in devouring children, ought to suffer death, and answers the question unhesitatingly in the affirmative: si animal brutum delinquat, sicut quandoque faciunt porci qui comedunt pueros, an debeat mori? Dico quod sic.” Jean duret, in his elaborate Treatise of Pains and Penalties (Traicte des peines et des Amendes, p. 250; cf. Themis Jurisconsulte, VIII. P. 57), takes the same view, declaring that “if beasts not only wound, but kill and eat any person, as experience has shown to happen frequently in cases of little children being eaten by pigs, they should pay the forfeit of their lives and be condemned to be hanged and strangled, in order to efface the memory of the enormity of the deed.”
Thus we have the receipt of “Phelippart, sergeant of high justice of the city of Amiens,” for the sum of 16 soldi, in payment for services rendered in March 1463, in “having buried on the earth 2 pigs, which had torn and eaten with their teeth a little child in the faubourg of Amiens, who for this cause passed from life to death (etoit alle de vie a trepas).” In 1557, on the 6th of December, a pig in the Commune of Saint Quentin was condemned to be “buried all alive” (enfoui tout vif), “for having devoured a little child in l’hostel de la Couronne.” Again, a century earlier, in 1456, 2 pigs were subjected to this punishment, “on the vigil of the Holy Virgin,” at Oppenheim on the Rhine, for having killed a child. Animals are said to have been put to the rack in order to extort confession.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I
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The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
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New York Post : Woman ‘eaten alive’ by pigs after collapsing.