Adam Nicolson

A chronicle of brutality

From wholesale, hate-filled abuse to the modern taste for concealed exploitation, our treatment of the animal kingdom confirms us as the world’s cruellest brutes, says Adam Nicolson

In the 1820s and 30s, London used about 20 million goose quills a year. The government’s Stationery Office on its own was still getting through half a million a year in the 1890s, roughly a quill a clerk a day. The administration of Victorian Britain and its global empire rested on a vast flock of geese.

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