In 1821, the Treatment of Horses bill was introduced by Colonel Richard Martin (1754–1834), MP for Galway in Ireland, but it was lost among laughter in the House of Commons that the next thing would be rights for asses, dogs, and cats.[35] Nicknamed "Humanity Dick" by George IV, Martin finally succeeded in 1822 with his "Ill Treatment of Horses and Cattle Bill," or "Martin's Act," as it became known, the world's first major piece of animal protection legislation. It was given royal assent on June 22 that year as An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle, and made it an offence, punishable by fines up to five pounds or two months imprisonment, to "beat, abuse, or ill-treat any horse, mare, gelding, mule, ass, ox, cow, heifer, steer, sheep or other cattle."[32] Legge and Brooman argue that the success of the Bill lay in the personality of "Humanity Dick," who was able to shrug off the ridicule from the House of Commons, and whose sense of humour managed to capture its attention.[32] It was Martin himself who brought the first prosecution under the Act, when he had Bill Burns, a costermonger—a street seller of fruit—arrested for beating a donkey, and paraded the animal's injuries before a reportedly astonished court. Burns was fined, and newspapers and music halls were full of jokes about how Martin had relied on the testimony of a donkey.[36] Other countries followed suit in passing legislation or making decisions that favoured animals. In 1822, the courts in New York ruled that wanton cruelty to animals was a misdemeanor at common law.[18] In France in 1850, Jacques Philippe Delmas de Grammont succeeded in having the Loi Grammont passed, outlawing cruelty against domestic animals, and leading to years of arguments about whether bulls could be classed as domestic in order to ban bullfighting.[37] The state of Washington followed in 1859, New York in 1866, California in 1868, Florida in 1889.[38] In England, a series of amendments extended the reach of the 1822 Act, which became the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, outlawing cockfighting, baiting, and dog fighting, followed by another amendment in 1849, and again in 1876.

The Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act 1822 (3 Geo. IV c. 71) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom with the long title "An Act to prevent the cruel and improper Treatment of Cattle"; it is sometimes known as Martin's Act, after the MP and animal rights campaigner Richard Martin. It was one of the first pieces of animal welfare legislation. The Act listed "ox, cow, heifer, steer, sheep, or other cattle", however this was held not to include bulls. A further act (5 & 6 Will. IV. c. 59 s. 2) extended the wording of this Act to remedy the issue. [1] This Act was repealed by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849.