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In the simplest of terms, I think that Sewell's work tries to bring forth the point that animals are creatures that feel pain, love, and joy. They are not objects who lack the sensibilities of feeling creatures. The idea that Black Beauty responds to pain and suffering, affirms care and compassion help to deliver the book's primary message that animals, in this case, horses need care. At a point where utilitarian values emphasized the "greatest good for the greatest number," Sewell's work is a reminder that it is important to not abuse in this name. The tendency to overwork or abuse animals is something that has not gone away from modern society. The desire to use an animal as a means to an end and not as the end in its own right is something that Sewell's work criticizes heavily and is something that is brought out as one of the primary messages of the book. Sewell intended her work to be a guide on how to tend to and take care of horses. In doing so, she makes the statement that animals need to be treated with care, and not used and abused for the ends of others. We have seen this, whether it is with Michael Vick's treatment of dogs for sport, or for greyhounds raced and treated in an abhorrent manner, or even horses in horse racing that are given drugs that are contrary to a healthy life in order to gain more profits, the need to halt the mistreatment of all animals is one of the primary messages of Sewell's work.
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