Recognized as the first animal autobiography of consequence, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty was intended as a book to enlighten people about the human treatment of animals, especially horses. This narrative places the cruel practice of fox hunting, as well as the inhumane, but fashionable use of the bearing rein into the awareness of the public. Sewell's skillful use of detail helps the reader sense the cruel bit biting into Beauty's mouth and the strained and painful agony he feels under the bearing rein.
In writing Black Beauty, Anna Sewell hoped that people would react to the inhumane practices of her day. In fact, the publication of her book had the greatest effect upon the human treatment of horses than any other publication; it brought about the end of the traditional and fashionablel practices that caused horses to suffer. in addition, it has brought more humane treatment of cats and dogs, too.