For his encyclopaedic Historie of Four-Footed Beasts published in 1607, Edward Topsell borrowed heavily from Konrad Gesner’s Latin Historia Animalium published in Zurich (1551-8), even to the extent of taking an explanatory epistle that justified the project of zoology, as his discipline was later to be known. Because animals are part of the same creation as ourselves, Gesner condemned those who think animals beneath their concern:

But if any man be so Barbarous, as to thinke that the beasts and such other creatures, cannot affoord him any subiect woorthy of his contempaltion [sic], then let him thinke so of himselfe likewise; for what ignoble basenesse is there in bloode, flesh, bones, vaines, and such like? Doth not the body of man consist thereof? And then how abhominable art thou to thy selfe, that doest not rather looke into these which are so neere of kinde vnto thee?