Kristy McCaffrey is a writer of Old West Romances. She likes the peculiar, the fascinating, and the scientific; animals and the outdoors; her husband and teenaged children; history, symbols, and mythology. Grab a cup of tea and hang out by the fireside. Let's travel together.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
By Kristy McCaffrey
The first humane society in North America—the American
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)—was founded by Henry
Bergh in New York in 1866. Its purpose was, according to Bergh, “to provide effective
means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
He established the ASPCA three days after the first legislation against animal
cruelty was passed by the New York State Legislature. He had prepared these
In 1873, Bergh made a lecture tour of the western U.S. which
resulted in the formation of several similar societies. The American Humane
Association was created in 1877 as a network of local organizations to prevent
cruelty to children and animals.
One consequence of Bergh’s work was the establishment of an
ambulance corps for removing disabled animals from the street and a derrick for
removing them from excavations into which they had fallen. He also invented a
substitute for live pigeons with artificial ones as marks for sportsmen’s guns.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals (MSPCA) was founded in Boston in 1868 by George Angell and Emily
Appleton. Angell, after reading about two horses that were raced to death by
carrying two riders each over 40 miles of rough roads, began a high-profile
protest of animal cruelty. He also created a publication—Our Dumb Animals—as a way “to speak for those who cannot speak for
themselves.” (“Dumb” refers to the fact that animals can’t speak.) The
following year, the Massachusetts General Court passed the first anti-animal
By 1886, 39 states had adopted statutes relating to the
protection of animals from cruelty, based on the original laws set forth by
Henry Bergh in New York.
Today, the ASPCA is one of the largest humane societies in