Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Heritage of Care: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Synopsis

Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was the nation's first animal welfare organization. The society had its origins in the fervor for social reform that characterized the era following the Civil War. Its founder, Henry Bergh, organized the ASPCA because of his abhorrence of injustice -- personally, he was never especially interested in animals. The society's agents--known in the early years as Bergh's men--were empowered to enforce the law throughout the state. Bergh used the media to advance his cause, and many of the issues that he confronted were covered in the press. "Heritage of Care" brings these early efforts to life again.

After Bergh's death, the ASPCA's original mission to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals drew committed men and women to continue the work. From 1894 to 1994, the ASPCA handled animal control for New York City, changing the image of dog pounds to animal shelters by introducing the concept of a professional staff. And just as Bergh preached kindness to children in the orphanages of old New York, his successors instilled caring attitudes through the new medium of television, and later through the Internet. "Heritage of Care" brings the society's work up-to-date. It is an insider's look at Bergh's men and Bergh's women of the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

When Steve and Marion asked me to write the foreword for Heritage of Care, I had an immediate gut reaction—yes! Or rather—how could I not?

I’ve long supported the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). I’ve known several key players in the organization personally for more than three decades, and I’ve watched them stay true to their mission of ‘‘providing effective means of preventing cruelty to animals.’’ The fact is, had Henry Bergh not founded the ASPCA in 1866—the first animal protection organization on this continent—the face of animal welfare would look very different today. It is this very ‘‘heritage of care,’’ passed down by Bergh, that present-day ASPCA staff, members, and volunteers celebrate and pay homage to every day of their lives.

But this is much more than a history book on the nation’s first animal welfare organization. It is an in-depth look at an organization founded by a man who was not particularly interested in animals—but who rose to protect them because it was the right thing to do. And it is this spirit of doing what is right and just, what is kind and humane, to not ignore but take action, that today’s ASPCA staff continues to carry forward, just as Henry Bergh would have wanted them to do. Not because it’s politically correct, or because it’s fashionable, but because protecting animals— sentient beings who cannot speak for themselves—is simply the right thing to do.

Were Henry Bergh to visit the ASPCA today, I believe he would be proud to see what his simple action—halting the flogging of a cart horse—has wrought. Over the years, the organization has developed exceptional competencies in as wide a range of services as you can think . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.