Issue 63 • Week of April 2, 2023

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded on April 10, 1866 as the first organization of its kind in the western hemisphere. Pioneering advocate Henry Bergh started where many non-profits end: with tangible legislation in the state where he operated. He stood up for beasts of burden in a time still reliant on horsepower and used his political influence for the greater good.

Soon, the movement expanded to other states, included other animals, and levied harsher penalties for abhorrent behavior. Over 150 years later, animal abuse is now a felony in all 50 states as well a federal crime.

Yet justice is still far from being served, as nearly 2% of adults are estimated to be cruel to animals at some point in their lives. Animals are tragically not the only ones at risk when they are harmed, either. Research has found that there are strong correlations between animal abuse and domestic violence including child abuse, as well as a higher likelihood of bullies becoming future criminals when they torment animals as juveniles.

How can we rescue animals and people from cruelty?

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