The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of April 5, 1996
Facts about the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
CURWOOD: In 1863 while serving at the US Embassy in St. Petersburg, Russia, Henry Berg witnessed the cruel beating of a horse by its owner. Three years later, in his home of New York City, Mr. Berg gave a lecture in defense of what he called the mute servants of mankind. Three months later on April 10, 1866, his words turned to action with his founding of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Within days the New York Legislature passed an animal anti-cruelty law, and gave the ASPCA the right to enforce it. With its 3-person staff, that's exactly what happened. At first the ASPCA was mostly concerned with livestock, but in time turned to the role we are familiar with today: caring for cats, dogs, and other pets. The Society's efforts focus on adoption, veterinary care, animal bereavement counseling, dog training, and lobbying for animal welfare laws. Today there are an estimated 60 million cats and 50 million dogs in the US. That works out to about a dog for every 5 people.
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