The Great Meddler Today, we know the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a champion for abused and homeless pets. It was founded in New York City by Henry Bergh in 1866, at a time when horses powered the “street railroad” that served as the primary mode of transport. The ASPCA’s first resolutions and actions were originally taken to protect these working horses that powered the railroad.
In the mid-19th century, many still considered animals as nothing more than property or objects of entertainment. Despite this prevailing attitude, Bergh stood up for working animals, intervened during cock fighting and dog fighting events, and proactively testified against conditions at slaughterhouses.
After the establishment of the ASPCA, the public reached out to Bergh and his organization to rescue dogs and cats from dire situations. “The Great Meddler,” as Bergh is referred to on the ASPCA’s Web site today, argued that “lower animals” are sentient, opening minds and changing opinions.
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