Our founder, Henry Bergh, believed that legislation was a key component in protecting animals and preventing cruelty. On April 10, 1866, a special act of the New York State Legislature awarded Bergh a charter to form a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals—the first such organization in the Western Hemisphere! Nine days later, Bergh secured passage of the first effective anti-cruelty law—and also the right to enforce it. The ASPCA became a model for other humane organizations throughout the Americas.
Since then, hundreds of laws have been enacted on the federal, state and local levels, providing protections to many species of animals. Today, the ASPCA’s Government Relations Department carries on Bergh’s mission to better protect animals and provide for their well-being by establishing public policy through the legislative process, citizen initiatives and consumer education campaigns. Read More >>
ASPCA Government Relations
An introduction to the ASPCA’s Government Relations Department.
Methods to Create Change
Creating new legislation is one way to advance animal welfare issues, but it’s not the only way.
Legislative Process FAQ
Haven’t taken Civics in a while? No problem—here’s a quick brush-up on common U.S. legislative processes.
The Anatomy of a Bill
We break down the components of a legislative bill so you’ll understand how to read, interpret, or even draft one.
How a Bill Becomes a Law
An outline of a bill’s step-by-step journey through the U.S. Congress.
Working With Your Elected Officials
Ready to dive into the world of political lobbying? Read this first!
Attending a Town Hall Meeting
Legislators visiting their home districts often host events designed to meet and hear from their constituents. Learn how to best use these events to further the issues important to you.
To Lobby or Not to Lobby?
Are non-profit groups allowed to lobby? The answer is yes—but how much and in what way depends on the type of group.
Writing Advocacy Letters
A handy template for writing effective letters to legislators and other decision-makers.
How Can I Help?
Want to do more? Here are some additional ways you can be an effective animal advocate.