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ASPCA Horse Protection History

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"The horse, what does he get for his prodigious services to
us, more than blows, neglect, and starvation"

ASPCA Founder Henry Bergh

1866: The ASPCA is founded in New York City to protect animals, mainly horses, from abuse and neglect.

1867:  The ASPCA designs, builds and implements the first ambulance to rescue carriage horses on the streets of New York City.

1870s: ASPCA founder Henry Bergh campaigns against street oversalting, overloading street cars and other cruel practices. Initiates program to provide cool, clean drinking water for horses.

1872: More than 2,500 horses die during a mysterious horse epidemic in New York City. The ASPCA builds a second horse ambulance to rescue sick horses on the city's streets.

1875: Henry Bergh invents the canvas sling to rescue horses who become stuck in mud or fall into deep waters. The sling would be used during World War I to rescue injured horses.

1875: The ASPCA seal—an angel of mercy protecting a fallen carriage horse—is created by illustrator Frank Leslie, and branded on ASPCA fountains, vehicles and facilities in New York City.

1902: The ASPCA introduces motorized horse ambulance, the first of its kind to help sick and injured horses in New York City.

1912: The ASPCA opens its first veterinary facility, a free horse dispensary at the corner of 24th Street and Avenue A in Manhattan.

1917: The ASPCA lectures at military forts and cantonments on the care of horses in warfare, and sends several custom horse ambulances to veterinary corps in France.

1929: The ASPCA donates Good Hands Trophy to promote humane treatment of horses. Presented at horse shows, the trophy symbolizes the moral qualities of horsemanship.

1933: ASPCA board member Alfred B. Maclay donates a trophy for junior riders. First presented at the National Horse Show, the Maclay Trophy recognizes responsible horsemanship of young riders.

1934: The ASPCA begins implementing the first rotating operating table for horses, designed for the University of Pennsylvania.

1940s -1950s: The ASPCA's commitment to advocacy and protection of horses continues, including regular inspections of carriage horses and ensuring ambulances and fountains are operational.

1958: The ASPCA Animalport opens at Idlewild Airport (now JFK) to oversee the humane treatment of horses and all animals traveling through New York City. It is decommissioned in 1992.

1971: The ASPCA works with Congress to pass Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act to protect America's wild horses on public lands.

1989 — 1990: The ASPCA works to enforce restrictions on use of carriage horses in New York City, limiting the hours that horses can work and ensuring their safety on city streets.

1994 — 1998: The ASPCA names 1994 and 1998 the "Year of the Horse" to create awareness of the obstacles that wild and domestic horses face in the United States.

1996: The ASPCA acquires the National Animal Poison Control Center, opening up their database of poisonous plants to the public. Nearly 700 equine groups are helped from 1996-2001.

1997: The ASPCA begins a Premarin foal rescue program to promote public education and awareness about equine suffering caused by Premarin production.

2000: The ASPCA installs antique horse fountain in Central Park near 5th Avenue to provide cool, clean drinking water to the city's carriage horses.

2003: The ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement department conducts training seminars with the New York City Police Department for equine welfare with a focus on urban carriage horse treatment.

2004 — Present: The ASPCA Equine Fund is founded in 2004. The fund makes a $340,000 commitment in 2008 to Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary and Rescue.

2007: ASPCA supports the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and works with advocacy groups to close two remaining slaughter plants in Texas.

2007 — 2009: The ASPCA begins sponsorship and training at high profile horse shows and equestrian events to promote responsible and humane care of horses.

2010: ASPCA unveils a long-term exhibit on its 145 years of horse protection at the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington, KY.

2011: The prestigious ASPCA Maclay competition and the National Horse Show moves to Lexington, KY. The ASPCA is there to promote its message of compassion and responsibility.