Get Involved

ASPCA Horse Protection History

Get Adobe Flash player

"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.