American Humane

DENVER, Oct. 6  -- One-hundred thirty-two years ago this coming Friday (on Oct. 9, 1877), children were often toiling at hard labor in filthy sweatshops instead of going to school, and when they could play, they were forced into the bustling streets or garbage-strewn alleys instead of onto safe playgrounds. Work horses - often beaten mercilessly and nearly starved or dehydrated - were forced to work 20-hour days. "Pet" dogs and cats didn't fare much better, and livestock handling was brutal.

There was little or no protection for children and animals in those days. That situation stirred a group of representatives from 27 different local humane organizations (some for animals and some for children), including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), to band together in Cleveland, Ohio, to form the American Humane Association as a national voice for the voiceless.

Now, 132 years later, American Humane remains that national voice of compassion and care, with an unmatched legacy of success in advancing humanity and society's view and care of both children and animals. Headquartered in Denver since 1954, American Humane proudly continues its mission of protecting children and animals, as well as being the leading mainstream, reasoned organization in the field.

Since its founding on Oct. 9, 1877, American Humane (called the International Humane Society until 1884) has led many improvements for the greater good. Here are just a few of hundreds:

1877 - First on its agenda was addressing the humane treatment of working animals and livestock in transit.

1879 - American Humane passed a resolution to promote humane education in public schools.

1883 - Concerned about child abuse and abandoned babies, American Humane promoted passage of the first Cruelty to Children Act.

1890 - American Humane outspokenly opposed corporal punishment of children in schools.

1893 - American Humane's member societies prosecuted 5,520 cases of cruelty to children.

1894 - The Link(R) between violence to animals and violence to people was first noted at American Humane's annual convention.

1914 - American Humane called for safe, off-street playgrounds to keep children from being arrested for playing in the streets and being dubbed delinquents.

1916 - American Humane formed "American Red Star Animal Relief" to aid horses on the battlefront of World War I. Now known as Red Star Animal Emergency Services(TM), it continues rescuing animals after disasters and from puppy mills, hoarding cases and dogfighting operations.

1940 - In response to an incident during the 1939 filming of Jesse James, in which a terrified horse was forced off a cliff to its death, American Humane began to oversee the use of animals in film and later issued the exclusive "No Animals Were Harmed"(R) end-credit disclaimer.

1958 - The Humane Slaughter Act, long advocated for by American Humane, was signed into law.

1963 - American Humane proposed that all 50 states pass laws requiring doctors who suspect child abuse to inform their local child protective services.

1969 - American Humane lobbied for and supported the passage of the Endangered Species Conservation Act.

1995 - American Humane propelled legislation requiring convicted animal abusers to receive mandatory counseling and psychological testing.

1997 - American Humane launched a groundbreaking initiative called The Front Porch Project(R) to directly involve community members in child protection.

2000 - American Humane launched the nation's first farm animal welfare program under the label "Free Farmed." It is now the American Humane Certified(R) program which oversees the humane treatment and handling of more than 60 million farm animals in the United States.

2005 - American Humane's Red Star Animal Emergency Services deployed to Louisiana to help animal victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, logging 18,000 man-hours by staff and volunteers.

2008 - American Humane formed the Pets and Women's Shelters (PAWS(R)) program and wrote a manual for domestic violence shelters to also house pets.

2009 - In an effort to promote the human-animal bond, American Humane established the Therapy Animals Supporting Kids (TASK(TM)) program.