April is a special month for multiple reasons. Not only do we all get to play fun pranks on each other on the first of the month, but spring begins to show its face, Earth Day (April 22nd) shifts our attention to conservation-minded causes and it also happens to be Animal Cruelty Prevention month. All of which, we at Ruffwear are happy to celebrate.
We decided to dig a little more on the history of April and the Animal Cruelty Prevention movement.
So, just how did April become Animal Cruelty Month? In researching, we were brought all the way back to 1866, and a man named Henry Bergh.
Henry Bergh (born in 1813) grew up in New York City and began his early career in the family business as a ship builder. Upon inheriting his father’s wealth, Bergh set out to travel and experience the world. Over time, his work shifted to a career in diplomacy – serving as the appointed secretary and vice-consul to the American legislation in Russia.
Throughout his extensive travels through Europe, Bergh witnessed cruelties to animals that eventually sparked a life-mission for Bergh. He returned to the United States and resolved to be the voice of “these mute servants of man kind”.
With a strong resolve, Bergh began speaking out, both on the streets and in the courtroom, against animal cruelty. He quickly gained notoriety and influence, noting that this cause was not party-related, stating that “this is a matter purely of conscience; it has no perplexing side issues. It is a moral question in all its aspects.”
On April 10th, 1866, Henry Bergh brought forward a proposal to the New York State Legislature. This legislature passed, and on that day, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was incorporated. Shortly after, law was passed, giving the ASPCA the right to enforce animal cruelty offences.
Bergh devoted his life to the prevention of cruelty to animals at a time when it was not the popular opinion. Today, we are fortunate that many more have stepped up to continue to fight for compassion for all animals.
Though there is still much work to be done, we celebrate Animal Cruelty Prevention month and those who work to be the voice for our furry companions and co-inhabitants of this earth.
We tip our (trucker) hat to you, Henry Bergh.