TakePart is launching a new series to highlight awesome organizations that are making big impacts. We call it "Do One Thing." The aim is to give you direct access to the basic tools that will get you involved.
Thousands of years ago, humans in East Asia began domesticating dogs from the great gray wolf. Their Homo sapien counterparts in Egypt idolized the feline species, and eventually brought the house cat indoors. As these animals became more entwined with human society, they came to depend on the care and kindness of people.
Four-legged creatures have, of course, evolved and been bred to order over the centuries, but one thing hasn't changed from pre-history to today: domestic animals are defenseless against abuse or neglect. That's where the American Society for the Prevention of Cruetly to Animals® (or ASPCA®) comes to the rescue—to speak up for animals that have no voice.
How you've heard of them:
The ASPCA started nearly 145 years ago, in 1866, in New York City. Witnessing the cruel killing of bulls and horses in Spanish bullfights ignited founder Henry Bergh's passion for animal care. Coming back to America, and seeing similar mistreatment in slaughterhouses and cock-fighting rings, Bergh intervened in the state legislature on behalf of the rights of animals. Bergh succeeded in passing important legislation, and founded the ASPCA to enforce the new laws (more history).
What kind of work they do:
Bergh's legacy lives on around the nation. The ASPCA has community partner organizations in cities across the country, and an extensive online community provides resources on pet ownership, health services, and anti-cruelty advocacy to anyone with an Internet connection.
Why you should care:
Respecting the rights of animals is an important sign of compassion for individuals, and indeed, society as a whole. By educating the public on pet adoption, passing animal rights legislation and providing care to the creatures who need it most, the ASPCA makes a huge difference in the lives of animals—and their humans.
One thing you can do:
You can join the ASPCA’s Advocacy Brigade and help pass stronger state and federal laws to better protect animals. Encourage everyone you know to do the same. Your actions can make a real difference.
Okay, we said one thing, but if you have more time to help, the ASPCA is always in need of volunteers. It doesn't take a lot of time, either—nor do you need to be an expert. Volunteers participate in a wide variety of activities. In fact, whatever you do for a living, you have skills, talents and connections that your local shelter can use.
For more ideas, visit the website's Get Involved section.
Quick Study: Animal Rescue