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  • Correction for: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

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    Category: Organizations

    Since its humble beginning in 1824 - as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - the RSPCA has worked tirelessly to promote kindness and prevent cruelty to animals.

    Preparing the way
    In 1822, Richard Martin MP piloted the first anti-cruelty bill giving cattle, horses and sheep a degree of protection through parliament.

    World first
    'Humanity Dick' as he was known, was one of the 22 founders of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which was launched in London in 1824. The SPCA became the first national animal protection society in the world.

    No compassion
    At that time, compassion for animals was regarded as bizarre. Animals were regarded as little more than commodities supplying food, transport or sport.

    Changing attitudes
    In its early years the Society's major campaign was to win over the hearts and minds of the general public, and to change people's indifference to animal cruelty.

    Cruelty exposed
    The 181 convictions for cruelty that the Society achieved during 1832 - the first year such figures were recorded in its annual report - made a telling impact on public opinion about the treatment of animals.

    Royal approval
    By 1840 the Society's work was held in such high regard that Queen Victoria gave her permission for the SPCA to be called the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Law enforcement
    Its practical welfare work developed quickly. The single inspector appointed in London to check on markets and slaughterhouses, was joined by others. Together they formed a law enforcement body that pre-dated the police force.

    National network
    News of the work of the Society spread outside London. By 1842, campaigners in Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Coventry and Scarborough had all requested the appointment of an inspector of their own.

    Sufficient funds
    With the increasing number of donations and bequests the Society was attracting, there were funds to expand beyond the capital.

    Branches established
    Regional inspectors were appointed, with local campaigners promising to raise 20 a year towards 'their' inspector's wages. This development created the nucleus of a national network of 175 branches in England and Wales that exists today. These branches run a further 38 clinics and 33 animal centres. In addition to the branch run establishments there is one other animal centre run by a trust and another run by a charitable company.

    Wilberforce Way, Southwater
    Horsham , RH13 9RS
    Contact Person: RSPCA
    Phone: 0870 33 35 999 (or 44 870 33 35 999 for calls from outside the UK)
    Fax: 0870 75 30 284 (or 44 870 75 30 284 from outside the UK)

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