The ASPCA equine program has grown out of a rich history of horse protection, dating back 150 years to founder Henry Bergh, a pioneer in equine welfare.
In 1867, the ASPCA operated the first ambulance for injured horses, a full two years before New York City’s Bellevue hospital put the first ambulance for humans into service. Eight years later, Henry Bergh invented a canvas sling to rescue horses; the sling would later be used on the battlefields of Europe during World War I. From the start, ensuring horses are treated with compassion and respect has been at the heart of what we do.
Today, the ASPCA has three main equine-related goals:
Helping Horses Find Homes
Thousands upon thousands of horses across the country are at risk of homelessness and poor welfare as they move from one career to the next. The ASPCA aims to help horses transition seamlessly to new careers and safe homes.
One way we hope to accomplish this goal is by partnering with The Right Horse Initiative to increase the number of successful horse adoptions in the country each year.
We are also shifting the focus of our annual national Help a Horse Day contest to elevate the lifesaving work that equine rescues and sanctuaries do to find homes for horses year-round.
Keeping Horses Safe
Our research shows that for many horse owners, lack of access to affordable veterinary care in times of financial hardship puts horses at risk for poor welfare and homelessness. Our equine safety net programs are designed to keep horses and their owners together, provide humane end of life options or find a new and loving home for the horse.
One way we are addressing this issue is through a collaboration with veterinarians and global animal health company Zoetis on a pilot project where veterinarians identify and provide services to those in need of support to increase the likelihood that horses can remain in their current homes.
We are also looking to increase the use of microchips within the equine community to keep horses safe, as well as provide targeted grants aimed at increasing safety net efforts.
Combating Cruelty and Responding to Disasters
The ASPCA has always been at the forefront of disaster response and cruelty intervention. This past year our Field Investigation and Response Team helped animals, including horses, displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and by fires and mudslides in California.
We will continue our boots on the ground work, ensuring we are collecting vital data to continually improve our response efforts and better identify opportunities for communities to engage in successful anti-cruelty investigations. We will also focus our efforts on legislative and policy work to ensure better welfare for equines, including working to end the slaughter of horses.
Help a Horse Day
Help a Horse Day, started in 2014, has always been about elevating equine welfare—and in 2018, the contest moved in an exciting new direction: adoption!
Motivated by the results of the ASPCA’s equine research and the great increases in adoptions realized by many partners of The Right Horse Initiative, Help a Horse Day 2018 is squarely focused on finding good homes for horses.
Please browse through our section of free resources, including webpages, downloads and webinars, that are all aimed at advancing equine welfare.