The ASPCA's key areas of focus are animal homelessness and animal cruelty. Here, law students at New York University take a study break with dogs brought in by volunteers.

Photograph by Landon Nordeman, National Geographic
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    On April 10, 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City. The ASPCA was modeled on the (British) Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, established in 1824.
    Among the primary concerns of the ASPCA were cockfighting and inhumane treatment of cattle and hogs in slaughterhouses. These remain concerns of the organization, but today it is more associated with improving the health and welfare of pets.
    Through the work of the ASPCA, pet owners have reliable resources such as a poison-control hotline, access to veterinarians, and even support for those who have lost a pet.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    abuse Verb

    to treat wrongly, or in a harmful way.

    cattle Noun

    cows and oxen.

    cruel Adjective

    having to do with causing pain and suffering in others.

    health care Noun

    system for addressing the physical health of a population.

    humane Adjective

    kind or gentle.

    natural disaster Noun

    an event occurring naturally that has large-scale effects on the environment and people, such as a volcano, earthquake, or hurricane.

    neglect Noun

    failure to pay attention.

    poison Noun

    substance that harms health.

    primary Adjective

    first or most important.

    protect Verb

    to take action to prevent injury or attack.

    slaughterhouse Noun

    building or series of buildings where animals are taken to be killed and butchered.

    veterinarian Noun

    person who studies the health of animals.

    welfare Noun

    health or well-being.