29 April 2011, VANCOUVER - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) would like to extend our warmest congratulations on the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and to acknowledge with gratitude the long link between the Royal Family and animal welfare and the global influence felt here in Canada and in other countries around the world because of their commitment to help animals, starting with the letter from Kensington Palace on July 4, 1835 which read in part:“… I have laid before the Duchess of Kent your letter of the 2nd inst. And its enclosure, relating to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals and Her Royal Highness very readily acceded to your request that her name and that of the Princess Victoria be placed on the list of Lady Patronesses.”
“Like the British, Canadians are a nation who have a deep respect for people, animals and the environment. More than 18 million dogs, cats, birds, small animals and fish of every size, shape and colour share our homes. We realize the shared connection with animals and nature and how important they are in our lives and those of our children”, explains HSC Chairman & CEO, Michael O’Sullivan.
Over the years, O’Sullivan has worked with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and other animal welfare groups across in Canada and around the world, and says of the privilege of working out of the historic headquarters of the RSPCA on Jermyn Street in London: "Much like that quiet Canadian strength of will and determination, you could feel the same shared sense of compassion and duty to protect those who cannot speak for themselves".
The journey to establish the RSPCA is a rich tapestry and a story of how a small dedicated group of people simply refused to give up:
“While the first society seeking to improve the lot of animals was the Society for the Suppression and Prevention of Wanton Cruelty to Animals formed in Liverpool in 1809, it was not until the Irish Member of Parliament, Richard Martin, steered a Bill through Whitehall in 1822 giving protection to domestic animals in the United Kingdom. In that same year, the Vicar of Bromley-By-Bow, the Reverend Arthur Broome, set out to create a society who would assist the police in the enforcement of this animal welfare act which had been nicknamed “Martin’s Act”,” explains Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “In fact, one of Martin’s ancestors now lives in British Columbia.”
“Many Canadians would be surprised to learn that just as in the United Kingdom and the United States, right here in Canada, animals were protected before children – and that organizations for the protection of children were created by many of the same people who had already founded organizations for the protection of animals,” says O’Sullivan.
In 1824, the Society held its first meeting where it was resolved “that a Committee be appointed to adopt measures for Inspecting the Markets and Streets of the Metropolis, the Slaughter Houses, the conduct of Coachmen, etc”. For the next several years the society struggled to raise money and to raise awareness amongst the magistrates, with the help of MP Richard Martin, on the importance of prosecuting animal cruelty. Slowly growing momentum, in 1832 the Society was able to employ two Inspectors to investigate cruelty cases.
With the letter from Kensington Palace in 1835, came the acknowledgement of the soon-to-be Queen’s Patronage. Queen Victoria permitted the Society to use the prefix “Royal” to its name, agreed to the establishment of a Queen’s Medal, and even assisted in the design of the medal.
“With the Society gaining acceptance, branches were open in other major urban centers in England and Ireland as well as forming a pattern for the establishment of other societies in Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Holland and the United States. It was the American SPCA in New York which was the first Society to successfully bridge the gap to assist children in need, successfully arguing in court on behalf of an abused child. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was formed soon after, and when the news travelled back to England, provided the impetus for the Secretary of the London RSPCA to found the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The founder of the NSPCC is quoted in saying “the RSPCA, has given birth to a kindred institution whose object is the protection of defenceless children”.
You can find out more background information here.
O’Sullivan has a final promise to animals and the people who care about them: “We are humbled by the trust and confidence Canadians have placed in us, and we won’t let them or the animals down. You and I are all that stand between people and those who wish them harm. And when it comes to fighting cruelty, we don’t give up. Ever”, O’Sullivan promises.
“The next time you look at your pet, watch wildlife swim, run or fly, or just stretch your legs by walking through the forest, remember they should all be treated like royalty,” says O’Sullivan.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=56132698753
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.