IN answer to Dr Gibson’s letter of December 4 (Where is cruelty in culling badgers?), I quote here extracts from “Who Cares for Animals”, by Antony Brown, which describes the first successful Parliamentary Bill to prevent animal cruelty.
This was introduced in 1822 by the humanitarian, Richard Martin, a Dubliner who also helped to abolish such mediaeval horrors as capital punishment for forgery, provided work and homes for orphan children and was a pioneer of contemporary moves to provide free legal aid for those who could not afford it.
In 1824, the Rev Arthur Broome, slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce, Richard Martin (“Humanity Dick”) and several others founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It was some 11 years later that royal patronage was granted by the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria.
The animal welfare movement soon spread to the continent, but it was not until 1866 that the United States had any similar cruelty laws.
However, there was still no such help for children in either country.
A case of child cruelty was successfuly brought before the court in New York by the SPCA, who contended that the child was an animal.
Soon so many cases of child cruelty were being brought before the courts that a New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was formed and, within 12 months, a similar organisation was started in London, largely through a John Colam and the RSPCA committee, who later strengthened the link by offering the use of their own offices for meetings.
Thus began a long and happy cooperation between the RSPCA and the NSPCC which continues to this day.
Katherine M Kay (Mrs) Branch Administrator Bolton RSPCA