An Animal’s Best Friend

The Henry Bergh Mausoleum

Long before there was a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals founded in 1980), there was the ASPCA (America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals).  Founded in 1866 by Henry Bergh, the organization sought to educate people on behalf of animals and to improve their treatment and welfare.

Bergh was the son of a wealthy shipyard owner in New York and a graduate of Columbia College.  He had travelled extensively and most likely came into contact with members from some of the European societies that had been formed in the late 18th century and early 19th century.  He worked tirelessly in New York to have laws passed that would protect animals from cruelty.  By 1886, 39 states had adopted the laws that he first worked to get enacted in his home state.

Bergh is buried in Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, in a mausoleum built to resemble a pyramid.  On the entryway of the mausoleum is a large round bronze insignia of the ASPCA which displays a man lifting a club to beat a horse.  An angel comes between the man and the horse interceding to stop the cruelty.

The ASPCA Seal

On the bank in front of the tomb is a large flat sculpture of a man with his arm around the neck of a horse.

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