16 Jun: Humanity Dick and the RSPCA

The world’s first animal charity, the RSPCA, was set up on June 16th, 1824, by a small group of men who met in Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in St. Martin’s Lane, London.

They had been brought together by Arthur Broome, a vicar and animal-welfare campaigner, but the main member of the group was Irish MP Richard Martin, widely known as “Humanity Dick” who had recently passed the first legislation of its kind against the mistreatment of horses and cattle.  

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly look into why in the 19th century people who were interested in animal rights were seen as faintly ludicrous cranks; explain how one of the driving forces behind the RSPCA ended up in an unmarked grave; and discuss why cloven animals need to have duels fought on their behalf…

Further Reading:

• ‘16 June 1824: The world’s oldest animal charity, the RSPCA, is founded’ (Money Week, 2015): https://moneyweek.com/396015/16-june-1824-the-worlds-oldest-animal-charity-the-rspca-is-founded 

• ‘The History of the RSPCA’ (Animal Legal and Historical Center, 2017): https://www.animallaw.info/article/history-rspca 

• ‘Draw my life – History of the RSPCA’ (RSPCA, 2017):


#1800s #Victorian #Animals #UK