As a history enthusiast and passionate animal advocate, I firmly believe in acknowledging the pioneers whose efforts shaped the modern animal protection movement in the United States. In my podcast episode, Animal Advocate Monuments and Memorials (Part One), I explore the lives and legacies of four remarkable individuals who dedicated their lives to fighting for animals: Henry Bergh, George Thorndike Angell, Caroline Earle White, and Jack London. Join me I reveal the memorials and monuments that honor their invaluable contributions to a more compassionate world.
Henry Bergh: A Trailblazer for Animal Rights
Henry Bergh, a visionary and tireless animal advocate, founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 1866. His mission was to protect animals from abuse, cruelty, and neglect. Bergh’s groundbreaking work led to the passing of the first anti-cruelty law in the United States.
To enforce the newly established animal cruelty laws, Bergh pioneered the idea of humane officers. These officers were appointed by the ASPCA and empowered with the authority to investigate reports of animal abuse, cruelty, and neglect. They had the legal right to enter properties, seize mistreated animals, and arrest individuals responsible for harming animals. This was a groundbreaking and innovative concept at the time, as it marked the first instance of law enforcement officers being specifically designated for animal protection purposes.
Today, he is remembered as the “Father of the Animal Rights Movement” and honored with memorials that celebrate his pioneering efforts.
Henry Bergh Monument, Bridgeport Connecticut
P.T. Barnum, the famous showman, circus owner, and unlikely friend of Henry Bergh paid for Henry Bergh’s memorial in Bridgeport as a tribute to the visionary animal advocate’s significant contributions to the welfare and protection of animals.
Water Trough for Horses in Honor of Henry Bergh and the ASPCA in Central Park
The bathtub-shaped granite trough at Central Park’s Sixth Avenue entrance commemorates Henry Bergh, the ASPCA founder, and provides fresh water to animals, known as the “mute servants of mankind.” Donated by Mrs. Henry C. Russell in 1908, its original location is unclear, but later found at Kennedy Airport’s “animal shelter” and then brought to City Hall Park.
Mausoleum and Sculpture Honoring Henry Bergh in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn
The beautiful bas relief sculpture honoring Henry Bergh in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, was thoughtfully installed as a permanent loan below his grave, coinciding with the anniversary of the founding of the ASPCA, a testament to his enduring legacy in championing animal welfare and protection.
George Thorndike Angell: Champion of Animal Welfare and Humane Education
George Thorndike Angell was a prominent lawyer and animal lover who established the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) in 1868. His advocacy extended beyond legal protection, as he also focused on education and awareness to promote humane treatment of animals. Angell’s legacy lives on through his organization’s continued efforts and the monuments that pay tribute to his invaluable work.
Monument to George Thorndike Angell in Boston, Massachusetts
George Thorndike Angell’s monument in Boston, Massachusetts, is a poignant tribute, commemorating his significant contributions as the founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and his unwavering dedication to improving the lives of animals.
George Thorndike Angell Grave, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts
George Thorndike Angell’s grave stands as a tribute to his tireless advocacy and pioneering work for animal welfare, leaving a lasting legacy in his efforts to protect and care for animals, as the founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Band of Mercy.
Caroline Earle White: A Visionary Advocate for All Beings
Caroline Earle White was a dedicated animal activist and the founder of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) in 1883. She passionately campaigned against animal experimentation and cruelty, advocating for the abolition of vivisection (the use of living animals) in medical research. White’s commitment to the cause and her organization’s achievements have been commemorated through various memorials that highlight her unwavering dedication to animal welfare.
Caroline Earle White Memorials
While there are no physical monuments dedicated to Caroline Earle White that I am aware of, her legacy lives on through the numerous animal drinking fountains built in Philadelphia, inspired by her advocacy. Additionally, her enduring impact is evident in the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), which continues to champion animal rights and the abolition of animal testing. Stay tuned for more on fountains and Caroline’s remarkable contributions in Part Two of our “Monuments to Animal Advocates” podcast episode. (Listen to Part One here.)
Caroline Earle White is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jack London: An Outspoken Voice for Performing Animals
Jack London, the renowned American author and social activist, displayed an unwavering determination to end animal performances in circuses during the early 20th century. Recognizing the cruelty and exploitation faced by animals forced to perform tricks for public entertainment, London used his influential platform to speak out against such practices. Through his powerful writings and advocacy, he raised public awareness about the plight of circus animals, urging for the abolishment of their use in shows. Listen to this episode (and read this blog post) about how London successfully inspired Ringling to remove animal acts in the early 1920s — and how his hometown of Oakland inspired the closing of the largest traveling animal circus 100 years later.
Jack London Square in Oakland, California
The most notable example of a remembrance of Jack London is Jack London Square located in Oakland, California. This waterfront district was named in his honor and features a life-size bronze statue of the author, commemorating his literary achievements and contributions to social activism. There’s also a statue of a wolf (in honor of Call of the Wild and White Fang, the still-open saloon he used to write in called Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, and a replica of his cabin in Alaska. There’s also Jack London State Park in Sonoma County and the remains of the home he built that was destroyed in a fire.
Depending on what you focus on, you can find reasons for despair or reasons for hope, and this episode is all about giving you reason for some optimism. Listen to the episode Good News for Animals: 10 Reasons for Hope, and for a full account of these 10 good-news stories, along with links and photos, visit the blog post called Good News for Animals and Nature (2022).
“Is it vegan to have a service dog?” “Do you think it’s ethical to have service dogs?” “Do you think using service animals is a form of exploitation?” These are the questions I’ve been asked over the years and which I tackle in today’s episode.
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lock-down have added stress and strain to our bodies, hearts, and minds. Listen to this episode for ideas for staying healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally during this time and always.
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The largest population of voters in America is people who are registered to vote, but don’t turnout at the polls. Why not? Challenges with transportation, childcare, work obligations, voter education, incentive/motivation, and more keep people from showing up on election day. Add to that disenfranchisement and cynicism, and we see people staying home when their voice is needed most.
Elections have consequences — especially for civil rights, human rights, and animal protection. Check out these five organizations, and get involved to ensure the issues you care about are represented by elected officials.
Spread the Vote is an organization dedicated to helping people get IDs ahead of Election Day. IDs are necessary to participate in lots of areas of society, such as getting employment, opening a bank account, or finding housing. Additionally, voter ID laws in particular disproportionately affect communities of color, the elderly, and new voters. Spread the Vote helps people to navigate their state’s ID laws and assists with everything from application fees to driving you to the DMV to get your ID. You can join a local chapter (or start one!), and donate at their website.
VoteRiders.org— In addition to people who lack acceptable ID to vote, confusion and intimidation serve to prevent millions more eligible voters from voting, even if they have a valid ID in their state. Their Voter ID Helpline (844-33-VTRID) receives as many calls from people in non-voter ID states as from those in states that require or request ID at the polls! Even poll workers are confused and sometimes ask voters for ID when none is required. In addition to providing information about voter ID requirements for every voter in every state, they also partner with local organizations to find, inform and help voters with voter ID, especially those most at risk of losing their right to vote. Get involved today.
When We All Voteis a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.
VoteForward.org, an organization I actively volunteer with, empowers grassroots volunteers to help register voters from under-represented demographics and encourage them to vote. It’s so simple and proven to be effective. With just a printer and some stamps, you send a letter to registered voters encouraging them to vote — it’s one of the easiest things you can do that meaningfully increases the odds that the recipient will vote. Obviously there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the election process during Covid-19, including how people will vote this year, but one thing is certain: it’s critical that they do so. Whatever method Americans use to safely vote this year, receiving a hand-written Vote Forward letter will make them more likely to cast a ballot. Adopt your registered voters today, and start preparing letters to send!
MORE RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS
Reclaim the American Dream is an informational gateway aimed at helping people who are upset about America today to get engaged in fixing our democracy and making our economy fairer at the local level, where people power still has clout.
East Bay Animal PAC — If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, check out our work to elect animal-friendly candidates. You can contribute from wherever you are, and as a member, you are eligible to vote in our endorsement elections. And check out other animal-related organizations to help animals during elections in particular and the political arena in general:
We all have goals, we all have dreams. Presenting a talk on the TED / TEDx stage has been one of mine.
It’s certainly not the end-all / be-all to be chosen to speak at a TEDx event, but it has been a goal. Why? Because I do think I have an idea worth spreading — namely that:
??Animals are here for their own purposes and not for our use. Animals have intrinsic value; they are not here to be our entertainment, our food, our test subjects, or our shooting targets. We are part of their community, and they are part of ours as residents, as co-inhabitants, as contributors, as members—not as outsiders, objects, or intruders. My idea worth spreading is compassion. ?
Many people have asked me over the years why I haven’t been on the TED stage, and the answer is simply because I haven’t been accepted. I’ve submitted various applications to various TEDx events over the years, and I was rejected each time.
☄️It could have been that my topic wasn’t the right fit for that event’s theme. ☄️It could have been that I didn’t write a good enough summary of my idea. ☄️It could be that my ideas are bunk!
Who knows? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve been selected as a speaker for TEDx Dupree Park in Woodstock, Georgia on May 15th, 2020.
As I have more to share, I will, but I thought you’d like to hear the good news. Now, wish me luck. I’m terrified! (Be careful what you wish for! You just might get it!)
P.S. For those who live in the Atlanta area, I believe the event is by invitation only (it’s small), but I’m planning on putting together some kind of bookstore event in the area. Stay tuned, and make sure you’re on the mailing list.
How do you love someone and let them go? How do you make sure the good intentions you have lead to good results? How do we help the scores of rescued animals who are looking for forever homes? In today’s (LONG) episode, I recount my experiences — both stressful and successful — fostering cats. While cats have their own particular needs, my hope is that even if you’re looking to foster dogs, rabbits, or hamsters you’ll glean some inspiration and guidance. Take a listen, and let me know what you think.
We may not intend to, but there are so many ways we contribute to animal cruelty and exploitation while we’re traveling (domestically and abroad)! National Geographic published a hugely important article about the rise of attractions around the world that exploit animals for tourists. Three of the recommendations for travelers:
avoid any kind of attraction where you pay to directly interact with wild animals (don’t pay to pet, bathe, get photos with, or touch wild animals).
make a point to see animals in national parks, protected habitats, refuges, and ethical safaris that help generate income to protect wild animals and their homes.
support genuine sanctuaries that provide refuge to rescued animals who can no longer survive in the wild. (Do your own research; just because they call themselves a “sanctuary,” it doesn’t mean they are. Always reach out to trusted sources if you’re unsure.)
Sadly, one of the reasons we visited so many animal rescue groups in Thailand is because of how much animal cruelty, wildlife trafficking, and animal exploitation there is in that country, allowed by the government and deeply entrenched in the culture. For instance, elephants used in the tourism/riding and logging industries endure a lifetime of suffering and separation.
Seeing wildlife in their natural habitat — like the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, lions in Botswana, bison in Yellowstone, or the deer in our own backyards — is heart-stopping, breath-taking, and supports the animals, their habitat, and the local residents.
Of course, when we travel (either on our own or on the group Joyful Vegan Trips we host), we take care to avoid animal cruelty, and we visit true sanctuaries and protected habitat where the safety and well-being of the animals are the main priority. We take this very seriously and vet our partners very carefully.
We have hosted trips to Rwanda, Thailand, Botswana, Vietnam, Italy, and France, and we have upcoming trips to … well, see for yourself! I hope you can join us one day to experience the trip of a lifetime—while supporting the care and conservation of the animals whose homes we visit.
Once you decide to make zero-waste, plastic-free, low- or no-packaging a priority in your life, you learn very quickly you have to make some changes when it comes to what you buy, how you shop, what you eat, and how you cook. Some might find this an inconvenience. I find it an adventure. Journey with me as I share some reflections on favorite foods and how my relationship with them has changed since “becoming zero-waste.” Oh right, and I’ll also share with you WHY BABY CARROTS ARE EVIL from this joyful vegan’s point of view.