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Horses and Humane Humans in Holiday History

From the National Humane Review, vol. 7-8 (1919-1920), by the American Humane Association:

hUMANE History

"The Animal Rescue League of Washington, D. C, distributed Christmas dinners to horses of poor owners in the District of Columbia." (Feb. 1919)

"The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of Boston, held a Christmas treat at the Angell Memorial Fountain from which Christmas dinners of oats and carrots were given to the horses of all horse owners who applied." (Feb. 1919)

"The Women's Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, of Philadelphia. Pa., was host to many horses on Christmas. The horses were given apples, carrots and oats. For the dogs there were dog biscuits, catnip for the cats and suet and seed for the birds. The women in charge of the Christmas party were: Miss Lida II. Ashbridge, President; Mrs. Edwin O. Lewis. Chairman of Committee; Mrs. Joseph T. Bailey, Mrs. Samuel O. Edmonds. Miss Ellen Frieka, Mrs. Elise Ballard, Miss Laura Blackburne, Miss Anna M. Clyde, Mrs. Graehm and the Girl Scouts." (Feb. 1919)

"THE HORSES' CHRISTMAS
    The Christmas for the Horses, which Mrs. Huntington Smith of the Boston Animal Rescue League began five years ago, was repeated this year with great success. A four-horse barge suitably decorated with evergreen and national colors was sent out loaded with special feed in bags for the horses, and with apples, doughnuts and coffee for the drivers, through the market districts and to about sixty stables where horses of the poorer class are kept.
    Over one thousand bags of feed were distributed in this way. Leaflets on the care of horses, and stories about animals were given out by a group of young ladies who went on the barge for this purpose. The distribution began at noon on the day before Christmas, and was continued on Christinas Eve and Christmas forenoon.
    A special appeal for funds for this work was made to the public and enough money was received to provide for the buying of a number of old horses, which were given temporary rest and comfort at the stable of the Work-Horse Relief Association on Northampton Street, and then humanely destroyed." (Feb. 1919)

"Many horses in Portland, Me., were made happy on the day before Christmas with a three-quart measure of oats, carrots and apples chopped and mixed. The drivers each received a cigar. This work was handled by the Maine State Humane Education Society through the efforts of Mrs. S. A. Stevens and Mrs. Weddell, assisted by two Band of Mercy boys. Many parts of the city were reached by means of an automobile, and wherever horses had been left unblanketed the boys would take the blankets from the driver's seat and carefully cover the horses that were standing without protection." (March 1919)

Christmas List

"CHRISTMAS WILL COME SOON
   Christmas is doubtless the most popular and largely observed holiday in the American calendar. It is more generally marked by the giving of presents and by social celebration than any other occasion throughout the year. We very strongly urge upon our readers to remember in their benefactions those children of the poor who are not permitted to share in the joys of the holiday. Some practical gift which will make an unfortunate child warm and more comfortable, or relieve its hunger, is something worth giving. Remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Pleasure is reflex. If we make a sad little heart joyful we get much more pleasure than we should by purchasing a costly present for ourselves.
   It is just the same with animals. Erect Christmas trees for your dumb servitors. See that they have something good to eat. Brighten their twilight lives by some observance which will make them believe in the kindness of human beings. Few people do much on Christmas for the beasts around them. Please do something if it is nothing more than to resolve to treat them more kindly during the next year." (Dec. 1919)


Interestingly, concern over the welfare of children grew out of the growing animal welfare movement of the nineteenth century.  For many years, the SPCA also aided children under the umbrella of prevention of cruelty.

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