NEW YORK, April 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the participants in its third annual ASPCA Help a Horse Day grants contest. The nationwide competition of equine rescues and sanctuaries is designed to raise awareness about the year-round lifesaving work they do to care for local at-risk horses who've been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless. In honor of the ASPCA's 150th Anniversary celebration this month, the ASPCA has teamed up with "2 Broke Girls" actress and horse advocate Beth Behrs to spread the word about the contest, which has been expanded to include a total of $100,000 in grant prizes. This year, 191 groups will be hosting events across 42 states during the weekend of April 22-24 as they compete to win a grand prize of $25,000.
"The ASPCA Help a Horse Day contest has grown exponentially over the past few years, and we are excited to celebrate our 150th anniversary by providing even more grants to the dedicated equine rescues and sanctuaries that step in to care for abused or neglected horses and give them a much-deserved new lease on life," said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. "We are proud to welcome Beth Behrs to the contest this year and we applaud her efforts to raise awareness about wonderful horses available for adoption around the country."
"I recently adopted my horse, Belle, from a California sanctuary, where I was able to see firsthand the tireless efforts that go into rehabilitating and caring for at-risk horses," said Behrs. "It's inspiring to see the creative events being planned around the country in celebration of the ASPCA Help A Horse Day contest, and I am honored to lend my voice to equine protection and to help recognize these everyday heroes for their life-saving work."
Participating rescue groups will be judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their ability to engage their local communities to assist their efforts to protect horses. Activities include open houses, education and volunteer programs, birthday parties, spring festivals, scavenger hunts and other fun-filled events. ASPCA Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA's long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, which includes supporting equine welfare legislation, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants.
Coinciding with Help a Horse Day events, the ASPCA has unveiled the results of a recent nationwide survey showing that at least 2.3 million Americans have adequate space, resources, and a strong interest in adopting a horse. This new data suggests that there are more than enough homes available for the approximately 125,000 American horses shipped to Canada and Mexico last year to be slaughtered for human consumption.
"For anyone considering adopting a horse or donkey, there's no better time than an ASPCA Help a Horse Day event to see what the nation's equine rescues have to offer," added Schultz. "The strong public sentiment against horse slaughter, combined with the significant lack of awareness that this is a problem horses face, underscores how community events like ASPCA Help A Horse Day are critical to pairing horses in need with the homes that are available."
Last year, the ASPCA awarded over $1 million in grants to support 124 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grant money supported several areas of equine welfare including large-scale rehabilitation, emergency relief grants, safety net programs, and the Rescuing Racers Initiative, which aids in the rescue and rehabilitation of retired racehorses to save them from slaughter.
For more information about ASPCA Help a Horse Day or to see if there is an event near you, please visit www.aspca.org/helpahorse.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/actress-beth-behrs-joins-the-aspca-to-raise-awareness-about-at-risk-horses-on-aspca-help-a-horse-day-300250417.html