NEW YORK, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced participants in its 2014 ASPCA Help a Horse Day grants contest, a nationwide competition for equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the lifesaving year-round work they do to care for local at-risk horses who've been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless. Participating rescue groups will be competing for the chance to win one of five $10,000 grant prizes to assist their efforts to protect horses. Contestants will be judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their ability to engage the local community.
"Equine rescues and sanctuaries that step in to care for these horses give them a much-deserved new lease on life," said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. "We were so impressed by the creativity and commitment of this year's participants. They were clearly inspired by their deep passion for horse welfare, and embody the spirit and hope behind Help a Horse Day. It is the perfect opportunity for the horse-loving public to join with rescues to make an impact that will last far beyond the celebration day."
More than 80 groups will be hosting events across 32 states on Saturday, 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, including legislation, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants.
Thousands of equines become homeless each year through no fault of their own, and many frequently end up at livestock auctions where they are purchased for slaughter. It's a myth that only old, sick or injured horses are slaughtered. The USDA notes that more than 92 percent of horses sent to slaughter – over 144,000 in 2013 alone–are in good condition, and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes.
In 2013 the ASPCA awarded $1.4 million in grants to support equine rescues and sanctuaries in 43 states and the District of Columbia. The grants were primarily awarded as part of the ASPCA Equine Fund, which provides life-saving resources – including financial help, in-person and online training, and sharing of best practices -- to non-profit equine welfare organizations in the U.S.
About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, 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 Pinterest.