NEW YORK, April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the participants in its 2015 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. Participating rescue groups will be competing for the chance to win up to $10,000 in grant prizes to assist their efforts to protect horses. The groups will be judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their ability to engage their local communities. This year the contest has expanded to recognize seven winners.
"The equine rescues and sanctuaries that step in to care for abused or neglected horses give them a much-deserved new lease on life, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to expand the contest this year to recognize even more groups for their hard work," said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. "We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and creativity of last year's participants, and look forward to seeing what new ideas our repeat participants incorporate into their ASPCA Help a Horse Day events. We are also excited to welcome many new groups who will be participating for the first time."
This year, 110 groups will be hosting events across 33 states during the weekend of April 24-26. Activities include open houses, education programs, spring festivals, hoe-downs, barn raisings, 5K walks 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.
The ASPCA has also launched a petition on TakePart.com, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter. Each year, approximately 150,000 American horses are purchased and trucked to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. The vast majority of these horses (92 percent per USDA) are in good physical condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes. Horse slaughter is especially inhumane because horses, skittish by nature, are extremely difficult to render unconscious before slaughter. Horse slaughter is a cruel, predatory industry, and as long as sending American horses to slaughter for human consumption abroad remains a legal option, thousands of equines will be vulnerable at local horse auctions where kill buyers are present.
Last year, the ASPCA awarded over $1.1 million in grants to support 169 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grants were primarily awarded as part of the ASPCA Equine Fund, which provides life-saving resources – including financial assistance, in-person and online training, and sharing of best practices -- to support non-profit equine welfare organizations.
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, 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.