Leaders in the Humane Education Movement

Hand-colored lantern slide of George T. Angell, founder of the MSPCA and the AHES. Collection of MSPCA Angell.

This movement was comprised of thousands of people who believed in the potential of making the world a kinder, gentler place through education and advocacy. From the thousands of children who took Band of Mercy pledges, to the AHES fieldworkers, and from the teachers who followed Humane Education lesson plans to the parents who took time to read their children books like Black Beauty, the actions and the spirit of these thousands of individuals helped shape Humane Education during this era.

In addition, there were some key individuals who were pioneers of animal advocacy during this time period, leaders who had a vision for ways to make positive changes for all species. While not everyone listed below may necessarily have identified as part of the Humane Education movement, their work paved the way for an increased awareness of the welfare and rights of nonhuman animals in countries like Canada, Great Britain, and the United States.

George T. Angell was a lawyer by training, but is best remembered as the founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and the American Humane Education Society (AHES). He also founded Our Dumb Animals, the official publication of both the MSPCA and the AHES, and one of the earliest illustrated magazines on the subject of humane treatment of animals.

Henry Bergh was the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the first organization of its kind in the United States.

Frances Power Cobbe was an anti-vivisection activist and founder of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection in 1898.

Louise Lind af Hageby was a prominent feminist and animal rights activist. She is especially remembered for her anti-vivisection activism. She was the co-founder of the Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society (1903) and of the The Anti-Vivisection Review (1909).

J.J. Kelso founded the Toronto Humane Society in 1887.

Milton and Edith Latham were siblings who founded the Latham Foundation for The Promotion of Humane Education in 1918. The Latham Foundation was a memorial tribute to their parents.

Francis Rowley was the second President (after George T. Angell) of both the MSPCA and the AHES. Prior to taking on these roles in 1910 he had worked as both a veterinarian and as a Baptist minister. He expanded upon the work that Angell had begun, and oversaw the construction of such projects as the Angell Memorial Hospital.

Catherine Smithies founded the Band of Mercy movement in Britain in 1875.

William O. Stillman was the President of the American Humane Association between the years of 1905-1924. At the urging of Dr. Francis Rowley of the American Humane Education Society (AHES), he founded the Be Kind to Animals Week® campaigns in 1915.

Caroline Earle White was the co-founder of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA) in 1867 and founder of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) in 1883.

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Previous Section: About Humane Education

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