This brochure discusses the “Be Kind to Animals”™ buttons designed and distributed by the American Humane Education Society (AHES) in the early years of the 20th century. As this brochure makes clear, the goal was to have as many people as possible wearing buttons reading “Be Kind to Animals.”™
If the recipient of such a button felt compelled to make a donation, then that money was to be reinvested in the campaign, however, those reading this brochure were also told that “if it should be deemed wise they may give them away to those who will keep and wear them.”
Any humane society or individual who wanted to purchase the buttons for distribution could do so at a cost of $3 for 500. The AHES noted that this was not a money-making venture for them, rather, that this price covered the cost of producing the buttons as well as the cost of packaging and postage.
The AHES saw tremendous potential in this button campaign.
“Imagine what it would mean if millions of these buttons were to be seen throughout the country, worn by all sorts of people, by members of humane societies and their friends, by street-car conductors, by policemen, by drivers, by hundreds of thousands of school and Sunday-school children, and if the words war written on blackboards in school-rooms, or displayed on advertisements, or wherever some one could obtain a place for them!”
In other words, the visibility of this button–in all of the contexts listed above–is what the AHES felt would help make this campaign a success. As this brochure notes, “no one could see a button with its plea “Be Kind to Animals,”™ without at least having his thought called to this claim upon him of all animal life. Thousands who would never see a humane book or leaflet or hear a word said upon this subject would be led to think of their duty.” The “Be Kind to Animals”™ button may have been small in size, but it was given a place of honour in early Humane Education campaigns.