The prevention of cruelty to animals

Archival Moment

March 10, 1879

We Love Animals

We Love Animals

On March 10, 1879 the St. John’s newspaper “The Temperance Journal” reported on the early development of a relatively new movement advocating for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

The editor of the local paper James Murray wrote:

“We observe that our thoughtful humanitarian Judge (Daniel W.) Prowse has projected an amended Act for the prevention of cruelty to animals.”

The Editor, with tongue firmly planted in his cheek continued:

Now regarding the necessity of such an act we agree, but what about the necessity of an Act for the prevention of cruelty by animals. Anyone who has witnessed the tender cabbage sprout, that has been watered and watched, and saved alike from the early frost, and the early grub, only to be devoured by the ruthless goat, and a goat that doesn’t belong to you, at that, will understand us.”

Prowse and others did press on and in his lifetime he saw the establishment of the Newfoundland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)  in 1888.

The first work of this newly formed Society was mostly amongst horses, and the hardship they endured from pulling heavy loads up steep hills from the harbor.

Recommended Archival Collection: At The Rooms Provincial Archives: MG 593: 1912 -1927 consists of correspondence; complaint books, and investigation reports.

Recommended Website: For more information on the  SPCA  go to