Today, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) launched a national campaign called “Raise the Barn” to coincide with the kickoff of its fifth annual ASPCA Help a Horse Day contest. More than 120 equine rescues, sanctuaries, and shelters across the country are competing in the annual grants contest, which is designed to raise awareness about the year-round lifesaving work they do to find homes for horses. This year’s contest runs from April 26 to June 30 and has been expanded to offer 17 grant prizes totaling $110,000.
Motivated by the results of ASPCA equine research suggesting there could be approximately 2.3 million adults in the U.S. with both the resources and desire to adopt a horse in need, Help a Horse Day 2018 is focused on finding good homes for horses. Groups will be judged on the number of adoptions and adoption commitments they secure, the amount of funds they raise during the contest period, the best overall adoption campaign, and most compelling adoption video. The contestants have been separated into three divisions based on budget, capacity and number of adoptions they achieved last year.
“Help a Horse Day has always been about elevating equine welfare and we are grateful to all of the contestants for their willingness to stretch and grow with us this year as we learn how to find more good homes for horses,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of Equine Welfare for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA is excited to empower these organizations with the tools they need to engage their communities and supercharge adoptions to safely place more horses in loving homes.”
While equine groups across the country engage their local communities to find homes for horses during the contest, the ASPCA is also asking the public to help “raise the barn” for horses in need. Every year, thousands of horses across the country are at risk of cruelty, neglect or homelessness. The public can help by signing on to become an ASPCA Equine Ambassador. Ambassadors can take action for horses by adopting or fostering a horse, supporting legislative efforts to protect horses or donating to help abused and neglected horses.
Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26—a date chosen for its significance in 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. Now in its fifth year, Help a Horse Day has been a meaningful way for equine rescues and sanctuaries to garner essential community support for their lifesaving work. Since 2014, the ASPCA has awarded equine groups more than $300,000 in grant funding through the Help a Horse Day contest.