February 1, 2024

Animal Advocates Who Made Today Possible for the Animals

February is Black History Month. Last year, we shared the contributions of Dr. Lila Miller — the mother of shelter medicine — and how she made strides in advancing veterinary care standards for homeless animals.

We’ve also explored the work of Dr. William Key who, alongside his horse, Beautiful Jim Key, was a pioneer in the humane education movement — instilling in the next generation a sense of compassion and responsibility towards animals.

Dr. Key was not the only Black animal advocate to champion humane education. Frederick Rivers Barnwell was a minister, leader in public health and a champion for animals. Between 1914 and 1918, working with the American Humane Education Society, he travelled across Texas and other southern states to advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of animals. He organized birdhouse building competitions for youth and even held a session to discuss with soldiers the importance of humanely caring for horses used in war.

The foundation Dr. Key, Barnwell and other caring people built, shaped humane education and solidified it as a vital part of building a more humane and compassionate community for all. At the OHS, humane education is a part of our work in connecting children and youth with animals through camps, classroom presentations, our Youth Pet Sitting program, birthday parties and more.

While the methods have evolved and changed throughout the years, the heart of humane education remains the same. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the contributions of a diverse and caring community ready to stand up for the animals.

President & CEO