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RSPCA Celebrates 200 Years

This year marks the 200th anniversary year of the RSPCA – making it the world’s oldest animal welfare charity, Nicola Walker, who works for the charity, explains more about the history and work of the RSPCA

The charity has come a long way since 1824 – when founding members met in a coffee shop in London determined to change animals’ lives, creating the then SPCA and sparking an animal welfare movement that spread around the world. For almost two centuries, the RSPCA has been changing minds, laws, industries and lives to create a better world for animals and people alike, but there is still so much more to do.

The work of the charity was recently recognised when his Majesty King Charles III chose to become its new Royal Patron. His Majesty follows in the footsteps of his late mother Queen Elizabeth II who was the RSPCA’s Royal Patron for 70 years, during which time she oversaw huge advancements for animal welfare. The royal patronage was first granted by Queen Victoria in 1840, allowing the charity to use ‘Royal’ in its name and began an enduring association, of more than 180-years, with the Monarch and the Royal Family.

The charity has seen so much change in the past two centuries – but sadly animals still need us more than ever. Through its branches, wildlife centres, and rescuers the charity does all it can to help animals in Sussex and across England and Wales. Sussex is served by a team of  RSPCA rescuers who help animals and investigate cruelty, while also offering welfare advice and support to pet owners in need. Sussex is home to the RSPCA Mallydams Wood Wildlife and Education Centre which has rescued and rehabilitated thousands of wild animals over the years including seals, water birds, garden birds, foxes, badgers, birds of prey and even bats!

The county is also home to four independent RSPCA branches – Sussex East and Hastings, Sussex North and Brighton, Sussex West, and Mid Sussex and Eastbourne – who all rehabilitate and rehome rescued animals and help animals most in need in the area. These separately registered charities raise money locally to support the animal welfare work they do. Many animals will have endured horrendous suffering but with the care of dedicated staff and volunteers they will be helped to recover before they are found loving homes. In the 10 years up to the end of 2022, these centres have found new homes for a staggering 17,539 animals.

Throughout their history local RSPCA teams have helped thousands more animals in the county and are determined to carry on their amazing work. Currently, the charity has even more animals in need of help coming into RSPCA care – but at the same time rehoming has been declining sharply, meaning thousands fewer rescue pets are being adopted and the branches and centres are full to bursting. In addition animals are facing bigger challenges than ever – as a result of factory farming, climate change, war and a cost-of-living crisis.

So, in the 200th year the charity want to inspire one million people to join their movement to improve animals’ lives. The RSPCA is also urging more people to demonstrate their passion for wildlife by signing up as a Wildlife Friend. Everyone can help create a better world for every animal. Whether you have five minutes or five hours to spare each week, whether you live in a flat, narrowboat or house with a garden – there are tasks suitable for everyone to complete for all seasons of the year.

To find out how you can join the million-strong movement for animals visit:

More information on the RSPCA’s 200th anniversary at:


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