John Walsh with another WSPA employee helping a dog after a disaster.

Our History

Your support has allowed us to move the world to protect animals for more than 50 years.

We’re proud of our past

We became World Animal Protection in June 2014. But while our name has changed, our determination to protect animals remains as strong as ever. We’ve grown, and so has our influence. And, just like our supporters worldwide, we know change is always possible–because we’ve been transforming animals’ lives since 1950.

Horse rescue

Key dates

1950 The World Federation for the Protection of Animals (WFPA) is formed

1959 The International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPA) is formed

1981 WFPA and ISPA merge to become WSPA–the World Society for the Protection of Animals

2014 We become World Animal Protection

A history of protecting animals everywhere

We’ve always moved wherever the need for animal protection is greatest–from treating more than 70,000 animals following the Haiti earthquake in 2010 to training vets in Thailand to ending bear dancing across India in 2012 to investigating animal trafficking in El Salvador. And as we’ve grown, we’ve focused on protecting more animals in more places. Today, we have regional hubs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, and offices in 12 countries. Find out more about our work worldwide.

A history of disaster work

Ever since ‘Operation Gwamba,’ when we rescued 10,000 animals from floodwaters in Suriname in 1964, we’ve protected hundreds of thousands of animals in disasters. We’ve responded to earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, tornados, volcano eruptions, cyclones, and shipwrecks. We’ve saved animals in conflicts from Bosnia to Rwanda to Afghanistan. And today, we move faster than ever to protect animals when disaster strikes. See how we save animals in disasters.

A history of campaigning

We’ve campaigned for lasting change for decades. Launched in 1985, our campaign against bullfighting moved almost 50 cities in France and Spain to ban bullfighting. In the same decade, India banned the trade in frogs’ legs after six years of WSPA campaigning–saving more than 30 million frogs annually. And in the 1990s, our Libearty campaign helped to outlaw bear dancing in Greece, Turkey, and most of India. Today, we keep piling on the pressure. Add your voice to help protect animals.

A history of global action

We’ve moved international organizations to protect animals for many years. As WSPA, we began lobbying the EU in the 1980s, were given consultative status at the UN in 1981, and by the 1990s had been represented at the Council of Europe. And we’re now the only animal protection organization to regularly address the UN.

We’re proud of our past and excited about our future. Join us to help move the world to protect animals.

Act Now

John Walsh.

The Story of John Walsh

Our storied history of protecting animals in disasters began in 1964 with John Walsh, and his first rescue expedition, Operation Gwamba.

World Animal Protection team member in an unspecified city.

Our New Name

Learn how World Animal Protection got its name.