Fact Sheet

Home / Fact Sheets / The History of American Humane’s Red Star Rescue Team
Rescue

The History of American Humane’s Red Star Rescue Team

American Humane began doing animal relief in 1916, by accepting an invitation of the War Department to help animals used by the U.S. Army during WWI. The invitation resulted in the development of the American Red Star Animal Relief Program known today as Animal Emergency Services.

The U.S. armed services used 243,135 horses and mules during the war to transport supply wagons, ambulances, traveling kitchens, water carts, food, engineer equipment, light artillery, and tons of shells. Horses were used in direct combat, as well.

According to American Humane’s periodical, The Humane Review, these artillery and cavalry horses’ “bravery and endurance were equaled only by the courage and the skill of their riders.” More than 45,000 mules also served the U.S. Army in France doing the heavy work. They delivered millions of rounds to the guns over almost impassable roads, and thousands of them drowned or died from shell fire.

American Humane sent medical supplies, bandages, and ambulances to the front lines to care for the injured horses — an estimated 68,000 per month.

Since that time, the American Humane has helped the animal victims of natural and manmade disasters, such as floods, chemical spills, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and victims of animal cruelty throughout the country. Today, American Humane’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services includes a fleet of emergency response vehicles customized to help animals in disasters, specialized rescue equipment designed specifically for animal search and rescue, and a force of Emergency Services Volunteers located across the country.

More than 90 years of emergency relief

American Humane began doing animal relief in August 1916, by accepting an invitation of the War Department to help animals used by the U.S. Army during World War I. The invitation resulted in the development of the American Red Star Animal Relief Program known today as Animal Emergency Services.

Since its inception, American Humane’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services has responded to national and international disasters, rescuing thousands of animals. Animal rescue technology and expertise has advanced drastically in 90 years. Today, American Humane’s Animal Emergency Services includes a fleet of emergency response vehicles customized to help animals in disasters — specialized rescue equipment designed specifically for animal search and rescue.

Updated On
August 30, 2016
Related Programs
Rescue

Our first-responders are there when animals need them most

From natural disasters to animal cruelty investigations, we are on the front lines protecting animals in times of crisis.

Contribute Volunteer