Staff with elephants in Thailand

Our history

Image credit: World Animal Protection / Nick Axelrod

We’ve moved the world to protect animals for 70 years.

We're proud of our past. 

Since we began in 1950, we’ve made huge strides in our mission to protect animals. 

Thanks to our amazing supporters, we’ve woken the world up to the cruelty and suffering that billions of animals endure.

In June 2014 we became World Animal Protection. While our name changed, our determination to protect animals remains the same. 

Just like our supporters worldwide, we know change for a better world for animals is always possible.

The more people who join us, the more we can achieve for animals. Will you sign up now to help end needless animal suffering?

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Key dates

Our history
WSPA staff member rescues a horse

World Animal Protection in Aotearoa New Zealand

Since 2003 World Animal Protection in Aotearoa New Zealand has been fundraising and campaigning on a range of important issues, including lobbying the government for stronger animal welfare laws.

We were a member of the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management (NAWEM) Liaison Group, Animal Behaviour and Welfare Consultative Committee (ABWCC) and the New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC). We worked closely with the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries to improve the welfare of all animals in New Zealand.

staff peacufully adovcating in nz for animals

Previous campaigns

Learn about some of the achievements we've made for animals in disasters, wildlife, community animals, and farm animals.

What we do

Working around the world to end the needless suffering of animals by inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better.

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 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 offices in 12 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. Find out more about our work worldwide.

A history of disaster work

Ever since ‘Operation Gwamba’ in 1964, when we rescued 10,000 animals from floodwaters in Suriname, South America we’ve protected millions 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 and Afghanistan. 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, India and Nepal.

Today, we continue moving the world to protect animals – add your voice to help protect animals.

A history of global action

We’ve moved international organisations 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. Today, we’re the only animal protection organisation 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 and the planet we all call home. 

Wellington New Zealand hector and Maui dolphin protest

Add your voice

Take action

We’re fighting to stop people exploiting wildlife and give farmed animals good lives. Take action today by signing our petitions and pledging to protect wildlife and farm animals. We need your help. Are you with us?

Act Now
Happy Elephant Valley venue

Animals in the wild / Ngā kararehe mohoao

We move the world to protect wildlife – and keep them in the wild.

Broiler chicken

Animals in farming / Ngā kararehe pāmu

We move the world to protect billions of animals farmed each year.

Wild dolphins in New Zealand

Keep up to date / Kia whakamōhiotia

Join thousands of animal lovers fighting to protect wildlife and give farmed animals good lives. Sign up now to receive emails with all the ways you can help.

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