Britain’s premier animal welfare charity – and the world’s oldest and one of its largest– has fought against cruelty to animals and campaigned for better treatment, laws and attitudes since 1824. Its early years were shaped by Christian social reformers, who promoted kindness, opposed baiting for sport, pushed for improved husbandry and lobbied for welfare law reforms. After years of campaigning, 2017 brought the introduction of longer prison sentences for animal abusers from a maximum of six months to five years. The RSPCA continues to focus on carrying out rescues, investigating cruelty complaints, pressing convictions and finding new homes for animals. In 2017, it rescued 114,584 animals, investigated 141,760 complaints, secured 1,492 convictions and found new homes for 44,611 animals.