AskDefine | Define humane

Dictionary Definition

humane adj
1 pertaining to or concerned with the humanities; "humanistic studies"; "a humane education" [syn: humanist, humanistic]
2 marked or motivated by concern with the alleviation of suffering [ant: inhumane]
3 showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement

User Contributed Dictionary



Variety of human.



  1. With regard for the health and well-being of another; compassionate.
    It is no longer considered humane to perform vivisection on research animals.


Derived terms

Related terms




From humanus


  1. humanly, in a human manner.
  2. humanely, kindly, politely; in a humane manner.

Related terms


  • Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, 1st edition. (Oxford University Press)



  1. definite singular masculine form of human

Extensive Definition

A humane society may be a group that aims to stop human or animal suffering due to cruelty or other reasons, although in many countries it is now used mostly for societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA's). In the United Kingdom it may also be a society that provides a waterways rescue, prevention and recovery service, or that gives awards for the saving of human life.

United Kingdom

The first Humane societies were founded in the United Kingdom, the Royal Humane Society in 1774, , The Glasgow Humane Society in 1790 and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in 1824.
The Royal Humane Society is a charity that grants awards for acts of bravery in the saving of human and animals lives. Also for the restoration of life by resuscitation. Since its foundation the society has made more than 85,000 awards. The Glasgow Humane Society is a prevention, rescue and recovery group set up to cover the waterways of Greater Glasgow, Scotland
The main animal humane societies in the UK are the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) (founded 1824) and its offshoots, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and the the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA). There is also the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), founded in 1917 to treat the sick and injured animals of the poor, and numerous other animal rescue charities for wildlife, working animals and domestic pets.

United States

The first SPCA in the USA was the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), founded by Henry Bergh in New York in 1866. Examples of other national, nonsheltering humane animal societies include: The Humane Society of the United States, American Humane which was founded in 1877 as a network of local organizations to prevent cruelty to children and animals. The sheltering humane societies include: Peninsula Humane Society and The Humane Society of Allen County. Many local humane societies were founded earlier, and are independent of these similarly named organizations, therefore, local humane groups called SPCA or Humane Society are not related to the national groups such as the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA. As of 2005, the Oregon Humane Society adopts the highest percentage of animals in the U.S. nationally with 96% for dogs and 80% for cats.


National organizations primarily work on "big picture" approach including research, public education and assisting local shelters and rescue groups. Local groups primarily handle the actual care (housing, adoption, and euthanasia) of animals, but their programs may also include education and outreach to the public.
There are municipal and private run shelters. Not all local groups euthanize. Municipal shelters "must" accept all animals given up by the public, but private shelters are not required to do so, though some have a contract with their municipality that requires they do.

No kill policy

Some shelters refer to themselves as "no kill." However this does not necessarily mean that the problem of unwanted animals has been resolved in their community. Unless the whole community can claim that enough new good homes can be found for all the animals that are taken to shelters, "no kill" is a business choice of that particular shelter, as other shelters will likely pick up the rest of the unwanted animals in that community. Many shelters that use the terminology "no kill" actually do perform euthanasia, though usually in small numbers, and they claim only to euthanise animals that they determine are not appropriate for adoption.


The first SPCA in Canada was the Canadian SPCA founded in Montreal in 1869. The other societies developed on a regional basis and now 123 societies are represented at a federal level by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.

New Zealand

Early British settlers brought with them the laws of England and the English Protection of Animals Act of 1835 was adopted by New Zealand. This was replaced by New Zealand's own Protection of Animals Act in 1878 and the first SPCA was formed in Dunedin in 1882 quickly followed by other societies. In 1933 all the societies amalgamated as a federation and this grew into the present day's Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Humane Society of New Zealand was established as a registered charity in 1975.


The first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), based on the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), was set up in Victoria in 1871, followed by other SPCA's in Tasmania in 1872, New South Wales in 1873, South Australia in 1875, Queensland in 1883 and Western Australia in 1892, with the other territories following much later.
The SPCA's were given the Royal Warrant in 1956 and became known as the Royal Societies for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, although they have no formal connection with the RSPCA UK. The national organisation RSPCA Australia was formed in 1981 to give a national voice on policy matters and advise the federal government on animal welfare issues.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1