There is, in all of us, a force for good – the spark of compassion. Unfortunately, where animals are concerned, not all of us have had that spark ignited...But of one thing I am certain – that once a person has had this spark ignited, it will burn forever.
– Cleveland Amory, NEAVS President 1987-1998
Cleveland Amory with Polar Bear
In 1995, NEAVS celebrated its centennial by hosting a major exhibit at the Boston Public Library highlighting the Society's history, its founders and leaders and a historic survey of the animal protection and liberation movements in the country. President Cleveland Amory presented “Reverence for Life" awards to animal activists from the six New England states in recognition of their dedicated work against animal experimentation. He reminded members that advances in modern non-animal testing methods that would have been inconceivable to NEAVS' founders - would revolutionize the way medical research would be carried on in the next century. NEAVS could be proud of the fact that it had helped fund these methods and had educated the public about their effectiveness. He told his audience that, "although we have by no means reached our goal, we are certainly much closer to it than we were a century ago."
Theodora Capaldo,EdD, NEAVS President, 1998–present, and Shima
After 10 years of dedicated service, Cleveland Amory resigned as president in 1998 and Theodora Capaldo, EdD, became NEAVS’ new president. Dr. Capaldo brought 20 years of animal activism and expertise to NEAVS, having served on its board as both treasurer and secretary in the 1980s and having served as president of Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PSYETA).
With Dr. Capaldo came a Board of Directors representing the fields of psychology, medicine, veterinary medicine, education, and law. The new leadership at NEAVS reflected the success of earlier educational efforts, as many on the board had been galvanized to fight vivisection after reading NEAVS' advertisements in the greater Boston newspapers in the 1960s. They were now in a position to effect real change for animals. In 1992, the Wall Street Journal reported, “The biomedical community may have ample cause to worry” as “the animal rights movement has moved from being a fringe group to the mainstream during the last decade.”
This fact was emphasized in 1999 when representatives of the group Recording Animal Advocacy interviewed individuals and members of organizations – including officers at NEAVS – about their contributions to the animal advocacy movement. This program, which included other prominent members of the movement, made part of Columbia University’s Oral History Collection that documents important social movements in America.
In NEAVS’ Vet Ed Program, veterinary students learn surgery skills by performing on abandoned or feral animals.
As NEAVS enters the 21st century animal rights and environmental concerns have become parts of a paradigm shift that is also occurring in philosophy, science, and theology. This change is characterized by a rejection of the notion that humankind has unlimited license to exploit or dominate other life forms. It is the history of an American social movement which, along with women’s suffrage, child labor reform, emancipation, and human rights, is the quest for a more compassionate society for ourselves and for all the nonhuman animals with whom we share this planet. Earlier, Albert Schweitzer had written, “The time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics.”