Veeweyde is today one of the largest and oldest animal welfare societies in Belgium: the Society Against Cruelty to Animals – its original name – was founded in 1908 by Jules Ruhl. It is out of love for animals that the latter, still a young doctor in natural sciences, had shelters built, with his own funds, for animals in distress in Verviers, his hometown, but also in Liège, Namur, Dinant, Charleroi, Mons, La Louvière, Ostend, Louvain and again in Brussels, where the asylum-refuge on rue de Veeweyde in Anderlecht was well known to the Brussels public: a reception service had been operating there without interruption since its opening! The name “Veeweyde” also finds its origin in this place, probably the former common meadow of this “small village of sharecroppers” that Anderlecht was at the time. Very quickly, the Society Against Cruelty to Animals was called Veeweyde and this name became the name by which the society is now referred to. Also in 1908, Jules Ruhl created the first home animal removal service… which was carried out by cart, the only means of transport that Veeweyde had at the time!
It was also Jules Ruhl who founded the magazine Nos Meilleurs Amis, where he advocates in favor of animals. He wrote all the articles alone! But Jules Ruhl did not only have friends: in this pre-war period 1914-1918, he had adversaries whose goal, for some, was to obtain the maximum output from the animals for towing their carts and carriages. Let’s think about the fate reserved for horses in coal mines for example… But Jules Ruhl was convincing and his work began to pay off: in March 1929, he won an overwhelming victory by obtaining the promulgation of the law protecting animals. He had written the text himself!
Jules Ruhl remained at the forefront of the fight against animal cruelty for 28 years, until that fatal day of December 31, 1936: Jules Ruhl died following an accident at the Gare du Midi in Brussels, while he controlled the transport of some horses to Paris.
Thanks to him and his work, millions of animals have escaped barbaric suffering.
His goal, which is still ours today, is to combat the suffering inflicted on animals, whatever that may be, in all places and in all circumstances.
But despite the death of its founder, SRPA Veeweyde continues to develop, particular thanks to the numerous support of high-ranking people and the deep interest of the first sovereign of Belgium, Leopold I.