GFAS has established standards of care and operations for 25 different groups of animals, which we use to evaluate sanctuaries, rescue centers, and rehabilitation centers in a thorough and rigorous manner including a comprehensive site visit. Those organizations that meet our standards are recognized with accreditation or verification status, and the public can be reassured that they provide humane and responsible care for their animals in a non-exploitive environment.

Why Is Accreditation Important?

Not all sanctuaries are created equal – There are thousands of entities worldwide that describe themselves as a “sanctuary” or “rescue” for displaced, exotic, equine and farm animals. However, the quality of animal care and sustainability of the organization varies widely among them. It is a poorly regulated industry, in which facilities that keep animals in deplorable conditions have the same designation as those of the highest quality.

For all people invested in the welfare of captive animals — donors, grantmakers, supporters and legislators, there is shared desire to differentiate the best sanctuaries. Through our evaluation process, GFAS can ensure that those designated as GFAS-verified or accredited uphold the highest standards for the animals in their care.

Our mission is to help sanctuaries help animals. As such, any organization worldwide may apply to receive accreditation or verification status that meets our eligibility criteria. GFAS also stands ready to be of assistance to any accredited or verified sanctuary which runs into difficulties. However, we work to prevent such difficulties by providing organizations with standards of operations, educational resources and mentorship.

Find out more about the benefits of accreditation here.

Who Can Apply for Accreditation or Verification?

Our accreditation/verification program is used to evaluate three different types of organizations that care for displaced equine, wildlife and farm animal sanctuaries anywhere: sanctuaries, rescue centers, and rehabilitation centers. While we are based in the United States, we are the only accreditation agency that assesses organizations in any country across the globe. We provide this service for organizations caring for any animal species except domestic cats and dogs (socialized or feral).

Find out more about the Who Can Apply here.