Standards of Excellence

History and Development of Standards

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) has developed and maintained a set of 26 animal-specific and operations standards that we use to promote excellence in animal care and evaluate organizations’ operations. The GFAS Standards were initially developed and reviewed with the input of non-profit professionals, sanctuary managers, animal protection advocates, and veterinarians utilizing existing standards from outstanding sanctuaries as a starting framework and refined/expanded upon based on knowledge and expertise of contributors. GFAS continues to embody the power of collaboration, as we work together with like-minded partner organizations to improve animal care, sanctuary safety and sustainability, and seek feedback on our standards. 

The GFAS Standards are considered living documents, as practices continue to progress and change through advancements in knowledge.  Comments, feedback, and proposed changes received are directed to the GFAS Accreditation Committee and reviewed during a formalized, annual and regular process for revisions to GFAS Animal Care and Operations Standards.

GFAS Standards are formatted in such a way as to separate the Operations and Animal Care portions.  One single volume of Operations Standards, containing guidelines for governance, finance, staffing, safety and outreach is meant to apply to facilities caring for any/all animal taxa.  Operations Standards are then paired with the Animal Care Standard(s) which correspond to the animals being cared for at any sanctuary facility. All applicants for Accreditation or Verification are expected to comply with the Operations Standards and Animal Care Standards. 

Operations Standards
Operations Standards for all species

Animal Care Standards
Aquatic/Semi-Aquatic Birds
Arboreal Perching Birds
Birds of Prey
Ground Feeding Birds
Lagomorph, Rodent, Hyrax
Marine Mammals (currently under review)
Monotremes, Marsupials and Small Insectivores
New World Primates (currently under review)
Non-Testudine Reptile Standards
Old World Primates (currently under review)
Prosimians (currently under review)
Rhino, Hippo, Tapir
Suidae (currently under review)

*NEW* Reformatted Standards

GFAS Animal Care Standards for Apes have been reformatted to include a Standards Appendix for Ape Sanctuaries. This Appendix is intended to be read in conjunction with the General Animal Care Standards, and provides additional requirements and recommendations for apes.  Animal Care Standards for additional animal groups are being similarly reviewed and/or reformatted. GFAS Accredited and Verified sanctuaries and new applicant facilities will be notified promptly as additional taxa-specific Animal Care Standards Appendices are uploaded and ready for use.

General Animal Care Standards

Standards Appendix for Ape Sanctuaries
Standards Appendix for Bear Sanctuaries