Standards of Excellence

The GFAS Standards of Excellence were initially developed and reviewed with the input of animal services officers, 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.

Each set of standards is for a specific animal group and contains guidelines for:

  • Housing
  • Physical facilities and administration
  • Nutritional requirements
  • Veterinary care
  • Well-being and handling
  • General staffing
  • Safety policies, protocols, and training
  • Governing authority
  • Financial records and stability
  • Education and Outreach
  • Policies: Acquisition and disposition
  • Policies: Public contact and restriction on use and handling
  • Release into the wild (where applicable)

*NEW* Revised Standards 

GFAS Standards for Equine and Farm Animal groups have been reformatted to separate the Operations and Animal Care portions.  This 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. Animal Care Standards for remaining animal groups are being similarly reviewed and reformatted. GFAS member sanctuaries and new applicant facilities will be notified promptly as each taxa-specific Animal Care Standards are uploaded and ready for use. 

Animal Care Standards
Aquatic/Semi-Aquatic Birds
Equine
Ground Feeding Birds
Lagomorph, Rodent, Hyrax
Ruminants
Suidae

Operations Standards
Operations Standards for Species Listed Above

The standards for the animal groups below include animal care standards as well as operations standards (click a species below to view the standards):

Arboreal Perching Birds
Bats
Bears
Birds of Prey
Canids
Caniforms
Crocodillians
Elephants
Felids
Feliforms
Great apes (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
Testudine

The Standards have evolved since that time in response to improved knowledge and understanding of the needs of animals and capacities of sanctuaries. In addition, Scientific Advisory Groups (SAGs) are providing their background and expertise to provide further updates. If you have any suggestions, please submit suggestions here.