In November, 2019, the GFAS Equine Program was proud to be a part of Equine Affaire, in Springfield, MA. Equine Affaire is one of North America’s largest equine expositions and equestrian gatherings; horse people representing all breeds of horses and all equestrian disciplines convened to share their passion for horses. GFAS was delighted to host a table and many stalls with horses available for adoption from local GFAS accredited equine groups at the event’s “Adoption Affaire”. GFAS staff Daryl Tropea and Valerie Taylor also served as presenters at Equine Affaire, speaking on “Think Adoption First: 10 Points to Consider When Adopting a Horse”. Huge thanks to Equine Affaire for promoting GFAS and equine adoption; thanks to Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue (NY), Live and Let Live Farm (NH), and New England Equine Rescue-North (MA) for bringing horses for adoption to showcase at the event.
Equine Welfare Data Collective
The inaugural Equine Welfare Data Collective (EWDC) report is here, and we think you, like GFAS does, will find the information very interesting. Yes, the sample size (253 organizations) is still too small to provide truly accurate national or regional projections, but this first report gives us insight into how useful this information will be to improve and expand our GFAS programs that support our sanctuaries and rescues helping at-risk equines. Your data contribution to the EWDC is key to helping make reports, such as this one, more accurate and credible to support the work that we all do for equines.
Here is a small sample of the results you will find in the report.
Figure 1 (partial section) on page 8 of the report shows how 501 (c)3 equine rescues and sanctuaries are distributed across the country. GFAS is using this knowledge to identify which regions we need to work harder to encourage organizations to become accredited or verified.
GFAS Standards of Excellence were developed to be applicable to all sizes of equine organizations whether your maximum capacity is to care for 5 equine or 500. Figure 5 begins to illustrate that the vast number of equine organizations care for 50 horses or less. As GFAS continues to evaluate and improve our care standards, we must ensure that the standards remain applicable to smaller grass-roots organizations as well as the larger more established organizations.
Accurate record keeping is essential for providing responsible care to animals. GFAS standards recommend an electronic database for most record keeping but the few software programs have been specifically developed for sanctuaries and rescues. Figure 6 supports this assumption showing that 37% of organizations are using a spreadsheet program that they have developed themselves. GFAS has begun work to evaluate current management software so that we can bring a cost-effective solution to our member organizations.
This is just a small sample and many more results can we found in the full report.
The EWDC was created by the United Horse Coalition, a program of the American Horse Council (AHC) with funding partners being The Right Horse Initiative (TRH), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation (AAEPF), to accumulate, analyze and report data to enhance programming for transitioning and at-risk equine.
The second survey, collecting data from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 is now available on the EWDC web page, at https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/submit-data/
This is a project that cannot be accomplished without a robust contribution of data from all equine rescue and sanctuary organizations, large and small. GFAS highly encourages your participation in the contribution of data to the EWDC. When the online survey is available, I will share and provide reminders via e-mail and social media.
If you would like to know more about the Equine Welfare Data Collective, please see their webpage at https://www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org/equine-welfare-data-collective/ or contact the Project Manager, Emily Stearns, at
Testing Boundaries: Why the EPA’s Mammal Testing Phase-Out
Raised Eyebrows and Questions
On September 10, 2019 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they would begin phasing out animal testing on mammals and complete elimination of these studies by 2035. This historic move was cause for celebration, anger, and skepticism, and not just within the animal protection movement. Why was this unprecedented decision so contentious? And what questions does it raise for animal advocates and GFAS accredited sanctuaries? Are we ready for this? Read an in-depth article here.
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary: Refuge from Research
GFAS is proud to partner with Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, the largest New World primate sanctuary in the United States with over 300 residents. Located in Gainesville, Florida, Jungle Friends provides permanent high-quality sanctuary care for New World monkeys retired from laboratory research, the pet trade, or monkeys who have been confiscated by authorities. This committed organization also works at the root of the captive monkey problem with their educational outreach programs and active advocacy work.
Kari Bagnall founded Jungle Friends after a monkey called Samantha introduced her to the problems of captive monkeys and changed the course of her life. Years later, Kari and the Jungle Friends staff are widely respected as experts in New World monkey special needs care. After years of isolation, neglect, malnourishment and abuse, research monkeys suffer from psychological and physical problems. As research monkey retirement continues to gain momentum, Jungle Friends plays a vital role in offering these monkeys a chance at a new life with companions, lush greenery, sunshine and compassionate care. The days in cold, barren cages as test subjects are over. Thank you, Kari and Jungle Friends for your leadership and the loving care you lavish on monkeys that so desperately need it.
Congratulations on your Re-Accreditation!
Learn more about Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary here: https://www.junglefriends.org/