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)

The standards have been created for the following animal groups (click a species below to view the standards):

Aquatic Birds Standards
Arboreal Perching Birds
Bats
Bears
Birds of Prey
Canids
Caniforms
Crocodillians
Elephants
Equine
Felids
Feliforms
Great apes (currently under review)
Ground Feeding Birds
Lagomorphs, Rodents and Hyrax
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
Ruminant
Suidae
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.