As 2022 draws to a close, we look back on the abundant accomplishments for animals-in-need which the year brought. Protections for big cats and other animals moved closer to being wrote into law; in court, activists successfully defended the right to rescue farmed animals, and thousands of generous donors tuned in during giving events and disasters to support sanctuaries and rescue centers, despite challenging economic times. The myriad of seemingly small, daily victories, performed with the disciplined consistency over time that is indicative of those within our GFAS family – Caregivers, Sanctuary Managers and Directors, Advocates, and Supporters – has led to extraordinary results.
Changes for Daryl Tropea, Program Director – Equine
With much appreciation for her unconditional dedication, GFAS announces the retirement of our dear friend and beloved staff member, Dr. Daryl Tropea, Program Director-Equine. Daryl has been an integral part of GFAS for more than 10 years, serving as an outstanding mentor, resource, and sounding board for hundreds of sanctuaries and rescue centers. Daryl’s commitment to GFAS, sanctuaries, and improving the lives of animals-in-need has been instrumental to the success and continuity of GFAS.
Although Daryl will depart GFAS as a staff member at the end of 2022, she has graciously agreed to stay close to our mission, and will join GFAS in a new role, as a Board member in January, 2023. On behalf of GFAS and our family of GFAS sanctuaries, we wish a massive thanks to Daryl for her contributions.
Traci Hanson, who has worked in the GFAS Equine Program since November, 2021, will fill the position of GFAS Program Director-Equine going forward.
Amazing News! The Big Cat Public Safety Act has Passed!
Passage of the bill is a significant advancement for captive big cats, many years in the making. Thanks to ALL of you who made calls to your federal representatives and demanded change! Congratulations to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA) and its members, who worked tirelessly to lobby congressional representatives and asked their supporters to do the same. GFAS is grateful for your dedication and perseverance.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263/ S. 1210), prohibits keeping big cats as pets and also bans contact between big cats and the public. The bill now heads to the White House for President Biden’s signature. Once the bill becomes law, the Big Cat Public Safety Act will put an end to cub petting in road side zoos and eliminate private possession of dangerous big cats. Finally!
Thank you again to everyone who fought for captive big cats and their cubs. You never gave up, and it made all the difference in the lives of countless animals.
December’s Final Round Table of the Year – and more to come in 2023!
GFAS hosted our sixth and final Round Table of the year in December, on the topic of “retaining and rewarding personnel,” with another great discussion among our sanctuaries in attendance. Through our Round Tables, sanctuaries are able to learn from each other, seek solutions to their challenges, and let us know how we can support their efforts. We are excited as we look ahead to 2023 with plans not only for more Round Tables but also for webinars, guest speakers, and other ways to help sanctuaries help animals!
Ricky Gervais Steps Up to Support Wild Futures and the Monkey Sanctuary!
Wild Futures, operates the Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall, United Kingdom, the first and only wildlife sanctuary in Europe to earn GFAS Accreditation. Established in 1964, Wild Futures has over a half-century of experience in primate welfare and care. This leader in primate advocacy, conservation, rescue, and sanctuary, currently cares for 40 monkeys that were once abused and neglected in the pet and entertainment industries. The rescued primates now enjoy compassionate rehabilitative care alongside loving companions in spacious and enriching enclosures. In addition to direct animal care, Wild Futures continues to be a highly respected voice speaking out against the burgeoning pet trade in the UK.
Like many others struggling to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, Wild Futures is now in a dire financial situation. Years of lost tour revenue, coupled with the cost of living increase, has forced the organization to utilize all remaining operational reserves. With the sanctuary under threat of permanent closure, long-time animal advocate, Ricky Gervais recently designed a t-shirt to help raise funding. If you’d like to help this special sanctuary continue their vital work rescuing primates and fighting back against the pet trade, please purchase a t-shirt and/or visit their donation page here: Save Our Sanctuary! Please visit the Wild Futures website to learn more about their work: www.wildfutures.org
Ground-breaking Sanctuary-Based Research featured in NYT
Last month, Accredited Farm Sanctuary, NY was featured in the New York Times with the headline: “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Barn? To Sign Up for the Scientific Study.”
“Farm Sanctuary’s sanctuary-based research program is a multidisciplinary program that, within a sanctuary framework and through a social justice lens, draws upon animal ethology, philosophy, animal welfare science, veterinary medicine, multi-species ethnography, and other disciplines.”
According to Lauri Torgerson-White, an animal welfare scientist and the Director of Research at Farm Sanctuary, the studies “explore the inner lives of the residents at Farm Sanctuary. This work builds upon The Someone Project, which sought to summarize the scientific literature on farm animal sentience. We are excited to be piloting research according to ethics guidelines that ensure that all research is voluntary on the residents’ part, is beneficial, and treats the animals as the persons we all know they are.”
For anyone familiar with science involving animals, even seemingly innocuous studies are rarely conducted with the animals’ well-being at the forefront. So beyond being of immense scientific value, the research being done with the residents at Farm Sanctuary represents a radical departure from how animal subjects are normally treated, and sets a compelling precedent for the future.
“They have their own desires, and their own wants and preferences and needs, and their own inner lives — the same way that human people do,” said Lauri Torgerson-White, the sanctuary’s director of research.
“Our hope is that through utilizing really rigorous methodologies, we are able to uncover pieces of information about the inner lives of farmed animals that can be used to really change hearts and minds about how these animals are used by society.”
You can read the full NYT article at https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/22/health/farm-sanctuary-animal-welfare.html
To learn more about Farm Sanctuary’s research program and to view their ethics guidelines visit https://www.farmsanctuary.org/sanctuary-based-research/
Help Us Congratulate New Mexico Horse Rescue on 20 Years of Saving Horses!
This year is the 20th Anniversary of GFAS Accredited New Mexico Horse Rescue. During that time, the rescue has changed the lives of 500 equines!
As part of the celebration, a beautiful video was created in which the NMHR staff, board and volunteers talk about what the organization means to them, the awe-inspiring work they do, and their goals for the future. To view this video, go to: https://youtu.be/_NXotx347qU.
The organization also launched a 20th Anniversary Legacy Campaign to raise $20,000 to help fund future sustainability. So far this year, the New Mexico Horse Rescue has generated about $57k in individual donations surpassing their original goal.
Congratulations on such as achievement! What an AMAZING way to start 2023!
You can make a donation to the New Mexico Horse Rescue at: https://www.wncr.org/donate.
New Certifications and Renewals
Over the past month, GFAS has certified two new groups and renewed six GFAS organizations!
Congratulations to all these groups!
Horses & Heroes, Kansas
Magical Creatures Sanctuary, Hawaii
Big Cat Rescue, Florida
Blue Rose Ranch, Colorado
Center for Great Apes, Florida
Gaited Advocate Intervention Team, Maryland
Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, North Carolina
New Mexico Horse Rescue at Walkin N Circles Ranch, New Mexico