May 2024

Save the Date: Giving Day for Apes

It’s that time again
…we’re getting excited to host the 11th annual Giving Day for Apes, a 24-hour fundraising event to benefit ape sanctuaries and rescue centers in Africa, Asia, and North America.

You’re invited! Please join us in support of sanctuaries and rescue centers doing amazing work for Apes around the world. Donations large and small will help fund veterinary care, healthy food, safe facilities, enrichment, and rehabilitation services.

To learn more, visit  More information, including the list of participants and prizes will be added, so be sure to check back often.

For the chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons…see you on October 8th!


Thank you to our friends at the Arcus Foundation for making this vital event possible.

Stand up for the SWIMS Act and Save the Whales

The Strengthening Welfare in Marine Settings (SWIMS) Act (H.R.7145/S.3694) has been reintroduced to end the capture and breeding of whales for public display. The SWIMS Act would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to prohibit the taking, import, or export of orcas, beluga whales, pilot whales, and false killer whales for the purpose of public display. The bill also prohibits breeding these whales for exhibition. Whales would be allowed to be imported or exported to a sanctuary and for release to the wild.

Now is the time to speak up for these highly intelligent and social beings that have suffered greatly in the hands of the captive entertainment industry!

Contact information is found for your representatives here and your senators here. Please reach out to them with a polite message in support of the bill. Thank you for taking action!

Enrichment Pro-Tip: Building Plans for Graze Boxes

Providing physical enrichment and foraging opportunities for birds and other species can be a big challenge, particularly when Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has made it harder and harder to allow residents free reign in enclosures without biosecurity risk. The latest news indicates the presence of HPAI not only in birds, but also in ruminants, cats and others, making sanctuary biosecurity even more challenging. That’s why we were so excited to see this innovative idea from Accredited Animal Place!

They’ve generously shared the building plans for mobile Graze boxes! They’re basing them off this model, with some modifications: “We are also adding a “floor” to prevent the squirrels from digging in, and we want to add hinges so that the wire mesh top can open/close. We’re also exploring adding wheels so we can easily move them.”

We can see this used and modified for many different species who enjoy foraging and grazing, indoors or outdoors. Happy building!

Pro-tip: Leverage your GFAS Certification

For animal sanctuaries, rescues, rehabilitation, and transition centers, achieving GFAS Accreditation or Verification is a significant milestone. Leveraging your status effectively can enhance your organization’s reputation, attract support, and make a meaningful impact on the lives of the animals in your care.

Earlier this year, we hosted a virtual roundtable for GFAS certified organizations where a fantastic group of sanctuary personnel brainstormed and GFAS staff discussed how we can help you leverage your GFAS status. If you missed that event, here are some pro-tips we all shared.

Promote Certification: You have exclusive use of the GFAS Accredited/Verified logos; this instantly adds credibility and trustworthiness to your sanctuary. Make sure to prominently display the logo:

  • Along with your organization’s logo on your website and in online social media profiles.
  • On online ads, emails, and marketing materials. Consider adding the logo to your email signatures.
  • On signage to display at your next open house, educational tour, or fundraising event.

Media Outreach: Reach out to local media outlets and pitch stories about your sanctuary’s status. Highlight the rigorous Standards you adhere to and how certification ensures the highest level of care for the animals under your protection.

  • GFAS provides a press release for all newly Accredited and Verified organizations, but don’t forget about other opportunities to promote your status, such as at the time of certification renewal. Just as you might periodically promote your organization’s Guidestar or Charity Navigator rating, you can also promote your on-going commitment to best practices.
  • GFAS Program Directors are delighted to help craft press releases, at any time, for certified organizations. And, if you have a piece that’s gained media interest, make sure to keep us posted, so we can help you spread the great news through GFAS channels.

Donor Relations: Use your certification to attract and retain donors. Highlighting your commitment to excellence in animal care and management can inspire trust and confidence in potential donors, leading to increased financial support.

  • When communicating with board members and donors, make sure to tell them all about your certification and how it distinguishes your organization. Engage GFAS to help – we’re always happy to join meetings or events virtually, and in-person when possible, and discuss how much certification sets you apart.
  • GFAS is also glad to provide letters of recommendation which you may be able to submit as a part of a grant application or include in donor packets.

GFAS staff has compiled examples and information on different ways to leverage your certification, in the Sanctuary Resources Portal on the GFAS website. Click here to access the portal to either sign in or request access and navigate to the section titled ‘Additional Benefits’ (this portal is only available to groups that are GFAS Certified).

Do You Want to Build an Education Program for Young Sanctuary Visitors?  HEART Can Help!

Every day, sanctuaries are faced with the overwhelming task of caring for sick, injured, and/or displaced animals, while at the same time working to mitigate the root causes that resulted in those animals’ need for rescue – all with very limited resources.  Juggling the urgency of daily tasks in the short term with efforts to reduce the inflow of animals over the long term is a tough balancing act, but HEART’s wide array of free offerings can make it easier for sanctuaries to provide educational programs for young people in grades K-12.

The mission of HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers, is to develop a generation of compassionate youth who create positive change for animals, people, and the natural world. Established in New York in 2001, HEART provides award-winning K–12 humane education programs, teacher training, and teaching resources for educators in schools, community-based organizations, and summer camps to cultivate empathy and engagement in animal protection, social justice, and environmental preservation, and to build understanding around how these issues intersect. Our lesson content is aligned with several sets of national education standards, allowing teachers to incorporate it easily and seamlessly into their existing curricula.

HEART’s online library ( offers a variety of freely downloadable teaching tools for various grade levels, including comprehensive collections of lessons and activities centered around a wide range of animal types in our Humane Education Guide for grades K-12, Exploring the Lives of Farm Animals for grades K-3, and Justice for All geared toward elementary and secondary school students.  Registering for our online library is free, providing access to all of these guides and much more, including a robust selection of interactive digital lessons.

HEART is delighted to be partnering with GFAS in a bigger way, coming soon! We look forward to welcoming you to a free virtual training starting this fall, where we’ll showcase our animal-focused lesson content to help sanctuaries with budgets and staffs of any size to create or expand educational programs for young visitors.

In the meantime, we’re pleased to share one of our lessons for grades 4 and up, Telling Their Stories, through which students examine some of the many ways that animals come to sanctuaries, rescues, or shelters.  Students translate this new knowledge into creating a first-person narrative, building their capacity for empathy toward wild animals, farm animals, and companion animals.  We encourage you to adapt it as you see fit for your specific audience, facility, and needs, and we hope it’s helpful!

It’s Adopt a Horse Month

It’s #AdoptAHorse Month and as an Industry Partner of the ASPCA Right Horse program, we’ll be celebrating equine adoption all month long! Help us to bring awareness and visibility to adoptable horses. Join in supporting the work of our GFAS certified equine rescues and sanctuaries worldwide.

During the month of May, stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram pages as we share what GFAS certified groups are doing for #AdoptAHorse Month. Be sure to share these posts on your social media pages.



GFAS x One To Save Many Collaboration

GFAS has partnered with One To Save Many, a charitable organization benefitting farmed animal sanctuaries, which now offers preferential consideration for funding and in-kind support to GFAS-Certified organizations. Benefits offered include:

    • Financial support on a rotating basis
    • Social Media Exposure
    • Donation of items for fundraisers: Water Bottles, T-Shirts, etc.
    • Pro-Bono Laser Engraving Services (Auction items for big events such as cutting boards, wine glasses, yeti mugs, etc).

Visit our sanctuary portal for contact information.

Don’t Forget: Come see us at AVA Summit this week!

We’ll be the ones shouting sanctuary praises from our table in the exhibitor’s room. We’re happy to know a number of sanctuaries are attending this year, and that Accredited Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge is presenting! Come say hello, grab a sticker, and enter our raffle!

GFAS Certified Draft Gratitude Is Now Accredited

For the past year Draft Gratitude, GFAS Verified since 2020, has been working relentlessly to meet the GFAS Standards for Accreditation. Accreditation is a higher level of certification that includes meeting in-depth Operations requirements such as a board approved Strategic Plan, a written Succession Plan, a variety of governance policies and more, as well as maintaining a larger Emergency Reserve.

“Accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries shows our commitment to meeting the highest standards of care, ethics, and transparency in equine rescue and retirement. Over the last year, our focus shifted to growing better instead of bigger.,’ stated Draft Gratitude Founder & Executive Director, Rebecca Roy. “The accreditation process guided us through strategic planning, documenting processes, and shaping the future of Draft Gratitude. We can’t do this work without our supporters and partners. It is important that they have confidence in the way we care for the horses and trust the way we run the organization.”

Located in New Hampshire, Draft Gratitude gives a second chance to senior draft horses. Many arrive emaciated and broken, but with much love and TLC, these draft horses are brought back to life. Once rehabbed, those that can are adopted and those that aren’t enjoy a life of retirement at Draft Gratitude.

Help congratulate the team at Draft Gratitude for their accomplishment of transitioning to GFAS Accreditation.

New Certification and Renewals

Over the past month, GFAS has transitioned one organization to Accredited status and renewed one organization!

Congratulations to both of these groups!

Transitioned from Verified to Accredited

Draft Gratitude, New Hampshire


Mitchell Farm Equine Retirement, Connecticut

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