You know that feeling when you get to chat with a celebrity, a professional sports player, or perhaps just someone you greatly admire? Well, that is exactly how I felt today while getting to chat with Valerie Taylor, the Executive Director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Valerie has an extensive resume working in the non-profit and animal welfare field; including managing the equine and farm animal program within GFAS, educating 20,000 people annually at various humane education events, and grant writing for various animal rights initiatives. So, as you can imagine – speaking with and learning from Valerie was a huge opportunity for me.
Briefly, a GFAS accredited sanctuary as Valerie describes is a “true sanctuary”; one whose animal care, management, and educational programs meet various Standards of Excellence. GFAS sanctuaries encourage a new level of animal care both nationally and internationally. Through the accreditation process, sanctuaries are able to holistically create safe, responsible, and humane environments for a diverse variety of animals to be rehabilitated and/or to simply live enriched lives. Furthermore, as their website states, “GFAS works with facilities to improve and reach a high standard of animal care, management, and governance”.
Why does this matter? Well, in my humble opinion, because animals inherently deserve the proper care and dedication required to ensure their own mental and physical well-being is the first and foremost focus of any sanctuary. From a more political perspective, it is important that responsible animal care non-profits receive the financial and public support necessary to continue growing in their work. Becoming a GFAS accredited sanctuary allows stakeholders, investors, donors, and the public to direct their purchasing power and influence towards organizations ensuring true educational value and animal wellness.
What can you do? Most immediately, listen to the above podcast to learn more. Afterwards, act on what you have learned by supporting GFAS sanctuaries, organizations, and individuals whose greatest focus is on the well-being of the animals. You can look for the GFAS logo (shown below) on sanctuary websites to most immediately identify their accreditation status. Lastly, trust your own instincts. If something doesn’t feel right or fair when visiting a zoo/sanctuary – it probably isn’t. Consider getting in touch with such facilities to gently inquire if they have any interest in meeting new standards of animal care – such as those outlined by GFAS.
Thank you to Valerie Taylor for sharing with us just why we should care! Make sure to subscribe and listen to the Why Should You Care podcast above/on Spotify and follow @brittneirae on Instagram for more.