The stated mission and goals of GFAS are laudable, and certainly needed within the US sanctuary community. Sadly, lofty ambitions to go “global” have doomed this organization from the start. Despite being founded and funded by HSUS and other wealthy animal welfare organizations, GFAS has neither the resources nor the staff to take on the world. At present (Feb. 2018), they are operating without an Executive Director, and the Director of North American Accreditation has just resigned as well. Adding to their woes, the lack of transparency with which GFAS operates, accredits, and investigates complaints against accredited sanctuaries has many opting out of pursuing accreditation. So sad to see an organization - which has been laser-focused on encouraging transparency and sustainability for its constituents - suffer the consequences of ignoring its own requirements. Only time will tell....
I am the director of a well organized humane organization that dates back to 1985. We spun off a horse rescue organization in 2002 and sought certification from GFAS. All was well until the issue of euthanasia came up. They would not approve an organization that EVER euthanizes for space. When asked about what they propose to do about an estimated 80,000 horse going to slaughter each year, it was as if I was speaking a foreign language. The woman I spoke with simply wouldn't answer the question. Need-less-to-say we won't be seeking accreditation. Our whole existence is based on the fact that no animal should ever suffer.....clearly not a mutual concern of the GFAS.
Review from Guidestar
GFAS is trying to either shut down or increase fees so good honest accredited caregivers cannot operate in my state of Ohio. They are a part of HSUS which gives less than 1% of its 9 figure yearly donations to actually help animals. STAY AWAY!!!!! GFAS' website lists under supporters HSUS, ASPCA, Born Free and WSPA to name a few.....all of which have some affiliation to HSUS. Thank you Patty for giving me the opportunity to prove how deceitful this organization is.
As this poster well knows, GFAS is not part of HSUS, or any other organization. We are an independent 501(c)3 which thus far has received almost all of its funding from foundations, which appreciate the importance of the accrediting work GFAS does. GFAS is already in the process of helping additional facilities attain accreditation/verification in Ohio. If an organization desires to become accredited, we will help them succeed. More than 50% of the US sanctuaries we verify or accredit have received grants from us to help improve their facilities or how they conduct business. We have helped place 92 animals in need in Ohio, often obtaining the funding needed for transport. GFAS is all about helping sanctuaries help animals.
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries is a valuable resource to wild animal rescue facilities that want to achieve superior care and husbandry for captive wildlife; for law enforcement officials that want to ensure rescued or confiscated animals are placed in proper sanctuaries; and for members of the public who want assurances that a sanctuary is legitimate and well-run when deciding whether to support it.
GFAS is a much needed organization in the sanctuary and animal welfare field as it provides a badly needed set of standards by which to judge sanctuaries and helps sanctuaries succeed. Sanctuaries in the US can be anything from a roadside zoo to a state of the art animal welfare facility and GFAS helps weed out the pseudo sanctuaries from the real deal. This is a huge service for funders and the public. In addition, the ED Patty Finch is an excellent fundraiser and administrator who has poured her heart and soul, and many hours, into growing the organization to where it is. As a volunteer, it has been a privilege to work with her and learn from her. Her caliber of leadership has been a huge asset to GFAS.
I recently had the privilege to work with GFAS during what is believed to be the largest rescue of a sanctuary in history. The rescue of the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary, where over one thousand animals were being starved to death . The Executive Director of GFAS, Patty Finch, is one of the most incredible people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. GFAS/Patty took on this Herculean task and spearheaded the entire rescue when others would not. Her knowledge and guidance were the foundation for all operations. If all operating sanctuaries in this country were required to be accredited by an organization like GFAS the animals would be in much better hands than they are now. Too many people that are at the helms of animal welfare organizations have the desire but not the where with all to be responsible for the lives they are entrusted with. Too many sanctuaries have no operating plan (they shoot from the hip) and no exit plan. Under the GFAS regulations/requirements, I believe, failure of sanctuaries would be minimal.
GFAS plays a key role in the accreditation of animal sanctuaries - globally. The world of animal rescue and sanctuary can be a very difficult one to navigate, especially for donors and animal placements. Knowing that an organization is accredited is peace of mind to those looking to place and animal or fund a valuable project or organization.
The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries not only assists sanctuaries with improving their professionalism and sustainabilty but also assists donors and sanctuaries to address the root causes of captive animal suffering and exploitation. GFAS has broadened the role of sanctuary to include a place of healing so that animals' emotional welfare is addressed with the same attention as their physical health and needs. Through their talented and dedicated staff and board, GFAS works to ensure that every animal who finds themselves in sanctuary will live a life fulfilled, safe, and enriched.
GFAS serves a multi-faceted and critical role in the sanctuary world. Donors who love animals are inundated with requests from many facilities that call themselves sanctuaries but are in reality “pseudo-sanctuaries” who are engaging in animal abuse, not working to solve it. Many breed, buy, sell, put animals through the stress of taking them offsite to exhibit, and have substandard animal care. It is very difficult for donors to research each of these themselves, and almost impossible to do so without visiting the facility, which frequently not practical. GFAS has set high standards that assure a donor that they are assisting a true sanctuary that provides excellent animal care and does not add to the problem by breeding or engaging in other behavior that sends the wrong message the general public. For sanctuaries, GFAS standards in effect provide a set of goals that help them improve their operations and, once achieved, a way to more efficiently and effective engage donors. In addition, GFAS holds extremely well planned and orchestrated seminars on best practices where sanctuaries learn from experts and from each other. These meetings also foster relationships among top sanctuaries that result in their calling upon each other for advice and coordination of rescue and other efforts on an ongoing basis. Last, GFAS has played a critical role in coordinating and facilitating the placing of animals in need of rescue, particularly the very difficult situations where there are a large number of animals involved. It is amazing what this young organization has been able to accomplish in the few years of its existence with a small staff that have shown incredible dedication both in terms of the long hours they have worked and in the quality of what they deliver.
Through a vigorous accreditation process, The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries(GFAS) provides sanctuaries with the critical oversight that raises the bar for animal welfare and protection. Through training and technical assistance, the highly skilled and experienced GFAS staff works to assist animal sanctuaries in their efforts for high impact organizational performance and effectiveness.
By becoming either verified or accredited b y GFAS, animal sanctuary/rescue organizations show that they place the safety and welfare of the animals first. By setting the standard, GFAS has inspired many organizations to change for the better - be it in physical operations or in management. Rather than judge, GFAS actually assist the organizations to raise their standard and to set the goals higher than ever before.
Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue was accredited by GFAS in January of 2010. GFAS is a MUCH needed organization in the horse rescue and sanctuary world. The process for becoming accredited is rigorous and
encourages rescues to be the best they can be. The process is designed to help horse rescues and sanctuaries improve their organizations while at the same time providing a measure of confidence for the public at large and prospective donors and funders in particular. We refer to it as the Goodhouse Keeping Seal of Approval for rescues! They are providing a great service to the public and rescues!
Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary was accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) in 2010. We decided to put the time into this intense but very important accredidation for several reasons, and realized early on the importance of receiving such a high accolade. I believe GFAS is a necessary organization to help sanctuaries of all kinds "be the best they can be". By working with GFAS, we realized we could "raise the bar" for Equine Voices in order to further our mission on a national and international scope. GFAS has helped many sanctuaries across the globe by providing assistance in all areas of running a sanctuary. We are thrilled to be part of this process and know that by having GFAS as a mentor and guide, Equine Voices will continue to succeed and continue to be a leader in equine rescue.