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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Born Free USA

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife — including highly endangered species — in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. .

Geographic areas served: National and International

Programs: Advocacy for animalscontributed to the protection of elephants, lions, dolphins, gorillas, and other imperiled species both in the wild and in rescue and rehabilitation centers in their countries of origin. Promoted the international protection of lions and the listing of the african lion under the us endangered species act, and similarly advocated for lion protection at meeting on the convention of migratory species. Continued campaign to protect furbearing animals from the cruelty of fur farms and wildlife trapping. Coordinated nationwide fur donation drive to promote awareness of anti-fur campaign; sent donated fur to wildlife rehabilitation centers for baby and orphaned animals. Worked with states to combat wolf trapping bills and used litigation to restore protection for wolves in the great lakes region under the endangered species act. Engaged fully in the meeting of the animals committee of the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (cites). Campaigned on conservation of threatened and endangered species and the protection of elephants from the ivory trade, bears from the gallbladder trade, and rhinos from the horn trade. Published two reports on the international trade in elephant ivory, one looking at poaching of elephants in africa and the other movement of ivory from africa to asia. Worked on legislation across the country to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn at the state level. Gave speeches at three march for elephants events across the country.

born free usa primate sanctuaryborn free usa continues to rescue, rehabilitate, and retire hundreds of primates at our accredited texas primate sanctuary. We continue to take in new animals in need, who otherwise would face a life of captive misery or premature death, and give them a home in as naturalistic conditions as we can provide.

public educationborn free usa continued efforts to educate the public on the dangers of keeping exotic animals as pets. Used social and popular media and educational outreach materials including an interactive database of deadly and dangerous captive wild animal incidents to help shed light on the magnitude of the issue. In addition, born free usa worked to educate the public about the need to protect live animals from commercialization in pet stores. Held public presentations on wildlife trade and animal rescues in numerous states. Held a press conference with members of congress and chimpanzee attack victim, charla nash, to promote the captive primate safety act. Held national event to call attention to the plight of wild birds and the needs of birds in captivity.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Steffanie G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I do not know to much about this organization. I did inquire about why they are supporting to ban hybrid cats on California, and working with Big Cat Rescue, which uses domestic bunnies and feeds the bobcats their rehabiliting. How ADLF and this sanctuary can turn it ignore this abuse, especially when wildlife release specialist do not support this method. How these can blantly ignore this abuse is beyond me, as they say they love animals.

This ban they are supporting is horrid for owners and breeders with young generation. If they are Generation 1-3 and this ban passes, our beloved pets, and members of family, would be legally stolen from us. These beautiful animals would live with in sanctuaries with lions and tigers or be murdered by animal control. If you rescued a hybrid cat, and cannot prove their generation, they will die.

Is mass killing of a breed a act of a animal organization that cares for welfare of these felines? Not from my point of view, then they lie and say that we will not loose our cats, and they will be grandfathered in. That is if you have a older generation!

Any organization that truly cares about animals does not support legislation that kills them or removes them from loving homes. I own two Bengals, so I oppose this ban. I have been called a animal abuser. But this organization is, as is all the sanctuaries, are.

Comments ( 1 )


bornfreeusa 11/05/2014

Our actions are guided by our belief that wildlife belongs in the wild – not interbred with domestic animals for the bemusement and profit for people. Hybrid cats create problems and potential threats to humans and to the environment. One of the main concerns is that, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are no known rabies vaccinations for these hybrids. This poses a risk since many hybrid cats are kept as pets in close proximity to humans and other companion animals. And, should these cats escape – and they do, as evidenced by the media and Born Free USA’s Exotics Incident Database - they can easily breed with feral cat colonies and wreak havoc to the eco system. By all accounts, they retain much of their wild instincts and are superior to the domesticated felines in catching their prey. The Audubon Society already has domestic cats on their radar for mass killings of native birds, we would hate to see the hybrid cats get added to that equation. Please read our CEO’s blog on this issue: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/bfusablog.php?p=4481&more=1


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization working to end captive animal suffering, and rescue those that they can.

1 MadisonBirdman

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I was the president of the Madison, WI bird club, Born Free helped me understand the issues facing pet birds sold in pet stores and the need for tougher legislation. With their help I was able to start a campaign to educate the community, pet stores and legislators. The people involved with Born Free are among the most dedicated and helpful where it concerns animal welfare. I would gladly work with them again.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I know some of the people working for this organization and they are the real deal - they have dedicated their lives to the improvement of animal welfare. People who spend their spare time trapping cats for spay/neuter, fostering animals, etc.

1 Trish S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

You don't have a category for Related Organization and you should have because that's my connection to Born Free USA. As Director of TrailSafe Nevada, a statewide grassroots group lobbying for better trap regulation, I called on Born Free USA, the national group devoted to the trapping and fur trade issue, for help. A Senior Program Associate traveled to Nevada and stayed two days. She helped me lobby, she gave me expert advice on lobbying and on writing my proposals, she testified for us at our Legislative hearing. Our bill was heavily amended, but did survive, so now we have a law requiring our Wildlife Commission to regulate trapping in our most congested areas. Born Free USA are high on the list of those who helped make it happen.
The Program Associate continues to help me with tactics and strategy, with model laws from other states, and prompt answers to questions that come up. She is more than generous with her assistance. She also circulates our notices to her mailing list, thereby reaching thousands with our news and messages.
I could not ask for a more responsive, informed, expert, caring organization than Born Free USA.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I've met some of the principal people, but always have to respect the CN rating. Two stars should be a huge red flag for anyone. What are they doing wrong financially? Until they get their rating up, I won't donate again. There are plenty of highly-rated charities that need every dollar.

Comments ( 1 )


bornfreeusa 08/18/2011

Born Free USA is annually audited by an independent audit firm. Not once in our history has there been a qualified audit of our financial statements nor any question of our fiscal responsibility. Our financial statements are posted on our website and are available on Guidestar, and we are happy to answer any questions about our revenue and expenditures. Charity Navigator has a complex system of rating non-profit organizations. One criteria is a balance of income over expenses. The past few years have been difficult for many charitable organizations, and we have not cut back on our program expenses despite diminishing contributions. We take on the problem of making ends meet and do not sacrifice our work to save the lives of animals just to show a surplus on a tax return. While Charity Navigator would view this as a sign of weakness, we view this as being supremely responsible to our mission, to the public who want us to do this work, and to the animals who need us to continue the fight to secure a safe world for them.

Review from CharityNavigator