The Open Sanctuary Project is a freely accessible, always growing digital guide for any resources or information you need in order to responsibly create and successfully manage an animal sanctuary or to provide the best possible care to animals in order to help them live long, healthy, happy lives free of Exploitation is characterized by the abuse of a position of physical, psychological, emotional, social, or economic vulnerability to obtain agreement from someone (e.g., humans and nonhuman animals) or something (e.g, land and water) that is unable to reasonably refuse an offer or demand. It is also characterized by excessive self gain at the expense of something or someone else’s labor, well-being, and/or existence..
All of our resources are researched and responsibly crafted with the intention of promoting compassionate care standards and practices for animals in need of help and sanctuary, while identifying and discouraging practices that are exploitative or harmful to the individual.
A Resource For Animal sanctuaries that primarily care for rescued animals that were farmed by humans.
Although many of our resources have applicability to many different types of animal sanctuaries and rescues (and we encourage sanctuaries of all species mixes to make use of them!), our current primary focus is addressing the needs and unique challenges of A domesticated animal that is used by humans either for their body or what comes from their body. Farmed animals have fewer regulations governing their welfare than other species in many countries. sanctuaries. As the An animal sanctuary that primarily cares for rescued animals that were farmed by humans. community continues to spread across the world, with new sanctuaries opening each year, we believe there is a significant need for resources specifically developed to help farmed animal sanctuaries provide the best care possible for their residents and develop best practices in order to effectively carry out their The stated goals and activities of an organization. An animal sanctuary’s mission is commonly focused on objectives such as animal rescue and public advocacy. in a sustainable manner.
We believe that there is no “one size fits all” model for animal sanctuaries; species mix, population size, climate, organizational structure, Philosophy of Care, and public An activity or campaign to share information with the public or a specific group. Typically used in reference to an organization’s efforts to share their mission. strategies are a small sample of the many variables that each animal sanctuary needs to consider as they grow and conduct their mission. As a result, what works well for one sanctuary may not be appropriate for another. We wish to honor the diversity of the animal sanctuary movement while providing the contextual tools and information necessary for every organization and their residents to thrive. Our resources often include perspectives from different organizations, which may highlight the practical, the ethical, and the philosophical considerations that go into any one particular course of action.
You can find our sourcing for various resources at the base of each resource. If it appears like a portion of information did not come from any of the sources listed below, this means that the credited author is drawing upon direct experience with the topic at hand as a sanctuary Someone who provides daily care, specifically for animal residents at an animal sanctuary, shelter, or rescue. or with other background experience. If you have further questions about any particular part of a resource, you can always get in touch with us!
Due to the prevalence of commercial The human production and use of animals in order to produce animal products, typically for profit. and its impact on research, many of the sources we cite in our research do not share our views on compassionate care and treatment of animals. We try our best to source information on longterm care and treatment from organizations that align with our values, but this is not always possible. Read more about our sourcing here.
A Brief History Of The Open Sanctuary Project
The Open Sanctuary Project was originally envisioned by Shaleen and Shilpi Shah in 2015. Shaleen and Shilpi were seeking online information covering farmed animal sanctuary operation and resident care standards prior to founding Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary, and were surprised to find reliable, compassionate information quite difficult to come across.
Three years later, The Open Sanctuary Project, Inc. was formally launched as a fully independent organization under the direction of Mckenzee Griffler, Executive Editor.
Since 2018, The Open Sanctuary Project has been researching sanctuary models and needs, conferring with sanctuary, animal advocacy, and A non-governmental organization whose primary purpose is something other than selling goods or services. experts across the world, and developing resources to help animal sanctuaries have all the tools and information required to help their organizations thrive.
Our resources have been put into use and endorsed by animal sanctuaries, An organization that helps secure animals from dangerous or unacceptable situations. As organizations, rescues may or may not have dedicated permanent infrastructure for housing animals. organizations, Microsanctuaries are small scale communities of human and nonhuman (generally “unconventional or farmed”) animal companions, who live together in a chosen shared lifestyle and in commitment to ending the oppression of all beings. Microsanctuaries adhere to the notion that no nonhuman member of the community should “serve a purpose.” Microsanctuaries can exist in any context: rural, suburban, or urban. A microsanctuary can consist of as small a community as one animal and one human caregiver. For more information on microsanctuary please refer to the Microsanctuary Resource Center., wildlife rehabilitation organizations, and other Non-governmental organizations whose primary purpose is something other than selling goods or services. worldwide.
Meet Our Team
Amber Barnes, MSc – Research Specialist
With a background as an Anti-Exploitation Practices and policies that promote the well-being of nonhuman animals, specifically their health and comfort. Scientist, assessing welfare in a variety of species, Amber Barnes joined the Open Sanctuary Project in 2019. Since then, Amber has been using her previous experiences as care staff at animal sanctuaries and accreditation support for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, along with her academic research skills to develop resources aimed at providing sanctuaries with well-researched information on best care practices and sustainable operational practices. She lives with Bammers, arguably the cutest dog in all the land. !
Tara Hess – Senior Advisor
With a background in farmed animal care, rescue, and shelter management, Tara joined the Open Sanctuary Project as Senior Advisor in 2019. She hopes to use her hands-on experience as a caregiver and her experience as a frequent presenter at Farm Sanctuary’s A domesticated animal that is used by humans either for their body or what comes from their body. Farmed animals have fewer regulations governing their welfare than other species in many countries. Care Conference to help create resources that are accessible and reflect the many nuances of sanctuary work. She shares her home with cat Juju, house rooster Cantaloupe, and two humans.
Andie Springirth – Community Education Specialist
With a background in Humane Education, farmed animal care, and wildlife rehabilitation, Andie joined the Open Sanctuary Project as Community Education Specialist in 2021. She hopes to use her experience as an educator, caregiver, scholar, and activist to research and provide practical, actionable resources to help sanctuaries develop and improve their education and outreach strategies. She shares her home with cats Harry, Lloyd, Miss Tilli, Herman and Nell, alpacas Moose, Ceja, and Goldie, and four humans.
Julia Magnus – Nonprofit Specialist
With a background in environmental, animal and nonprofit governance law, Julia joined the Open Sanctuary Project as Nonprofit Specialist in 2021. She hopes to use her professional, rescue and A microsanctuary is a small scale community of human and nonhuman (generally “unconventional or farmed”) animal companions, who live together in a chosen shared lifestyle and in commitment to ending the oppression of all beings. Microsanctuaries adhere to the notion that no nonhuman member of the community should “serve a purpose.” Microsanctuaries can exist in any context: rural, suburban, or urban. A microsanctuary can consist of as small a community as one animal and one human caregiver. For more information on microsanctuary please refer to the Microsanctuary Resource Center. operator experience to create resources that facilitate sanctuaries’ and rescuers’ navigation of governance and organizational issues. She shares her home with four parrots, a dog, two cats, a turtle, a human, and rescued and foster chickens, including roosters Galileo and Fuego.
Mckenzee Griffler – The individual formally in charge of final decision making at an organization, who sometimes works closely with the organization’s Board of Directors. Sometimes a Founder is an Executive Director, especially early in a nonprofit’s growth stages.
With a background as a journalist and as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Mckenzee joined The Open Sanctuary Project as the founding Editor in 2018. Since then, she has been visiting and working with members of the worldwide sanctuary community to research and publish resources that best represent the unique challenges of sustainable sanctuary operation and the diverse solutions to the issues sanctuary operators face each day. Mckenzee holds a certification in Animal Sanctuary Management from the University of Utah’s School of Professional Education.
Many of our resources could not have been made without the passion and dedicated work of folks in the sanctuary movement and those working to make the world a kinder place for animals. We also would like to thank our many volunteers and subject matter experts who have lent their time and perspectives. Specific acknowledgements for individual topics can be found at the end of each resource.
If you have a question or suggestion for additional content for The Open Sanctuary Project, please contact us.
Ambassador Resident Designs
We are so grateful for the incredible work that compassionate artist Yoshimi House did in bringing the many ambassador residents that you can see throughout our resources into living color!
Yoshimi House – Ambassador Resident Artist
“In the beginning, there was one little mom goat. She inspired me and I started drawing her and here I am. I will keep drawing Domesticated animals that are used by humans either for their body or what comes from their body. Farmed animals have fewer regulations governing their welfare than other species in many countries. until all farm animals will run freely on the green grass with their friends and families happily ever after.” – Yoshimi
A Note On Sanctuary Endorsements
While The Open Sanctuary Project appreciates the countless individual sanctuaries and rescues around the world, as well as the unique and effective strategies they have developed and put into practice for management and compassionate animal care, please note that we do not endorse or provide accreditation to any organizations. We may link to a sanctuary’s website, share illustrative photos from a sanctuary with their permission, or reference sanctuaries’ practices and policies as examples of certain effective methods or as additional resources, but this should not be construed as an endorsement of every policy and practice of any one particular sanctuary.
Products And Brands Referenced At The Open Sanctuary Project
There may be occasions where The Open Sanctuary Project references commercial products or brands within our resources, such as types of commercial food for animals, medications, tools, and other supplies. These references are solely for the convenience of our readership, and the products and brands can typically be further researched to find an equivalency that suits each sanctuary’s or caregiver’s individual needs. The Open Sanctuary Project does not endorse any product or brand, nor do we receive sponsorship from any product or brand. We work to ensure that all products listed are suitable for the situations listed, but please know that products often change their ingredient mix or construction, which may make them less effective or less suitable than when originally referenced in our resources. Finally, please know that it is not uncommon for a brand to carry products that may be suitable in a sanctuary environment in addition to products that are not suitable.
Support The Open Sanctuary Project
The Open Sanctuary Project, Inc is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowable by law.
The Open Sanctuary Project’s Form 990
In the spirit of transparency to our audience, you can access our most recent Form 990 here, for the 2019 year. Previously to this, we only filed Form 990-EZ. Future 990s will be listed here as they become available.