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About The Open Sanctuary Project

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 farmed animals in order to help them live long, healthy, happy lives free of exploitation.

All of our resources are researched and responsibly crafted with the intention of maximizing compassionate ongoing care for animals in need of help and sanctuary, without any promotion or advocacy for their use.

A Resource For Farmed Animal Sanctuaries

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 farmed animal sanctuaries. As the farmed animal sanctuary 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 mission in a sustainable manner.

Our Philosophy

We believe that there is no “one size fits all” model for farmed animal sanctuaries; species mix, population size, climate, organizational structure, Philosophy of Care, and public outreach 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 farmed 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.

Non-Compassionate Sources?

Due to the prevalence of commercial animal agriculture 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 Zee Griffler, Executive Editor.

Since 2018, The Open Sanctuary Project has been researching sanctuary models and needs, conferring with sanctuary, animal advocacy, and nonprofit experts across the world, and developing resources to help farmed animal sanctuaries have all the tools and information required to help their organizations thrive.

Our resources have been put into use and endorsed by sanctuaries, animal rescue organizations, and other nonprofits worldwide.

Meet Our Team

Zee Griffler – Executive Editor

With a background as a journalist and as an award-winning documentary filmmaker, Zee joined The Open Sanctuary Project as the founding editor in 2017. Since then, Zee 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. Zee lives with two very large cats.

Amber Barnes, MSc – Editor

With a background as an Anti-Exploitation Animal Welfare Scientist, assessing welfare in a variety of species, Amber Barnes joined the Open Sanctuary Project as Editor 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. See images of Bammers here!

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 Farm Animal Care Conference to help create resources that are accessible and reflect the many nuances of sanctuary work. She lives with her part human part feline family- Luke, Annabelle, Edward, and Juju.


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 farmed 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.

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 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.

Support The Open Sanctuary Project

There are many ways that you can help 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.

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Updated on August 12, 2019

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