Animal associations and sanctuaries are spread all over the world, but some unscrupulous individuals sometimes try to take advantage of the generosity of many people by pretending to be one of these honorable organisations.PETA has published a list of ways for people to identify a legitimate sanctuary.
1. The behaviour of other visitors
A sanctuary worthy of their name will not allow visitors to touch and play with the animals. They will also not be allowed to pose for photos with the animals and will only be able to approach them under very specific and supervised conditions.
2. The size of the place
Depending on the specific needs of their species, animals should be given ample horizontal and vertical space to explore, roam, climb, and forage etc. And sanctuaries never take their inhabitants out on the road for public display—instead, animals spend their days in a comfortable and stimulating environment with minimal human interference.
Source: Four Paws
3. The background of the animals
Countless animals are discarded by private owners who can’t provide adequate care as well as circuses, roadside zoos, laboratories, and other exploitive industries.Because sanctuaries have limited funds, most try never to reward an abuser by buying an animal and will do so only in the most desperate of circumstances, under the condition that the abuser guarantees never to acquire another animal of that species again. Staff at a real sanctuary will be eager to tell you each animal's individual stories about how they arrived there.
4. Their housing
Reputable sanctuaries make every effort to replicate an animal’s natural habitat. Animals should share their space with suitable partners who can provide companionship and emotional stimulation. Cramped pens with concrete floors and chain-link fences are red flags.
Do animals have equipment to physically stimulate themselves? Monkeys must have trees or structures to climb, bears swimming pools, etc.
Source: Phuket Elephant Sanctuary
6. Visiting hours
Generally speaking, sanctuaries will have limited visiting hours, so not to disturb the animals too much.You may need tobook a visitin advance.
A real sanctuary will have to be accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). For this to happen they will need to abide by a strict code of ethics and meet animal welfare standards. It is also worth noting that accredited sanctuaries will never breed or sell animals.
8. The behaviour of the animals
Look at the animals. Keep an eye out for signs of "zoochosis" - are they swaying their heads, pacing or pulling out their own fur?Do they appear lethargic or intimidated by staff or other animals? Are they isolated?
Source: Animals Lebanon
9. Animal breeding
Due to the already limited resources at the sanctuary, they do not breed animals, reserving what they have to rescue others in need.