Primate Sanctuaries

Our proposal calls for abolishing primate experimentation. So where will the primates go when the experiments end?

Animal sanctuaries, though imperfect subsitutes for the wild, are considered the next best places for the animals to live out their lives in peace.

There are many animal sanctuaries in the US which will accept primates from research institutions for retirement. However, the quality of care provided by these facilities varies significantly.

Sanctuaries accredited by The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS) are regarded as the finest in the country.

There may be other sanctuaries capable of providing acceptable care, but the Primate Freedom Project believes that because of its rigid standards, TAOS is an exceptional place to begin if the University decides to retire the primates it uses in experiments.

Note that TAOS as an organization is not part of the PFP campaign and does not take a position on whether primate experiments should be ended at UCLA.

What is TAOS?

TAOS was founded in 1992 as a not-for-profit organization to support the work of animal sanctuaries. It works to improve the quality of life of sanctuary animals and to be a voice for change in the attitudes that lead to the need for sanctuaries. Its primary activities are:

  • To conduct site inspections of applicant sanctuaries to determine whether they meet standards of care and operation necessary to be accredited. Accreditation tells the public and funders that the sanctuary has achieved excellence in animal rescue and care and in organizational operations.
  • To support member sanctuaries through development of comprehensive animal care plans, financial assistance for emergency rescue and placement of animals, and consultation and training on such issues as fund raising, grant writing and facility administration.
  • To be a voice, along with members and like-minded others, for change in the cultural values and practices that lead to the need for animal sanctuaries.
  • To collaborate on behalf of legal, social and regulatory changes that will benefit animals.

What is a sanctuary?

An animal sanctuary is a place of refuge where injured, abused, or displaced animals are provided with appropriate lifetime care or, when possible, rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

Sanctuaries exist in recognition that all lives have value and that we have an obligation to attempt to right the wrongs that some humans have done to animals.

Where do animals needing sanctuary come from?

Many are bred and kept by dealers in the wild and exotic animal trade. Others are considered surplus by zoos and research institutions. Domestic animals in sanctuaries had been intended for slaughter.

The attempt to make “pets” of wild animals who cannot adapt adequately to such conditions leaves many needing sanctuary. The common denominator is that animals have been displaced from natural conditions and cannot return.

Sanctuaries provide a substitute for the niche they would have occupied in nature. The alternative for most would be the misery of inadequate or abusive conditions and the inability to lead anything like a satisfactory life for creatures of their kind.

How does TAOS operate?

TAOS has a very small staff and large number of volunteers. Its governing Board of Directors and Advisory Board are composed of leaders in animal protection from around the country as well as others with strong interest in our work.

In addition to board service, volunteers assist with site visits to sanctuaries seeking accredited membership and in finding placements for displaced animals, preparation of animal care protocols, and education and advocacy activities.

TAOS is funded by donations, grants, and member support.

What are some of the expectations and practices of accredited sanctuaries?

In addition to rigorous standards of sanctuary management and animal care, the following are considered essential to excellence:

1. The animals are not allowed to breed. Life in a sanctuary is far better than what the animals had before they arrived there, but no animal should be deliberately brought into the world to live in other than natural conditions for creatures of their kind. That would be disservice to them and would undercut the message of respect for the value of all life that we wish to promote. (Exceptions may be made when an animalšs species is on the verge of extinction and a scientifically-based breeding plan is in place.)

2. Use of the animals in commercial activities is prohibited. Animals will not be bought (except in extraordinary circumstances), sold, traded, or hired out for entertainment or other such purposes not consistent with their natural ways. Body parts are not sold. Public access to the animals is restricted and only occurs under conditions of nonintrusiveness and respect for their privacy.

3. Sanctuaries accept lifetime responsibility for their resident animals. This may include rehabilitation and release in an appropriate habitat or transfer to another sanctuary that is better suited to their needs. Wild animals may not be adopted, but animals who are typically farmed may be if standards of care are high and prohibitions on breeding and commercial activity are complied with.

4. Responsible sanctuaries recognize that the welfare of animals is always primary and that respectful collaboration with others on behalf of that welfare is obligatory. This not only best serves the animals but is further demonstration of the fundamental value of respect for all life that is at the foundation of sanctuary existence.

5. Member sanctuaries maintain all required licenses and permits in good standing as well as their federal 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status.

TAOS Code of Ethics

1. Members recognize that the guiding principle in all that they and The Association of Sanctuaries do is the welfare of the animals.

2. Members will collaborate and support one another to rescue and place animals into a setting that best meets the animal’s needs regardless of other considerations.

3. Courtesy and respect are always exercised in relations among members and between members and other animal advocates. Members will work cooperatively to promote the interests of animals and freely exchange information, advice and assistance to ensure high standards of care.

4. Public statements by members always honor the contributions of other organizations to joint efforts.

5. Stringent adherence to truthfulness guides members in discussions about other organizations. Members will disagree at times about various issues but maintain civility and an issue-oriented focus in working responsibly to resolve such disagreements. When they are unable to do so they will accept mediation by individuals chosen by TAOS.

6. Members will never violate this Code nor TAOS accreditation standards.

Which primate sanctuaries are accredited by TAOS?

The following is a list of the sanctuaries which house primates and which are TAOS-accredited. Most of these have web sites with more information about themselves.

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