Animals don’t have a voice of their own, and they rely on us to advocate for them. Unfortunately, many animals are mistreated, abused, and exploited as part of animal agriculture, animal tourism, and the pet trade.
Animal sanctuaries serve as a place of refuge where injured, sick, abandoned, abused, or mistreated animals can receive the care they need and the compassion they deserve. This includes animals that have been rescued from slaughterhouses, zoos, or abusive owners. All animals deserve to feel safe and protected, and animal sanctuaries provide that safe haven for them.
Some sanctuaries function to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals back into the wild. Others provide care to animals until they can be adopted into loving homes. But a good many will serve as lifetime homes for animals that need a place to call their own while they live out their days in peace.
There are some fantastic animal sanctuaries in the US doing life-changing work to help our furry, feathery and scaly friends. Here are some of our favorites:
Rowdy Girl Sanctuary has a unique and awe-inspiring story. They used to be a beef cattle ranch and now operate as a vegan farm animal sanctuary. They are the first of their kind in the state of Texas and also have the largest herd of rescued cows in the state! They care for over a hundred farm animals, including cows, pigs, and chickens that have all been given a second chance at life!
Something that is really unique about Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is their Ranchers Advocacy Program. Since the founders, Renee and Tom, used to be cattle ranchers themselves, they have a particular interest in helping other ranchers transition out of animal agriculture into plant-based crops.
They also promote an initiative called “Meatless Every Day,” their spin on the popular “Meatless Mondays” where they highlight awesome meatless food alternatives like vegan jerky and vegan bacony bits.
Find out about how we give back to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary with purchases of our plant-based products.
How you can support Rowdy Girl Sanctuary:
- Become a member, which helps cover feeding costs, vet expenses, and tractor fuel
- Volunteer your time to help with feeding, watering, cleaning, bailing hay, repairing fencing, updating animal enclosures, gardening, and general maintenance
- Visit the sanctuary on public or private tours
- Purchase items from their online store
- Purchase from their retail partners like All Y’alls Foods
Best Friends Animal Society is the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US and has been operating for over 30 years. The sanctuary is located in Kanah, Utah, and is home to around 1,600 rescued animals. They primarily focus on dogs and cats, although they also provide refuge for horses, birds, rodents, pigs, and farm animals! Animals come here to receive life-saving medical care, behavioral training, and compassion until they are ready for adoption.
The Best Friends Animal Society has 3000 partner shelters and rescues across the US. The sanctuary is leading the national no-kill movement with various community programs that offer training and support to rescue groups and animal shelters. They also have Wild Friends, which is a federally licensed wildlife rehabilitation and education program.
How you can support Best Friends Animal Society:
- Becoming a Guardian Angel (donate)
- Book a stay at their onsite hotel, Best Friends Roadhouse, with your dog or cat
- Sponsor an animal
- Purchase from their online or onsite store
- Get a Best Friends credit card
- Purchase a pet memorial
- Use their GIFs on Instagram (search BFAS)
Animal Place first opened in 1989 as a compassionate and loving home for neglected farm animals. The 600-acre farm in Northern California now serves as a permanent home to hundreds of animals rescued from slaughterhouses, cruelty cases, research facilities, and farms. Animal Place is more than just an animal sanctuary, though. They are committed to education and animal advocacy, offering guided tours, vegan cooking classes, and workshops.
They also operate Animal Place Rescue and Adoption Center in Petaluma, California, focusing on placing some of their animals into well-suited, permanent homes. It serves as a place for the animals they don’t have room for at the main sanctuary, enabling them to perform larger-scale rescue operations. They even have their own vegan store, Vegan Republic, in Berkeley, California, to help support their efforts.
How you can support Animal Place:
- Volunteer your time to run tours, educate the public at events, socialize with animals, assist with animal transportation, and help at the vegan store in Berkeley
- Donate (lump sum or monthly donation plan)
- Adopt a farm animal
It’s not always easy to find a truly ethical and humane wildlife sanctuary. But no one does it better than The Wild Animal Sanctuary. TWAS is on a mission to rescue animals from cruel and awful circumstances and provide a safe, happy home for them at the sanctuary. The main sanctuary, which serves as an educational facility, is located on 789 acres of grassland and is the only facility that allows visitors. There are over 550 large carnivores that live on the property, most of which have never seen grass in their lives. Now they have a place to call home where they receive proper diet and the veterinary care they need.
TWAS also operates The Wild Animal Refuge, a 9684-acre property near Springfield, Colorado, and The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Texas, which is 41 acres. Neither of these facilities are open for the public to visit, and they are home to additional rescued wildlife which require care. TWAS is one of the only wildlife sanctuaries in the US to receive accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which requires strict animal care standards and adhering to precise ethical and operational principles.
How you can support The Wild Animal Refuge:
- Pledge your monthly support
- Purchase merchandise from their online store
- Vehicle donations
Show your support for the animals
These four sanctuaries are well-deserving of your support, but there are other ways that you can show your support for our animal friends. Choose a plant-based diet, avoid inhumane animal tourism and spread the word about amazing sanctuaries like these to your peers!