Animal Sanctuary: Real or Fake?

How Can I Tell If An Animal Sanctuary Is Genuine, Or If They Are Taking Advantage Of Animals?!

There a many people across the world that put the safety and care of endangered animals above themselves. A great animal sanctuary’s first concern is always to the animal, making sure they are happy, healthy, and that they feel safe. The animals there are abused, abandoned, or simply displaced by circumstance. These animals are released into the wild when possible, but a great many don’t have that option. A good sanctuary will bring you to the brink of tears with their dedication and success. However, not every “sanctuary” is what it advertises. Some are glorified breeding houses that exploit the animals and don’t take their health into consideration. It’s tough to tell them apart, but it’s important that you go through a rigorous vetting before contributing or taking part in any sanctuary.

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Image courtesy of: shutterstock

When I was 16 I found out about an exotic sanctuary near me in Wisconsin. It took in abused and abandoned big cats, as well as a few bears, horses, foxes, and various farm animals. Each animal came from a horrific environment. One Sumatran tiger, a breed quickly becoming extinct, had been defanged and declawed by the circus he lived in. Tiger teeth are actually part of the jawbone, meaning his jaw couldn’t close correctly, and he couldn’t eat anything but boneless meat. One of the Jaguars (who lived below the room I stayed in) had been beaten numerous times with a metal pipe by her drug dealer owner, causing brain lesions, and a massive mistrust for males. Far too many of the animals came from other “sanctuaries” that were shut down for animal abuse, as well as some that escaped euthanasia at zoos for being “too old.” Every animal had a similar story, but almost every one turned into a happy, friendly, and affectionate animal. They had large indoor and outdoor enclosures, fresh meat every day, and at no point where they exploited or used as an attraction. A great sanctuary will have happy, playful animals because they provide a safe environment for the animals.

There are a number of red flags to look for that can easily identify those animal farms that you should stay far away from. Of course, these are not the only signs to look for. If you feel uncomfortable with the sanctuary, walk the other way.


where did all these animals come from?

Sanctuary animals can be broken into two categories, rescue animals and commercial animals. Seems obvious right? It’s sadly more complex than that.

Rescue animals are going to come from circuses, zoos, those saved from hunters or disease, or private homes. None of them are capable of surviving in the wild, so they need a home to live out the rest of their days. Each animal will have a story, most likely not a good one. Pay attention to why the animal is there, and you’ll get a quick understanding of what the sanctuary is trying to accomplish.

“Commercial” is a broad term, but in essence it’s the best one. These animals are captured specifically for housing in the facility, or they are bred in captivity for the purpose of selling or displaying. Some hide behind the veil of “protecting the species,” but animals born in captivity can’t be released into the wild, so they are simply an attraction, which is exactly what real sanctuaries are trying to protect their wards from.

image: http://d1vmcse0jge0ha.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/shutterstock_46407289-941×627.jpg

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“come on in and play!”

Are the animals available for photo ops with you? Can you ride around on them? This is a huge distinction, and an immediate way to know if you should run the other way. Being able to SEE the animals is great. Most sanctuaries give tours (the one I worked with limited tours to 5 people maximum), but they are small, and keep the psychological needs of the animals in mind. No animals wants to be smothered by people. Most come from backgrounds that bred mistrust of people, and even a “gentle” animal can turn deadly when scared. There should always be a significant barrier between the animals and the guests, and the animals should always have somewhere they can go to be alone if they become stressed. If you can pay for a photo with them, or you can interact directly with the animal right away, then the facility is certainly not a sanctuary.

Training should never be tolerated.

Rescue animals often come from abusive situations. Circuses and private owners often use cruel and violent training methods, leading to long-term physical and psychological harm, often times to the point the animal can never recover. When an animal is rescued, it should have a safe home. It isn’t there to do tricks or to be a showpiece. There is no need to train them! Yet, many commercial facilities have trainers on staff in order to keep their photo op animals in line. Things like bull hooks, electric fences or prods, and chains are all signs of an abusive facility. At no point should the animal be chained or tied up. All of these actions lead to abuse, and are the antithesis of what a sanctuary is trying to accomplish.

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Everyone needs to play

Pay attention to how the animals are housed. No sanctuary will have the endless space that the animals would have in the wild, they should have ample space to run and play. They should have toys, enclosures to sleep and hide, and a way to separate them from the enclosure when it’s time to clean. At no time should an animal be tied up, and their enclosure should be on grass or natural ground, not cement! If the animal can only pace and turn around, then their welfare is being ignored, brazenly so. Imagine what you would need to be happy in that situation, and if you don’t see it, then you know the “sanctuary” is a sham.

Home sweet home?

We can’t read an animals mind, but there are a number of behaviors that are obvious signs of distress in the animals. Zoochosis is the unnatural behavior animals exhibit in captivity, and a common occurrence in the commercial shelter community. Acts like pacing constantly back and forth is the most noticeable sign. Their posture tends to be hunched and more predatory when pacing, showing how anxious and bored they really are. Other signs are sitting and rocking, self-mutilation, and chewing or licking the bars of their cage constantly. Each of these is a sure sign the animals is in a terrible situation.


Read more at http://blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/know-animal-sanctuaries/#yI9biHf1A6PTrMeo.99

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Does having a hobby help you live for longer?

Someone Somewhere

An international study has suggested that having a hobby can give older people a greater purpose later on in life, which could have a positive impact on their health. 1

The study, which was carried out by a combination of British and US universities, found that those who reported a greater sense of purpose in life were generally healthier and lived for longer than those who claimed to have little purpose.

The study could not prove hobbies directly affect your chances of living for longer however, especially with other more recognised causes of ill health to be considered too. That said, it did add to the link between health and mental wellbeing.

The study found that the relationship appeared to go both ways, with unhappy people developing illnesses, while ill people could become unhappy. The latter was certainly found to be prevalent amongst those with typical ageing illnesses, such as 

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Older adults treated with atypical antipsychotics are at increased risk of kidney injury, according to a study published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The findings add to previous evidence that this class of drugs is risky for older adults.

Although atypical antipsychotics are commonly prescribed for older adults to treat agitation and other behavioral symptoms of dementia, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for this purpose. In fact, since 2005 the agency has warned that use of these drugs to treat older adults with dementia was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of death. An agency analysis of 17 placebo-controlled trials found the risk of death among patients with dementia taking olanzapine, aripiprazole, risperidone, or quetiapine was 4.5% compared with 2.6% among those taking a placebo.

Using antipsychotic drugs to treat older patients with dementia increases the risk of kidney injury, a new study found. (Image: JAMA, ©AMA)

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Wanted: Volunteers to test an experimental new AIDS vaccine that is needle-free. The catch? You have to be willing to stay locked up in your room for 12 days.

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It’s only a very early stage experiment, meant to show the vaccine is safe. However, if it is, it could be a start not only towards a much-needed vaccine against the AIDS virus, but needle-free vaccines against many different infections.

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are testing it in their specially designed facility usually used to test live influenza vaccines. The trial, which started Tuesday, is being paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Some people see showers as a necessary (and lovely) ritual that all decent human beings do daily…

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

While others believe it’s a chore to avoid until the last possible minute and then do as quickly as humanly possible.

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If you’re in this category and have ever wondered how often you actually need to clean your body, the answer is: not as often as most Americans probably think.

Two dermatologists tell BuzzFeed Life that most Americans shower way more than is necessary.

How Often You Really Need To Shower (According To Science)

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Someone Somewhere

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According to psychiatrist Dr David Veal:

“Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on social media sites.”

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