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SARCC Position Statements
'We acknowledge, We encourage'

Members of the AfA Sanctuaries and Rescue Centers Coalition (SARCC) do not need to meet any minimum requirements or standards to join the conversation. We are an open network, where we believe we can make change for animals and organizations by having more people at the table discussing their challenges, and sharing successful strategies, than restricting those who can join. 


We all care for animals and creating a better tomorrow.  How we get there may be different between organizations, and what each deems as acceptable varies. We simply ask for a friendly, approachable and non-abusive environment to share ideas, and be dedicated to ensuring animal care and welfare and we can still respect and learn from each other's experiences helping animals. 


We acknowledge sanctuaries and rescue centers across Asia;
  • operate in a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. 

  • operate in various political and governmental regulatory spaces.

  • have multifaceted missions from providing life-long care of individual animals to conservation programs. 

  • are engaged in a wide variety of activities such as education programs and community engagement. 

  • have different levels of financial, and human resources available to them. 

We encourage SARCs to adhere to best practice when possible and consider the following scenarios within their own organizations. 

Captive Breeding at SARCs

We acknowledge;

  • SARCs provide care for a range of threatened species. 

  • members may be engaged in captive breeding for conservation of species. 

  • SARCS may be engaged in captive breeding without current plans to release to the wild, as they deem it necessary for the persistence of a species. 

  • the final decision of an animal's future and use in breeding programs may not directly lie with the SARC, but rather with other governmental agencies.

We encourage;

  • that any breeding should be part of a managed and science based programme so that it provides outcomes to the survival and genetic diversity of species. 

  • organizations to not breed where it is not necessary such as for display purposes, or stocking other facilities, unless part of a managed and science based programme. 

  • educate government agencies about the negative consequences of both welfare and conservation of improper captive breeding programs. 


Animal Welfare (decision making, euthanasia, contraception and animal transfers) 

We acknowledge that;

  • the final decision of an animal's future may not directly lie with the SARC, but rather other governmental agencies. 

  • euthanasia and contraception of animals are animal welfare issues that are often contentious across Asia given various cultural and regulatory spaces. 


We encourage SARCs to;

  • consider animal welfare as the highest priority when making decisions within what they are able to do legally. 

  • communicate the issues of animal welfare and conservation to government agencies through decision making trees or analyses to provide evidence based approaches. 


Visitation and volunteering 

We acknowledge;

  • that volunteer programs and people visiting SARCs are a key educational opportunities and  provide financial and physical resources to organizations.


We encourage organizations;

  • to consider the welfare of individual animals when assessing the need for volunteers and visitors to directly interact with animals. Consider the previous trauma the animals have experienced, or the implications for disease and rehabilitation or release, as well as safety for both animals, and volunteers and visitors. We encourage organizations to develop a photography and social media policy for their organizations to limit the sharing of animal interactions publically, and consider how it may encourage further animal exploitation. 


Animal Rescues

We acknowledge;

  • that governments sometimes request financial assistance to rescue wildlife. 

  • that some species, such as elephants and equines, are routinely purchased as rescues as the only mechanism to provide sanctuary. 


We encourage;

  • that financial assistance given to government agencies for the rescue of animals is spent on resources directly related to the rescue of that animal. 

  • organizations to consider the flow on effects of financial exchanges to rescue animals, and how this may have negative flow on effects to other animals. 


Social media and public perceptions

We acknowledge;

  • that social media can be a powerful tool to share your organization's mission. 


We encourage;

  • organizations to consider public perceptions of wildlife interactions they may see through social media. While uploading stories to social media about  interactions at your organization like feeding or handling wildlife may not have a negative impact on the individuals you care for, it may influence people's behavior and encourage further animal exploitation such as wildlife trade and the purchase of pets, or how other facilities undertake animal interactions. 

  • organizations and their staff, volunteer and visitors ensure their social media stories and posts be of an educational value rather than cute, or interaction based.  In posts where staff may be interacting with animals, take steps to ensure those interactions are of a specific husbandry care nature and not ‘play’, such as veterinary care, training, or enrichment. Where possible consider your logo being visible from many angles on work uniforms. 

  • organizations to also consider their physical security when they post stories about animals in their care. There are examples of SARCs posting new rescues of highly sought after species, which has lead to break ins, and those animals being stolen. 


We ask organizations to consider the Best Practice Guidelines for Responsible Images of Non-Human Primates for how interactions and photos with wildlife may impact conservation efforts. 

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