It’s not entirely surprising that certain places can cross the line with wild animals and endangered species. Currently, much of the animal-experience travel industry is being exposed after the whole “Tiger King” scandal.
Luckily, there are plenty of animal organizations that do not and will not cross the line on ethics, ever. In fact, many focus on rehabilitation of the animals, rather than catering to the tourists.
Here are the organizations that are actually worth a visit, aka ethical animal sanctuary destinations only.
Woodstock Farm Sanctuary – High Falls, New York
If farm animals are your thing, this is the place for you. It’s filled with rescued chickens, goats, pigs, cows, sheep and even some alpacas! It’s the barnyard sanctuary of your dreams.
Woodstock Farm works to save these animals from neglect, slaughter and abuse. They take them in and give them a protected life with very limited visitor interaction.
This place consistently practice what they preach. They operate with a vegan-only mentality. There is no non-vegan food allowed on the property, and the on-site café only sells goods that are 100% vegan.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary — Kanab, Utah
This is the largest no-kill sanctuary in the United States. Their main goal is to put an end to all of the high-kill shelters, where so many dogs and cats are placed. Best Friends aims to save them all. To help do so, they have developed over 3,000 partnerships with local shelters and rescue centers across the U.S.
Their headquarters are in Utah, where they house over 1,600 animals, including cats, dogs, farm pigs, wild bobcats, horses, birds and more. Many of these (domesticated) animals are even available to adopt.
It’s important to note that this isn’t your regular old petting zoo. Adoption parents are encouraged to pick up their animal in person. You can even have a scheduled sleepover before taking your little guy or gal home. These places are all about their animals, and what’s even better is that your money goes towards supporting the necessary work done by their scientists and doctors.
This sanctuary works tirelessly with one overarching goal in mind — to help the animals, nothing more and nothing less.
The Center For Wildlife Care – Cape Neddick, Maine
The Center For Wildlife Care is the holy grail of animal sanctuaries, with more than 15 acres of dedicated land. They rehabilitate their animals, including foxes, bald eagles and more, to help them return to the wild after an accident or injury.
Some animals have extremely serious injuries and are in need of critical medical care. Luckily, the Center for Wildlife Care can help to provide this. It’s like an emergency room — but for animals.
There are many volunteer and internship opportunities through the organization. Alternatively, you can choose to sponsor a specific animal and donate to their needs.
Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary - Thailand
This one is quite the journey away, but their work is too important not to put on our list. It’s actually one of the only elephant sanctuaries in Thailand that has a reliable reputation for ethical treatment and practices of its animals.
If you just happen to find yourself in the middle of Thailand, you could see some pretty amazing and inspiring elephants here. Many of its residents were previously abused and suffer long-term effects.
The sanctuary tries to keep the number of visitors very low to help keep the elephant’s stress levels down. This place is all about healing.
If you are lucky enough to spot, all visitors stay on-site with meals included. You can experience the many different aspects of an elephant’s daily life. This includes things like bathing and feeding. No visitors, however, are permitted to ride the elephants. You can even help out with things like pen repair or clean-up. Though, everyone is advised to keep a proper distance from the elephants at all times and to respect their home.