What is a Sanctuary?

An animal sanctuary is place where vulnerable animals can go to live out the remainder of their lives in peace. Though we encourage visitors to come and experience the animals at the DSC, there are several important differences between sanctuaries and zoos that you should take note of.

While a zoo has a direct link to the public, sanctuaries are open in a limited way and sometimes not at all especially because they are often working farms. As a sanctuary we are also completely dependent on private donations from individual donors in order to continue operating.

One of the main differences between a zoo and a sanctuary is how they acquire their animals. A zoo might buy, breed, sell, or trade animals. Meanwhile, most animals at sanctuaries are relinquished as their prior caretakers deem they can no longer thrive in their current environment.

Zoos are created specifically to exhibit animals to the public, collecting animals based on market reaction, potential for scientific research, and conservation needs. Sanctuaries promise to take in and care for any animals that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and keep them for life. At the DSC, our priority is always the welfare of our animal residents exhibited through our gold standard of donkey and mule care, as well as the welfare of donkeys and donkey hybrids beyond our fence through our education programs.

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is an Accredited sanctuary with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries; one of two Accredited sanctuaries in Canada and the only Accredited equine sanctuary in Canada. For more information about us, please click here.



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