There is no formal training needed for individuals to start a sanctuary. P.E.A.C.E. has created this roadmap to help highlight some key points (but not all!) for individuals to consider when looking to start a farm sanctuary. This is also a great resource for established farm sanctuaries anywhere along their farm sanctuary journey!

We reference a lot of resources available on The Open Sanctuary Project‘s website, a freely accessible, always growing digital guide for any resources or information you need to responsibly create and successfully manage a farm sanctuary. Or to provide the best possible care to non-human animals in order to help them live long, healthy, happy lives free of exploitation. We highly recommend getting their Care Program Evaluation Checklist and doing the courses in their Compassionate Care Classroom.

On top of this roadmap and courses, we also highly recommend individuals to volunteer (for at least a year!) or intern at a farm sanctuary before starting their own! Think of it like “work experience”. As an example, you don’t just open a vegan restaurant and become a great vegan cook or baker right off the bat! Especially if you’ve never done it before. You learn from others who have more experience than you, take classes, practice over and over and even after launching the learning never ends!


P.E.A.C.E. Resources For The Public | Starting A Sanctuary

The Open Sanctuary Project | So, You Want To Start A Farmed Animal Sanctuary

Starting A Farm Sanctuary Roadmap

We have broken the roadmap into three categories, each with up to four sections.

The categories are: The Sanctuary, Non-Human Animal Care, and Governance.

The sections are: Essentials, Building, Preparedness, and Horizon. The first section of essentials we find are… essential! After accomplishing them you move on to building, then preparedness, etc.

These are, again, just starting blocks, as starting and running a farm sanctuary, just like everything else, is a continual learning and growing experience!

P.E.A.C.E. Farm Sanctuary Roadmap Checklist (to print) – COMING SOON



Currently residing on, or buying properly zoned land to have farmed animals.

Lease contingency plan. | GFAS supplies a template.

Incorporate as a non-profit organization.

Farm Sanctuary bank account (after incorporation).

Separate stand-alone social media platform(s) for your farm sanctuary.

Farm Sanctuary email address.

Farm Sanctuary PayPal account.


Liability insurance.

Volunteer application form.

Volunteer and intern manual.

Non-human animal surrender form. | Option 1 | Option 2.


Start your Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) application.

Human first aid plan. | GFAS supplies a template.

Job descriptions of key personnel like farm sanctuary manager, executive director etc. | GFAS supplies a template.

Employee manual (if applicable). | GFAS supplies a template.


Succession plan. | GFAS supplies a template.

Contingency plans.



Resident intake process and records. | GFAS supplies a template.

Proper and secure fencing installed – species specific.

Safe and secure all season shelters – species specific.

Predator mitigation and protection plan.

Nighttime security check and lock up procedures.

Feeding and special diets procedures.

Secure and identify appropriate veterinary care. Including emergency services – species specific.


Best practice procedures (eg. shifting non-human animals, cleaning, hoof trimming, health exams etc).

Seasonal procedures schedule (eg. summer/winter prep, shearing, pasture management, ice mitigation etc).

Preventative medicine program. | GFAS supplies a template.

Disaster and emergency plan and procedures.

Escaped non-human animals plan and procedures.

Adoption procedure and paperwork (if applicable). | GFAS supplies a template.

Foster procedure and paperwork (if applicable).


Annual Drills

Disaster preparedness and emergency. | GFAS supplies a template.

Escaped non-human animals plan. | GFAS supplies a template.


Policies and Agreements


Rescue policy.

Capacity for responsible care policy.

Spay and neuter policy.

Euthanasia policy. | TOSP Template.

Responsible visitor’s policy.


Non-disclosure and confidentiality policy and agreement for your board, officers, employees and volunteers to sign.

Conflict of interest policy and agreement for your board, officers, employees and volunteers to sign. | GFAS supplies a template.

Accident waiver and release of liability agreement for your employees and volunteers to sign. (If not already included in the employee and volunteer manual).

Adoption Policies (if applicable).

Foster Policies (if applicable).

Privacy Policy available on your website (if applicable).


Zoonotic disease prevention and management policy.

Enrichment program policy.

Code of Conduct/Ethics. | GFAS supplies a template.

Anti-discrimination, inclusion and diversity policy. | GFAS supplies a template.

Non-harassment and anti-violence policy.


Grievance policy. | GFAS supplies a template.

Whistleblower policy. | GFAS supplies a template.

DISCLAIMER | P.E.A.C.E. has provided this roadmap as a service to the public and farm sanctuaries. Some of the information in this website has been provided by external sources. P.E.A.C.E. is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information provided by external sources. Users should please consult directly with the external source of the information.