5 Ways Our Adoption Network Saves Animals

By Susie Coston, National Shelter Director

Farm Sanctuary operates the largest farm-animal rescue and refuge network in North America. The Farm Animal Adoption Network (FAAN) encompasses hundreds of individual adopters, as well as fellow rescue and shelter groups, and has a presence in nearly every U.S. state.

Providing wonderful, lifelong homes, the network allows us to make space at our shelters for new arrivals and also to undertake large-scale operations like last year’s rescue of more than 300 “spent” egg-laying hens. FAAN is an impressive example of what we can do when work together.

An animal rescued by Farm Sanctuary has sanctuary for life. Here’s are five things that set our Farm Animal Adoption Network apart:

1. We put farm animals first.

Because the animals we rescue are viewed by most people as food sources, we must be especially careful that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. We don’t advertise on sites like Craigslist or Petfinder. Nor do we advertise at feed stores or anywhere else where these animals might be associated with food production. We screen adopters thoroughly to be sure they are both committed to and capable of providing excellent, lifelong care.


We also never promote our animals by referring to qualities that could be exploited, like egg-laying for ducks, geese, and hens or “lawn-mowing” and brush removal for goats and sheep. Doing so might bring in more applicants, but they would be applicants who see these animals as a means to some end. These animals suffered in exploitative circumstances before their rescue, and they never will again. We insist that adopters treat their adopted animals as companions.

2. Health matters.

The FAAN application process involves a review of the housing and outdoor areas to be provided to the adopted animals, as well as personal and veterinary references.

Because the animals we rescue often face health complications due to industrial breeding and raising practices, we insist that adopters have access to appropriate veterinary services. Chickens bred for egg production, for instance, are prone to a slew of reproductive-tract ailments, from blockages to cancer. Though we adopt out only the healthiest of the chickens we rescue, access to expert care and treatment is still crucial for all the adoptees. Part of the process of adopting these special-needs animals into homes is teaching adopters how to care for them.

3. We go the distance.

We transport animals to their adoptive homes ourselves. This not only ensures that the journey is safe and comfortable for the animals but also allows us to evaluate their new homes in person.

We’ll bring animals to the homes that are best for them, even if those homes are hundreds of miles away. Take, for example, the four pigs we recently transported from our New York Shelter all the way to a shelter in Florida.


Our many long-distance and interstate adoptions require careful preparations. Out-of-state adoptions also require testing and health certificates for specific diseases, which vary by destination state. Following these laws is imperative for the safety of the animals, since animals transported illegally can be confiscated and destroyed for testing.

4. We follow up.

Though adopted animals are living outside our shelters, they’re still part of the Farm Sanctuary family. Placement Coordinator Alicia Pell checks in with new adopters to make sure everything is going smoothly, and with the help of National Shelter Director Susie Coston, she regularly fields questions from adopters new and old about healthcare, behavior, and resources.

Many adopters have come to the sanctuary to learn even more about basic healthcare for their new family members, and many have attended our Farm Animal Care Conference, offered every September.


National Shelter Director Susie Coston provides in-depth instruction at our Farm Animal Care Conference.

5. We realize not every animal should be adopted.

Our rescued animals are survivors of abuse and neglect, which can leave them with persistent health challenges, or even special emotional needs, for the rest of their lives. For some, these difficulties require the sort of accommodations, monitoring, and care that can be provided only at our shelters .


Samantha, who requires a prosthetic leg, will always live at our New York Shelter so she lives in close proximity to expert medical care.

No sanctuary can make a sizeable dent in the number of farm animals slaughtered in this country, which is now over nine billion per year. What we can do is give wonderful lives to the animals we are able to save and do so by treating them as we would our own companion animals- as an individual. Each is important in his or her own right, as an ambassador and a thinking, feeling individual.

Care to learn more about home adoption? Farm Sanctuary is always on the lookout for great adopters. We’re happy to help you figure out what sort of adoption is right for you and what you need to do to get ready. Visit our adoption page for more info or to fill out an application.

8 thoughts on “5 Ways Our Adoption Network Saves Animals

  1. You do such wonderful work, but we have quite a ways to go yet until factory farms and live exports will be abolished.

  2. The amazing work you do gives me, and countless others, hope that major
    changes might actually occur in the way people view animals. I am a lifelong vegan and so are my children and grandchildren. You are our heroes.
    I have asthma associated with allergies to mammals….I have always wanted to adopt animals that had special needs but my asthma prevents that from happening. I am so personally inspired by your work.

  3. I have rescued many types of animals. As a forever home, I can take in a few more hens. I currently have a rescued healthy and happy 10 year old Brahma hen, Beatrice, and 3 Polish hens, Trudie, Elana, and Sophie. I have a one acre fenced-in yard in Mount Airy, Md. Because of the predatory animals in our area, our hens are also inside an electric fence. (It makes a snapping sound that keeps them from wanting to go close to the fence.)The little Polish hens are inside a good-sized pen within the electric fence for protection from hawks. I move the little hens pen daily for fresh grass and the whole yard area every week for fresh grass for our larger hen. They eat organic, non-gmo feed grown locally and lots of organic vegetables from my garden.

  4. Hello! Thanks for the 5 – brilliant – ways your adoption network saves animals. I’ve read this issue very carefully and I consider the way you operate as a character of role model. Thumbs up!

  5. I see a world wold kind of like Manaos Brazil, where people and animals walk together, except more peaceful. all walks of life are welcome unless they are not contributing to the whole of the community, I this is degredable to the heavens what we are doing, but i still think and feel that the type of life one lives with others, give the type of seeds, they will either rot into darkness, or flourish and bloom, its time we unite with this friends and show the world what consciousness is all about, I’m serious I’m tired of yelling, we have to have evidence everywhere, or else I’m going to cut the eyelids of those carnivorous bastards. Just kidding, but seriously.

  6. It very important to teach humans to respect animals. Innocent animals need Sanctuaries, worldwide. Thank you to all supporters of Farm Sanctuary. VEGANISM is the only way to stop The ANIMAL HOLOCAUST. Innocent animals need PROTECTION NOW!

  7. Thank you so much for doing rescue RIGHT and setting the example for the rest of the world to follow. We see so much suffering caused by flash in the pan, grab & get them to anyone who will take them operations, we appreciate the example and excellence Farm Sanctuary demonstrates. You’re the best!

  8. You guys at Farm Sanctuary are the best… You have my vote and my support. Thank you <3