Degree Name

Master of Research


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


In Australia the term ‘sanctuary’ is used to define a very broad range of animal/human shared spaces, with no regulation as to who can and can’t use the term ‘sanctuary’ to describe their practices. On one hand the term ‘sanctuary’ is often used in Australia to describe the growing number of refuges for ‘domestic’ and ‘livestock’ animals rescued from agricultural industries. However, there are animal breeding facilities in Australia, (that breed, sell and exhibit animals for money) that also describe themselves as ‘sanctuaries’. For the last decade I have been running the “Sydney Fox and Dingo Rescue” and in this thesis I examine what it means to provide sanctuary to the foxes and dingoes we look after. My analysis is informed and shaped by Animal Studies literature on animal sanctuaries and the ethics of captivity. I highlight what it means to be a ‘true sanctuary’ and outline the ethical obligations sanctuaries like mine have towards both humans and non-human animals. The thesis also explores physical, psychological and legal forms of captivity for animals and how the cultural and historic significance of specific animals manifests in their need for sanctuary from persecution by humans. My own experiences running Sydney Fox and Dingo Rescue are an important aspect of this research, and I draw on these to contextualise the ethical dilemmas and challenges facing animal sanctuaries today.

FoR codes (2008)

200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality, 200211 Postcolonial Studies, 200299 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified, 220306 Feminist Theory



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.