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Safe and Humane


The vision of Safe & Humane is simply stated yet ambitious in action: To make Oklahoma the safest and most humane place to be an animal by the year 2032.

The path to making this twenty-year vision (2012-2032) a reality is ripe with opportunities and challenges. This effort seeks to elevate the standards of treatment, care, and welfare for all animals in Oklahoma while building on a strong framework already in place throughout the state. The scale and complexity can wide-and far-ranging, but we believe that through smart communication, strategic programming, education, and research, a culture of compassion will emerge to create widespread wellbeing for Oklahoma and its human and animal inhabitants. We believe one is inextricably linked to the other.

The Safe & Humane effort relies on executive-level and grass-roots leadership throughout the state, from education and non-profit to corporate and governmental entities. Animal wellbeing connects every part of society, from child wellness, healthy individuals and families, city and emergency planning, law enforcement, food and agricultural systems, social and emotional learning, quality cities and communities, and even prison reform and returning veteran services.

History of Safe & Humane

The history of Safe & Humane dates back more than fifty years ago with Kirkpatrick Foundation’s involvement with the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens. John Kirkpatrick served as a founding member of the Friends of the Zoo (now known as the Oklahoma Zoological Society) and was the driving force behind much of the zoo’s development, starting with a gift of $25,206 in 1963. John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick’s daughter, Joan, and their grandson, Christian, have continued that interest in the zoo and in animal welfare throughout the past five decades. The Kirkpatrick Foundation and its sister philanthropy, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, have given more than $8 million to improve the lives of animals in Oklahoma, Colorado Springs, and around the country. These grants have funded living exhibits, education and conservation projects, monumental sculpture, local programming, humane societies, medical equipment, scientific research, veterinary training, and animal-behavior studies.

In July 2012, Christian Keesee, chairman, and Louisa McCune, executive director, broadened the commitment to animals with the twenty-year Safe & Humane vision to make Oklahoma  the safest and most humane place to be an animal by 2032.

For more information about the Kirkpatrick Foundation, please see the website (