As Asia is such a huge continent, we are seeking to appoint Ambassadors in as many countries as we possibly can.  With this in mind, we thought it would be a very good idea to appoint an adviser – someone with a wealth of knowledge and expertise on Asian animal welfare issues who would be well equipped to hold this very important role.  

We feel that many potentially great Ambassadors would be more willing to come forward and offer their services if they know they have someone to call on for advice, should the need arise.  As Jill has all the necessary qualifications and has been a  World Animal Day Ambassador herself, naturally she was our first choice!

We are most grateful to Jill for her wonderful support of World Animal Day.


Jill Robinson MBE, Dr.med.vet. h.c. has been a pioneer of animal welfare in Asia since 1985 and is widely recognised as the world’s leading expert on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993.

Born in the UK, Jill Robinson arrived in Hong Kong in 1985 and spent 12 years working in Asia as a consultant for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.  Repeatedly faced with scenes of widespread animal cruelty, Jill independently founded “Dr Dog” in Hong Kong in 1991 — the first animal-therapy programme in Asia.  This ground-breaking initiative introduced the concept of “change through empathy”, the belief that empathy  for one animal can evolve into empathy for an entire species and ultimately for all species.  Since then, more than 1,000 dogs have qualified as therapy dogs and today, over 250 dogs make regular visits to hospitals, disabled centres, schools and elderly homes in Hong Kong and three mainland Chinese cities.

In July 2000 Jill signed an agreement with the Chinese authorities to set up a bear sanctuary and rescue bears from the bile industry. This was the first agreement between the Chinese government and an international NGO. Animals Asia is the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China.

In 1993, a visit to a “bear farm” in southern China defined the course of Jill’s future work. Exposing the plight of endangered Asiatic black bears (also known as moon bears) cruelly farmed and milked for their bile, Jill embarked on a journey to end the barbaric practice of bear bile farming.  In 1998, she founded Animals Asia, an organisation devoted to ending bear bile farming in China and Vietnam and working to bring about long-term change, improving the welfare of all animals by promoting compassion and respect.

Today, Animals Asia has rescued over 670 bears, caring for them at its award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.  From its small beginnings in Hong Kong, Animals Asia has grown into a respected international NGO with over 300 staff and offices around the world.

Over the years, Jill has received a wealth of Awards and Commendations for her animal welfare work in Asia. She has given hundreds of presentations throughout the world and has been interviewed extensively by radio, television and print media.


Our vision: To end cruelty and promote respect for animals throughout Asia

Our mission: To protect bears from exploitation in Vietnam and China, provide sanctuary for bile bears, improve conditions for wild animals in captivity, and ensure humane treatment of cats and dogs

Animals Asia is devoted to improving the welfare of animals across Asia. We promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change.

Founded in 1998, Animals Asia has been rescuing bears since 2000. We operate award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, and we’re the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. Our founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading authority on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993.

Our work focuses on three major programs:

Moon Bear Protection

More than 10,000 bears – mainly moon bears, but also sun bears and brown bears – are kept on bile farms across Asia. To date, Animals Asia has rescued over 670 bears from the industry and brought them to our sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

Bile bears are kept on farms their entire lives, in some cases in cages so small that they’re unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Some bears are put into cages as cubs and are never released.

To boost bile production, some bears are starved. Many suffer from multiple diseases and malignant cancers. Despite the harsh conditions, bears can survive like this for up to 30 years.

The sanctuaries provide direct employment for hundreds of local people in areas such as veterinary and daily bear care, horticulture, food preparation and security. Hundreds more locals are employed indirectly through services and construction.

After years of cooperation, Animals Asia has signed an agreement with the government of Vietnam to completely end bear bile farming there. This includes rescuing around 300 bears that remain on farms – the country’s very last bile bears. In 2022, we started building a second sanctuary that will be home to these bears.

Cat and Dog Welfare

Cats and dogs are often abandoned and left to subsist on the streets, with many dying due to illness or accidents. Stray dogs and cats are also snatched from the streets and taken to horrific meat markets, where they’re bludgeoned to death and sold for human consumption.

Animals Asia works to protect dogs and cats in a number of ways. We work with the authorities to end the trade in companion animals for food, we work with governments and local animal protection groups to improve their welfare, and we promote humane population management.

Captive Animal Welfare

Wild animals in captivity across Asia face a range of abuses. Elephants are forced to carry tourists in the searing heat. Terrified chickens are fed to lions and tigers as live prey for entertainment. Bears are forced to perform demeaning tricks for jeering circus crowds. Frightened baby orangutans are stolen from their mothers and used as props for social media. And tens of thousands of songbirds are caught and trafficked for the lucrative pet trade.

Animals Asia’s works in China, Vietnam and Indonesia to improve the welfare of animals in captivity, and to free those that we can. We investigate facilities, and work with them to improve the animals’ welfare.

We oversee the care of 11 former working elephants in Vietnam. And we run a pioneering ethical tourism venture where visitors observe the elephants from a respectful distance.

Please visit animalsasia.org to learn more about our programs.

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