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 500 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 in Australia, China, Germany, Italy, UK, US and Vietnam.
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.
AIMS / MISSION STATEMENT of Animals Asia Foundation:
Animals Asia Foundation is a Hong Kong-based government-registered animal welfare charity founded by Jill Robinson MBE in 1998. The mission of the Animals Asia Foundation is to improve the lives of all animals in Asia, end cruelty and restore respect for animals Asia-wide. The Animals Asia Foundation, managed by professionals, resident in Asia, is committed to forging constructive solutions to the seemingly insurmountable problems which the animals face in today’s changing environment. Implementation is through a dynamic three-pronged approach: investigation, negotiation and education.
Animals Asia embodies five main values:
ANIMALS FIRST – The welfare of all animals is our first priority.
We are passionate about ending cruelty and restoring respect for animals in Asia. We have their best interests at heart when considering any action and every project we undertake will have this as our goal.
INTEGRITY – We will act ethically, responsibly and fairly in all our dealings. We believe in acting ethically, responsibly and fairly in all our dealings with people and animals alike and will not compromise on our principles in dealing with other agencies, officials or individuals.
ACCOUNTABILITY – We will be responsible custodians of the animals and funds entrusted into our care.
Ensuring that all donations are used in the most effective way toward the benefit of animals is of utmost importance to us. We endeavour at all times to meet the expectations of our donors and to conduct our operations with meticulous documentation and transparency. We are extremely grateful for the trust and confidence placed in us by our supporters and as such we will be responsible custodians of the animals and funds entrusted into our care.
COMMITMENT TO MISSION – We will always remain true to our mission. Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges we face, we drive ourselves to overcome them, always remaining committed to our cause. The solutions that we strive for are never for the short term and nor is our commitment. We will stay on course and never waiver for as long as it takes. In doing so, we accept the risks and uncertainty associated with our line of work.
RESPECT – We will strive to find compassionate solutions that benefit people as well as animals.
We will consult and work with government and communities and will strive to find compassionate solutions that take into account the individual animal, the species and the people affected as we seek to achieve our primary mission.
Animals Asia is guided by its vision: Change for all animals, inspired by empathy for the few. Our animal ambassadors embody the ideal that empathy for one animal can evolve into empathy for an entire species and ultimately for all species.
OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN
Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam. We promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change.
The Animals Asia team has been rescuing bears since 1994 and is the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. Our founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, is widely recognised as the world’s leading expert on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993.
Ending bear bile farming
Animals Asia works to end the barbaric bear bile trade, which sees over 10,000 bears – mainly moon bears but also sun bears and brown bears – kept on bile farms in China, and around 2,400 in Vietnam.
The farmers regularly extract the bears’ bile, which is used in traditional medicine, using various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection in the bears. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives.
The bears’ cages are sometimes so small that they are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Most bears are starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them.
We focus on five key areas to end bear bile farming. We operate bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam, we reduce demand for bile, we monitor the bile trade, we run extensive public awareness campaigns in China and Vietnam, and we work with government and policy makers to build support for an end to the trade.
We have sanctuaries in Chengdu, China and Tam Dao, Vietnam where hundreds of rescued bears have been brought and rehabilitated. In 2014, Animals Asia launched a project to build a third sanctuary – in Nanning, China. The ambitious project will see a bear bile farm, with 130 bears trapped inside, transformed into a sanctuary for the bears. By working with the farmer and the existing staff, Animals Asia hopes the project will be a model for other farmers wanting to leave the industry.
Cat and dog welfare
Animals Asia works to improve the welfare of companion animals in China and to end dog and cat eating.
Cats and dogs in China are often abandoned and left to subsist on the streets, with many dying due to illness or accidents. Government authorities organise brutal dog-killing campaigns to try to reduce stray dog populations. Stray dogs and cats are also snatched from the streets and taken to horrific meat markets, where they are sold for human consumption and often suffer a slow, violent death.
We focus on five key areas to improve cat and dog welfare. We empower local groups by providing funding and training, promote humane population management, investigate and monitor the meat trade, run extensive public awareness campaigns on cat and dog issues, and engage with government and policy makers to bring about change.
Zoos and safari parks
Animals Asia is working to improve conditions for animals in China’s zoos and safari parks. In many places, terrified cows, pigs and chickens are fed to lions and tigers as live prey for entertainment. Captive wild animals are often cruelly mutilated with their teeth and claws cut back. They may also be chained and used as photographic props or forced to entertain the crowds with unnatural, degrading and stressful circus-style performances. Many animals display severe stereotypic behaviour, such as pacing and swaying, due to neglect and poor management. Most receive no medical care and many suffer from injuries and diseases that are left untreated.
Animals Asia focuses on five key areas to help animals in zoos and safari parks in China. We conduct investigations at captive animal facilities and we’re training vets throughout China. We’re improving welfare by running workshops for staff at Chinese zoos and running public awareness campaigns through schools and universities. We engage with government and policy makers in China to encourage them to protect captive animals from neglect and abuse.
Please visit animalsasia.org to learn more about our programmes – End Bear Bile Farming, Cat and Dog Welfare and Zoos and Safari Parks.