years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
A happy and inspirational evening for Animals Asia at the Royal Geographical Society
Peter Egan, Jill Robinson, David Shepherd, Debbie Banks and Mark Carwardine.
Despite Animals Asia’s current fight against the threatened eviction from our sanctuary in Vietnam, the UK team enjoyed a moment of calm and inspiration with Jill Robinson at our Healing without Harm joint event with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, on Thursday 18 October 2012.
Jill gave an update on the issues facing our End Bear Farming campaign and was joined by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) Chief Investigator, Debbie Banks, who spoke about tiger farming. Dr Kaicun Zhao, Vice President of the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the UK finished the evening by giving an endorsement of Healing without Harm on behalf of TCM practitioners. The event was brilliantly compered by TV presenter Mark Carwardine.
The evening began with Mark giving a short update on the global crisis in rhino poaching, which was followed by Debbie’s talk on the continuing threats to tigers in the wild. Debbie also spoke about the new threat to these beautiful animals, which is currently under investigation by EIA, particularly in China, where tiger skins are now highly prized by affluent Chinese as status symbols.
Skins from farmed tigers are more valuable than those from wild tigers, which is lessening the chances of tiger farms being phased out. She called on the audience to do more to encourage governments to apply pressure on China to live up to its Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) commitments not to trade in parts from tigers.
Jill then followed with a storming presentation on bear farming and the changing attitudes and public support in China in the face of strong opposition from the commercial bear farmers. However, she left hardly a dry eye in the house with her explanation of the current crisis in Vietnam and the threat of eviction of our bear sanctuary there. The audience strongly applauded her stated determination to fight this injustice to the end … and win.
Dr Kaicun Zhao also gave a very interesting insight into how ingredients derived from animal parts, although mentioned in ancient texts about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), have never been widespread or absolutely essential. He explained that 80 per cent of TCM is based on herbal ingredients and that the use of ingredients from animals, especially those that have been tortured on farms, is completely contrary to the holistic values of TCM that tries to live at one with nature.
He supported the call for more research into alternatives to bear bile and tiger bone in China but stated that while TCM has often been blamed for the trade in endangered species, the use of them is limited, but the trade is more often run by businessmen and corporations appealing to China’s newly affluent public. He stated that no TCM practitioner in the UK would use parts from endangered species as this would be in contravention of CITES agreements.
This was a very interesting and inspirational evening and the audience remained chatting to the speakers until closing time. We were delighted to welcome Peter Egan and Rula Lenska in the audience who have been so supportive of our work and who are doing all they can to help in the Stop the Eviction campaign.
As always, Jill was delighted to meet up with David, Avril, Mel and Mandy Shepherd and thank them for the endless and generous support given by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. Art was another theme of the night with Richard Symonds and Suzie Marsh with us again and raising funds for Animals Asia through the sale of their beautiful bear prints and sculptures. Finally, the silent auction of David Shepherd’s original oil sketch for the oil painting of Jasper the Moon Bear was very successful, increasing the proceeds of a happy and successful evening.
Jill also took the opportunity to present the 2012 UK Supporter Awards to Mike Spragg for the Best Corporate Support, Richard Symonds and Suzie Marsh for the Best Fundraising Idea (Moonstruck) and Babs Emery as the Best Individual Supporter of the year . Huge congratulations to all.