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).
Bear farming, animal cruelty and the development of animal protection in China – 16 Nov 2010
The seminar panel: Jill, Dave, Johan Lindsjo (Vet), Carl Schlyter MEP, Peter Skinner MEP and Toby.
Bear paw print presentation: Emma Larsson (Animal Protection Network Sweden), Carl Schlyter MEP, Jill, Johan Lindsjo and Dave.
In the pub.... it's not all work you know!!!!
Seminar participants including 50 MEPs from 13 European countries.
On 16 November, Jill Robinson (Animals Asia Founder and CEO), Toby Zhang (Director of External Affairs), David Neale (Animal Welfare Director) and our Chinese government partners Mr Cao Liang, Madam Wang Xiaoting (China Wildlife Conservation Association),Mr Li Jianguo (Sichuan Forestry Department), and Mr Yu Changchun (Jilin Forestry Department) were honoured to speak at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The European parliament seminar: “Bear farming, animal cruelty and the development of animal protection in China” was hosted by Carl Schlyter MEP, Peter Skinner MEP and Eva-Britt Svensson MEP. The seminar provided an opportunity to discuss progress towards ending bear farming in China, government initiatives to end abusive animal performances in zoos, and steps being taken by provincial governments towards the humane management of dog populations. The seminar also provided our government partners with the opportunity to discuss their involvement in closing down bear farms and their support for an end to the farming of bears for their bile.
Support from within the European parliament and the European commission for our work in China continues to grow. In 2006, over 350 MEPs signed a declaration calling upon the Chinese government to end bear farming. Since this time, MEPs have raised the issue with Chinese government representatives in both Brussels and Beijing. We also received support for an end to bear farming from the then EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou.
Andrea Gavinelli representing the European Commission (Head of Unit, Animal Welfare, DG Sanco) told seminar participants on Tuesday that the commission wished to provide additional support for international co-operation between the EU and China on the development of animal protection.
We were particularly delighted to hear the words of Mr Cao Liang from the CWCA praising Animals Asia as a good partner working on bear issues in China. Mr Cao emphasised great awareness and support from the public, saying that since Animals Asia’s bear rescue sanctuary was established, he has seen many concrete examples of animal welfare moving forward. Mr Cao told delegates of our joint achievement which has seen 20 Chinese provinces committing to being bear-farm free, and the closure of the last farm in Shandong Province with the rescued bears now in our care.
Seminar Panel and Chinese Government delegation: Madam Wang Xiaoting (China Wildlife Conservation Association), Dave, Johan Lindsjo, Emma Larsson, Carl Schlyter MEP, Jill, Mr Yu Changchun (Jilin Forestry Department), Mr Cao Liang (China Wildlife Conservation Association), Toby, and Mr Li Jianguo (Sichuan Forestry Department).
Mr Cao showed commitment from the CWCA to continue to work with Animals Asia to end bear farming, calling for the closure of more farms that don’t meet the current industry standards and to be involved in public education initiatives to raise awareness of the alternatives to bear bile in traditional Chinese medicine, which will help to prevent the bears from suffering. He also emphasised that the law must change before bear farming can end and that there is the need to adopt both a scientific attitude and an understanding of animal welfare.
Mr Cao said that the parliament was the perfect platform for individuals representing different governments to debate these issues and looked forward to additional correspondence with European parliamentarians on issues of wildlife protection.
In addition to discussing an end to bear farming, we used the opportunity to promote our recent investigation work into the cruel animal performances in Chinese zoos and safari parks and to praise the Chinese government for issuing recent directives to ban these abusive practices.
We sincerely thank Cao Liang and our government partners for attending the seminar and joining in the international push to end bear farming in China. We also thank Emma Larsson from the Animal Protection Network, Sweden for co-organising the event, Andrea Gavinelli from the European Commission for addressing the commission’s role in the development of animal welfare internationally and Swedish vet Johan Lindsjo for presenting a paper on the health and welfare implications of farming bears for their bile.
Special thanks also to our hosts, Carl Schlyter MEP, Peter Skinner MEP and Eva-Britt Svensson MEP, for providing us with this important opportunity to bring animal protectionists and government representatives from across the world together to discuss ways to improve protection for all animals in China.
The seminar was supported by over 50 MEPs representing 13 European countries and all major political parties within the European Parliament. A number of MEPs have now committed to continuing this dialogue in forthcoming EU-China delegation meetings, and we look forward to strengthening the relationship between the Chinese government, the European parliament and the European Commission on these issues.