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Christmas wishes from Animals Asia

With so much violence and sadness in the world, I think the whole Animals Asia team is thankful that we can look at our rescued bears with gratitude for always making us smile through even the darkest days.

Their forgiveness of the past and their relentless enthusiasm in enjoying every second of their new lives at our sanctuaries in China and Vietnam gives us confidence and inspiration to continue fighting until the very last farm has closed. Certainly the support of you and so many people across the world shows that our "End Bear Bile Farming" campaign is on the right track, and that our strategy, patience and determination are finally winning through.

While we continue to fight the eviction in Vietnam, this month we have heard in China that, because of the growing disgust of the public everywhere, the subject of bear farming is one of the "top 10 hot issues" of 2012. Every scene of a bear farm showing the caged and mutilated victims, and every contrasting image of our rescued bears playing in joyous groups within their grassy enclosures, brings home to the people of China and Vietnam how cruel and shameful the industry really is.

This is the time to be brave and to recognise that we are now the enemy of a great many people who profit from the cruel exploitation of this endangered species, and to recognise too that it is because we are the enemy that we now have the chance to win. Thank you for patiently staying with us through good times and bad, and for helping us to attack the industry even more relentlessly as we face a year which will see us spending even more time, more funds, and more energy in bringing bear farming to its knees.

Surprisingly, in between the fighting, we've had some fun too – and no more than in recent days giving the bears their annual Christmas treat and laying out mince pies in the enclosures for them all to enjoy. It has to be said that some are a little more enthusiastic than others and hoover down as many as they can find, without considering that they're eating more than their fair share.

Consequently we see our beautiful bear Bottom tucking in to her third treat in Chengdu in a video kindly taken by Vet Monica's cousins Raelee and Andy and, in the pictures that follow in Vietnam, greedy Moggie victoriously scoffing no less than five! Watch the video here.

One memorable picture has to be our little macaque Xiao Xiong Xiong in China who literally squealed in delight as he found and unwrapped the box and then quickly stuffed the whole pie into rapidly bulging cheeks, as his more dominant enclosure mate, John, came over to check what he'd found.

After finishing his treat, Xiao Xiong Xiong then watched a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer cartoon (shown by Sofie from her iPad) while adult John apparently enjoyed a documentary about Japanese macaques as his enrichment (grin).

Back in Vietnam there was little cub Joey ripping open both his and cub Ricky's Christmas boxes and gleefully chowing down on all their contents while Ricky looked on. Watch the video here.

And in China our two latest rescued juvenile bears Rudolph and Holly now in straw-lined quarantine cages and enjoying their first ever mince pies being offered by Tao, Monica and Nic.

So with bear hugs, blessings and endless thanks to you all as we come to the end of another year. My thanks not only to you but to our tireless, passionate and ever incredible staff across the globe who make me prouder and more confident each day that this is a war we will win. Together, we wish you all a beary merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and very peaceful New Year.

China sanctuary

Vietnam sanctuary

Hong Kong headquarters

Team UK - Kay, Sue, Gill and Adam, Fiona, Nicky, and sitting, Lara and Emily

Team USA - Maya, Alice, Morgan, Jada, Ray/Rainbow (Julie and Sadie)

Team Germany - Sunila, Christa, Christine

Team Italy - Irene, Guilia and Antonello

Team Australia - who cheated a little by using the pic from when we were all together for the roadshow in June! Kerri, Anne, Jude, Leanne and me.

China Cat and Dog Welfare team - Irene, Gina, Suki, Jessica, Rachel, Jenny, Yan, Carrot, Cherry

The last image is a festive but meaningful card created by Star in Chengdu who will sadly be leaving us at the end of the year, but who has used her indescribable talent to say in pictures what we all wish for 2013.

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