Some of the notes in the weekly reports from China and Vietnam bear sanctuaries have me in stitches. This week in China they tried some new enrichment food in the form of yummy orange pancakes — and here was one of the results from House 2 as described by Bear Manager Sally:
Just recently and just down the road from our bear sanctuary in Chengdu, rescue centre staff from Qi Meng Shelter and Home of Love intercepted a truckload of around 800 dogs bound for the live-animal markets of the south. Animals Asia staff then began visiting both shelters, which are doing incredible work releasing the dogs from the cages, separating them in terms of gender, injury and disease and working around the clock to save as many lives as possible.
What a lovely day it was - celebrating Dr Dog's 20th Anniversary and our four-legged heroes in the community who received their Devotion Awards.
This year at Animals Asia, we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary of Dr Dog. The programme is still serving the Hong Hong community through our caring doctors with wet noses.
As if we didn't know already about the amazing power of therapy from our Dr Dogs in Hong Kong, it's now been proven in a study that these remarkable canine consultants are helping the social behaviour of children with autism.
Following on from my last blog, we now have the results of a poll on dog and cat eating that we ran on our World Animal Day China-wide photo contest website (Tencent microblog). While we're guessing that most of the respondents are cat and dog lovers, it's heartening to see a shift in attitudes, particularly among those who had previously eaten dog and cat meat.
Since 2006 we’ve proudly been celebrating World Animal Day in Hong Kong and mainland China — and each year sees a massive growth in the number of people who are passionately relaying the theme that dogs and cats are our friends, not food.
As a bemused Ki looked on from the top of the climbing frame, Prince played the fool below. This rather, ahem, cumbersome bear lounged around on the swing showing off to his lady friend above, until the rope could stand it no more and broke with a loud snap, sending Prince and the swing sprawling to the ground.
Turning the blog over to our UK Director Gill Maltby today, with masses and masses of congratulations for the most amazing feat that she and the team achieved the other weekend in a gruelling - and very wet - mountain trek to the summit of Snowdon.
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently…READ MORE
Jill Robinson MBE
Jill heads Animals Asia’s team of over 300 enthusiastic staff. She divides her time between mainland China, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and travels frequently around the world to give presentations at conferences and speak at fundraising events.
A hands-on leader, Jill is involved in all major decision-making. She works with the vet and bear teams during rescues and health checks and advises closely on construction projects. She visits dog and cat markets and zoos and safari parks throughout China to document the abuse of animals and over the years has made countless visits to hospitals and homes for the elderly with her own and Animals Asia’s animal-therapy dogs.
She writes her own blog, her own speeches and presentations, is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines and a frequent guest on radio and TV shows. She has also co-written a children’s book about moon bears and co-written a number of scientific papers with Animals Asia’s vet teams.
Born in the UK, Jill 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, she decided to introduce the concept of “animal welfare through people welfare” and founded Dr Dog in Hong Kong in 1991 – the first animal-therapy programme in Asia.
Jill founded Animals Asia in 1998 – five years after an encounter with a caged bear on a farm in southern China changed her life forever. Learning that bear bile could be replaced by herbs, she vowed to put an end to bear bile farming. Since then, Animals Asia has rescued over 530 bears in China and Vietnam.
In 2010, both Animals Asia’s China and Vietnam rescue centres were awarded the Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence and in 2014 they were accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries – the only sanctuaries in China and Vietnam to have received this honour.
Jill is a Council Member of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) Herbal Committee and her outstanding contribution to animal welfare has been recognised with a number of awards. In 1995, she won the “Reader’s Digest” Hero for Today award. In 1998, she was made an MBE by Queen Elizabeth of England. In 2008, she was named “Outstanding Earth Champion” in Hong Kong and was appointed World Animal Day Ambassador for Asia. In 2010, she was one of 12 recognised foreigners given the “You Bring Charm to China” award.
Jill received an honorary doctorate in veterinary science from the University of Zurich, Switzerland in 2012, and an honorary law degree from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China in 2014.
She shares her home in Hong Kong with her family of rescued dogs, cats and a tortoise.