Our fabulous volunteer Annie Ditton has done it again and made our bears smile! Annie, who's over in Chengdu volunteering for the third time was recently joined by her two sisters and, together, they generously bought a watermelon each for the bears.
....And another fabulous pic by Annie, who took on the challenge of capturing our beautiful To Zhai's amazing smile. Many of you may remember that it was this smile that saved To Zhai's life when Irene, Carrot and I (together with kind volunteers Loka and Todd) rescued her from the horrible meat market in southern China.
Our annual summer camps just get better and better — and this year’s was particularly special as it had all attendees thinking “outside of the box” and brainstorming how bear farming can end.
The pictures and YouTube film can’t possibly replicate the evening featuring Bands for Bears in Sydney last week. Organised by the most incredible musician on the planet, Peter Northcote and his manager the lovely Tanti, the evening rocked for nearly five amazing hours. Twenty-six of Sydney’s most talented musicians joined together for a sell-out event highlighting the suffering of caged and farmed bears across Asia — and celebrating freedom for those lucky enough to have been rescued in China and Vietnam. These talented people put on a world-class show that you would normally see at places like Madison Square Garden — and the venue, Notes, just rocked.
It's always super to hear from staff who have left Animals Asia for pastures new — and to smile at the fond memories of life on site in China or Vietnam. Our former vet nurse, Hayley, recently read all about Rainbow's amazing "journey" in Hawaii on my blog and decided that she'd like to write something too. Obviously I jumped at the chance to feature this update and to send a big hello to Hayley from us all, and to say how much we miss you too.
Thanks to those of you asking how rescued meat-market dog To Zhai is doing today. I’m so very pleased to tell you that the answer is......... brilliant! A gorgeous lady much adored by all staff on site in Chengdu, and now "fostered" officially between vet Monica and I who share her in turn.
I don’t know where these past few weeks have gone, but back now in Chengdu with the bears I’m feeling that our mini-roadshow in the UK was a long, long time ago. Gill, Nicky, Lara and team pulled out all the stops as ever and the presentations there flew past in a haze of smiles and nostalgia as we met new friends and old who tirelessly and passionately help our campaigns.
When artist and all round thoroughly nice bloke Richard Symonds came out to Chengdu just a few weeks ago with equally lovely sculptor Suzie Marsh and her husband Doug, he told me that he couldn't wait to get started on helping the bears.
The Asia for Animals conference held from 10-14 June was a truly fabulous event that saw over 350 delegates from 25 countries across the world joining together for the first time in Chengdu, China, to address and create solutions for the problems faced by animals across the Asian continent.
Many of you will remember our amazing staff member, Rainbow, who left us exactly a year ago to pursue an MBA course in Hawaii and now has one more year to go. I asked if he'd mind sending an update as we've had several people enquiring how he is and wondering if he's enjoying his journey........
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.