Support within the European Parliament for an end to bear farming in Asia continues to grow with over 50 MEPs, representing 13 European countries, supporting a European Parliament seminar: “Bear farming, animal cruelty and the development of animal protection in China”.
It was early November and there she was sitting in the Hong Kong departure lounge by the gate for Hanoi. Virginia McKenna had just flown in overnight from London but looked fresh as a daisy and was raring to go. We were leaving for Vietnam where we were to meet up with Tuan our Vietnam Director and team, and join freelance journalist Simon Parry who was doing a story about the farmed bears.
How much I'll miss him – but how thrilled that he’s gone to his forever home in the UK. I am of course talking about our beautiful Tremor – a dog we rescued in May 2008 during the horrible, devastating earthquake of Chengdu. A dog who has been such a big part of the lives of all of our staff in China, and particularly Caroline, our vet nurse, and myself, who shared (and adored) him on site.
What a time we had – Dave (who co-presented with me at the evening shows), Gill, Nicky, Lara, Sue, Elaine and Fiona and our amazing support groups across the country - as our Roadshow swung into action this year.
Once again Irene, Jessica and Gina came up trumps with a superb World Animal Day event in a huge shopping precinct in Guangzhou, where people had gathered to celebrate sharing our lives with dogs and cats. About 20 of our gorgeous Dr Dogs turned up with their proud and glowing family and the time flashed by with barks and laughs reverberating around the hall.
True kindness shines when we hear about a selfless gesture by some friends of one of our ex-vet nurses Hayley, who were married in August of this year and asked that guests donate funds to the bears in lieu of wedding presents. Hayley (also looking gorgeous on the right in the photo) has written a little update about Gail and Tony’s special day – and it only leaves me to send a massive bear-sized thank you and hug from all in the team of Animals Asia to you both for being so incredibly kind to animals suffering so many miles away and to wish you both lifelong happiness and joy.
I'm currently in the middle of our UK Roadshow, so here's a post for our lovely UK supporters:
Every week, our vet and bear teams from both China and Vietnam send over reports of all the goings-on on site. Bears that are skittish in the spring, and enjoying the warm summer days, then eating more or sliding into winter dormancy and snoozing for days or even weeks in their dens.
It was good to see many old friends from Germany again and to meet such lovely new friends too. Faces glowing and so excited to catch up with all the development in China as they waited to greet Jasper and friends in house 2, and to be introduced to Oliver who was recently released into his new den and enclosure in House 10.
Tim Robinson, our PR manager for Australia and New Zealand, and 18 wonderful supporters from Australia, the UK and Hong Kong have just set off on Animals Asia's China Trek 2010. Click here to read Tim's fantastic blog on their adventures.
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.