As many of you know, we had a special VIP guest on site in Chengdu at the end of May – the amazing actress Lesley Nicol who plays the wonderfully popular cook, Mrs Patmore, in Downton Abbey, and her super lovely husband Da'aboth. Lesley's visit comes shortly after fellow Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan was on site, also showing his support for the bears.
The furor over bear farming in China continues to grow - with amazing people here inventing ever more creative ways to get the message out.
Since writing a blog on this in March, nothing can describe the atmosphere of the kids and staff who are 101% on side.
Josef (Sepp) Haüsl is a talented, passionate and incredibly generous photographer who, together with his partner Monika, has visited our sanctuaries in China and Vietnam capturing the most stunning images of our bears.
In amongst the chaos of the bear rescue in China, our Education team were also busy in Chengdu town celebrating Earth Day by spreading the word of bear farming and bringing in new young supporters of our work. Cooperating with the biggest Book Mall in Chengdu, Education Officer Jacky and team set up a display of children's drawings showing the grim reality of bile farming- and even "moved" our education room from the sanctuary to show the audience Caesar's full metal jacket, and Franzi's tiny crush cage.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Jasmine reports that a fantastic exhibition of art against bear bile farming is displayed in the subway station (MTR) at Sheung Wan.
A short but exciting blog following our China team's recent visit to a large and influential medical conference in Shanghai.
It’s just over a week since another devastating earthquake hit the province of Sichuan. Less than 100 miles away in Chengdu, our sanctuary rooms shook and it was inconceivable to think that villages around Ya'an at the epicentre were being devastated for the second time in under five years.
That dark, dirty room, stinking of faeces and infection, and you all peering grimly into the gloom from your "coffin" cages. I remember my chest tightening with fear coming so close to such large and intimidating bears, but then recoiling in horror, a lightning bolt of shock to my heart, witnessing animals so clearly in pain.
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.