No Bear Left Behind: Vietnamese nationals lead race to end bear bile farming

20 May 2022

How does one person change the hearts and minds of an entire nation?

This was the question on Jill Robinson’s mind after she first stepped foot onto a bear bile farm and vowed to do all she could to end the cruel industry.

Jill explains, “I didn’t know how to start tackling such a huge, ingrained, and - at the time - legal industry, especially as a foreigner.” 

Respect in Action

Jill soon realised that “the only way to end this terrible trade was to work with the people and authorities of the countries where bear bile farming occurred.”

And so began Jill’s journey to empty every bear bile cage in Vietnam “respectfully, cooperatively, empathically, and without judgement.”

Thinking globally, acting locally

And now, almost 25 years after founding Animals Asia, the charity has gained the respect of communities, bear bile farmers and authorities alike through their collaborative and solution-focused approach.

“We are heavily invested in developing the capacity of our Vietnamese team.” Heidi Quine, Bear and Vet Department Director at our Tam Dao sanctuary explains. 

“They have the unrivalled ability to influence their communities and in turn their society, to create far-reaching and long-lasting change for animals.”

Investing in a kinder future

Animals Asia’s second sanctuary in Bach Ma National Park will be staffed solely by Vietnamese nationals. For the last few years our teams have been training Vietnamese veterinarians, bear carers and managers in all aspects of bear care and sanctuary management.

“I’m so excited to head up a team of Vietnamese staff who have been taught by the very best at Animals Asia,” Thuy, Bach Ma’s new Sanctuary Manager said.

“True, long-lasting change for animals can only happen once people’s hearts and minds are changed.” she continued. “I am so proud to be leading the next generation of animal ambassadors in my country as we end bear bile farming forever.”

Read more:

The Vietnamese vets caring for Vietnam’s last bile bears

Meet Animals Asia’s new sanctuary Bear Team Manager