I’ve just landed in beautiful Germany and I’m about to start on a whirlwind tour of four German cities, bringing to our supporters here news of our latest rescue. The appalling condition of many of the bears has made us more determined than ever to spread the word about the terrible trade in bile.
This week, I’ll be joining our lovely Christa, Chee-Meng and Christine at the roadshow in Germany – and of course there will be plenty to update our generous and kind-hearted German supporters with. They, like our other loyal supporters around the world, have stayed with us in faith and support since we began this “journey” eight years ago.
I’m leaving Chengdu today with a heavy heart and flying to Germany for presentations next week. It’s always sad to say goodbye to the bears and team – and this time is particularly hard. It’s been a tough few weeks for us all.
The poly-tunnels - our quarantine area - are fast becoming a place of smiles. Many of the bears are visibly changing from the skinny and suspicious - and often understandably aggressive - arrivals of just two weeks ago.
Just a quick update on the visit to the sanctuary by Madam Yang Baijin, the new Secretary General of the China Wildlife Conservation Association. Madam Yang – accompanied by Mr Li Qingwen, Vice Secretary General of the CWCA – flew from Beijing on Friday at our request to see for herself the appalling state in which the 28 bears arrived.
It’s now two weeks since our 28 bears escaped their hellish existence on a farm. Sadly, for 11 of those bears, escape meant a premature death and no chance to experience the freedom and love that we so much wanted to give them.
After my last depressing post, at least I can bring you some encouraging news about our brave “Watermelon”. Gradually over the past few days this handsome fellow has taught himself to stand!
Eleven of the 28 bears are now dead – every one of them a victim of the free-drip method of bile extraction, touted as humane by the farmers (and some officials), every one of them suffering indescribable pain for so, so long.
This has been a busy weekend away from the China sanctuary for our General Manager (and chief government negotiator) Toby, and me. We flew to Beijing to meet urgently with our central government partners, the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), a department directly under the State Forestry Administration.
The health checks continue and our fears mount that we may have to say goodbye to even more of the 28 bears that came home to us on Monday night. It's difficult to put into words how we're all feeling, but I guess I don't have to. I'm sure you already know.
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, she 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 visits hospitals and homes for the elderly with her own animal-therapy dog, Eddie, who was rescued from a meat market in China.
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 team.
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, Jill 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 of its kind 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 400 bears in China and Vietnam.
Jill is a Council Member of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) Herbal Committee and shares her home in Hong Kong with her family of three dogs and five cats.