University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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10th Anniversary Public Lecture: Jill Robinson, Founder and CEO of Animals Asia Foundation

14 November 2014 (19:00-20:00)

About the talk

Ending Bear Bile Farming in China: a solution-based approach

There is growing global concern associated with the escalating challenge of addressing animal exploitation and abuse. One such example is bear farming where, across Asia, up to 20,000 endangered bears are cruelly caged and farmed for their bile, suffering surgical mutilation and other physical and psychological consequences, despite the herbal and synthetic alternatives that exist. 

Since 1994 Animals Asia (and its team members) has rescued over 400 bears from the notorious 'bile farms' of China and Vietnam. Bears rescued are mainly Asiatic black bears (Ursus Thibetanus), with the additional rescue of a number of brown bears (Ursus Arctos) and sun bears (Ursus Malayanus).

Throughout this time, Animals Asia’s strategy has also taken a multi-faceted approach encompassing five key components - reducing demand, education and raising public awareness, political negotiation and policy change, monitoring trade, and direct rescue of caged bears in to our sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. The bears vary in age from two-month-old cubs, to those who have been held captive on farms for up to 30 years. 

In April 2014, Animals Asia embarked on an unprecedented project to illustrate a solution-based strategy, with the intended outcome that ending bear farming can be achieved where the needs of farmers, bears and the government can be addressed.

With approximately 70 bear farms containing anything up to 17,000 bears across China, Animals Asia has embarked on a collaboration with a bear bile farmer in Nanning, Guangxi Province to convert the facility to a sanctuary. This collaboration will ultimately demonstrate a realistic and convincing model to show that it is possible to work together with the industry to end bear bile farming in a solution based approach.

About the speaker

Jill Robinson MBE, h.c. has been a pioneer of animal welfare in Asia since 1985 and is widely recognised as the world’s leading expert on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993.

In 1998, she founded Animals Asia, an organisation that is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam by promoting compassion and respect for all animals, and working to bring about long-term change. From starting Animals Asia out of her front room, Jill has built the organisation into a respected international NGO with over 300 staff, an annual turnover of more than US$9 million, award-winning bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam (with 400 rescued bears), headquarters in Hong Kong, and offices in Australia, China, Germany, Italy, the UK, US and Vietnam.

Among other awards, Jill has an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich, is Asia World Animal Day Ambassador, Council Member World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies Herbal Committee, and Member of the USA Society of Woman Geographers. In 1998, Jill was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth, and in 2010 awarded "You Bring Charm to China" along with 12 prominent foreign people who have enriched life in China.