Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Events to Help End Bear Bile Trade

It’s been two years since Animals Asia Founder and Executive Director Jill Robinson last visited New York City. The United Kingdom native is usually based in China, where she leads her organization’s efforts in advocating for and rescuing Moon bears and other suffering animals in Asia. This month, she returns to the States to help close down the U.S. side of the international bear bile trade.

In 1993, Robinson broke away from a tour group in China and witnessed Asiatic black bears (also known as Moon bears) being farmed for their bile. The bold and sentient beings are incarcerated in tiny wire cages with rusting metal catheters implanted through crude holes cut into their abdomen walls and into their gall bladders so that their bile can be extracted and used in folk medicine to cure ailments ranging from headaches to hemorrhoids. Bear bile is also used in shampoos, wines, and sodas. Sadly, the bears suffer greatly for these medicinals. Their wounds are deliberately left open, leaving the bears subject to bacterial infection and disease. Robinson responded to what she saw with action and began her work building relationships and negotiating with government departments to bring an end to this cruel practice.

Founded in 1998, Animals Asia has since rescued 361 bears and continues to work to end their plight. The saved Moon bears come to live out the rest of their lives in the peaceful Moon Bear Rescue sanctuaries located in China and Vietnam.

In addition to its shelters, Animals Asia now has offices in China, Australia, Germany, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S.A. Animals Asia also promotes two other campaigns. One campaign, called Cat and Dog Welfare, advocates embracing cats and dogs as friends, not food, as they are currently raised in large numbers to be consumed in countries like China, Vietnam and Korea, similarly to how Americans raise chickens, cows, and pigs. Animals Asia's other campaign, Action against Cruelty, seeks to end circus-style performances involving wild animals in zoos and safari parks.

As part of her North American road show, Robinson will be making two appearances in New York City this August. On Friday, August 19, she will give a special presentation at Jivamuktea CafĂ©, part of the Jivamukti Yoga School. The event will be emceed by Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute, who was deemed a “vegan superstar…” by This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required.

On Sunday, August 21, Robinson will join supporters for an intimate reception at the Kitano Hotel. The event will feature a presentation, talk by Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, light vegan dinner, and silent auction. Rosenthal is the sponsor of AB 6291, the New York bill aimed at closing the bear bile trade in the state. The bill was passed through state legislature last month and is currently awaiting the governor’s signature. It represents a major step forward in closing down the U.S. side of the international bear bile trade. Rosenthal was a great force in its passage and will be honored at the Kitano hotel event. Tickets to “An Intimate Reception with Jill Robinson” are available for $75 by calling (415) 677-9601 or click here to order online. All proceeds will benefit Animals Asia’s work in Asia and throughout the world.

For more information or to find out how you can help stop the bear bile trade, visit Animals Asia.

To learn how to recognize products containing bear bile, visit the New England Anti-Vivisection Society.

Photos courtesy of Animals Asia.

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