A Swindon couple have had a unique opportunity to see how a British woman in China is working with local animal lovers to stop the barbaric torture of Moon bears.
Sarah and Dave Chilvers, from Peatmoor, below, were featured in the September Link before making a 10 day trek along the Great Wall of China, to raise money for the Animals Asia Foundation which campaigns to eradicate the trade in bear bile in China.
Over 13,000 endangered Moon bears are being kept in inhumanely small cages and milked for their bile in excruciatingly painful and gruesome ways.
The bile is un-necessarily used in medical preparations as there are effective herbal or synthetic alternatives. As a result there is a surplus and it is added to cosmetic products like shampoo. A bear crush, pictured right
British animal lover Jill Robinson began the foundation in 1998 after a heartbreaking trip to a bear farm. She leads the campaign, with Chinese Government, approval, to close down bear farms and educate people about the cruelty to animals in their country.
Sarah and David were two of the very few westerners allowed to visit and be personally shown round the Chengdu bear sanctuary by Jill Robinson who lives there.
They returned inspired to work harder for Animals Asia. “Jill is the most amazing person; her dedication to animals without a voice is incredible,” said Dave. “The care the bears receive in the sanctuary is wonderful, but it was awful to hear of the conditions on the farms and the way they are tortured to extract bile.”
Dave and Sarah, pictured with Jill right, are hoping she can visit Swindon next year to talk about the foundation’s work.
In mid-October Jill and the Chengdu Sanctuary received heavy media coverage with features in the Daily Mail and a TV documentary on Animal Planet narrated by Stephen Fry.