A packed charity night in aid of Animals Asia in early October at Peatmoor’s Bombay Lounge restaurant heard how a charity is slowly changing the cultural landscape in China towards animals.
The evening was the first stop on a fundraising roadshow of Britain by Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson MBE, who with animal welfare director Dave Neale, talked about ‘Animal Welfare – an Asian Revolution.’
Not only is the charity managing to persuade local authorities to close down bear farms to try and stop the barbaric trade in bear bile, Jill and Chinese colleagues are working with the government to draft new animal welfare regulations.
But there’s a long way to go. Jill showed images of bears and dogs kept in the most horrific captivity and talked about the desperate race to save them. In contrast she had pictures of how the survivors when rescued from bear farms are given new lives in the Animals Asia sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.
Jill told Swindon Link, “through Sarah and Dave Chilvers, we have the most amazing support base in Swindon and I’m so glad to be able to give news about Zebedee, the bear the town has sponsored. He was kept in a cage and milked for bile for 14 years. Because all his teeth were destroyed gnawing away at the bars he has an engaging smile because his tongue drops out when he opens his mouth.
“The work of local support groups is so essential, in terms of raising awareness of animal welfare in China and raising money to give the majestic but very greedy bears a life after the sheer torture they endure inside the farms.
“We’re making progress in getting farms closed but there’s so much to do.”
Sarah said she was absolutely delighted Jill and Dave came to Swindon. “Their talks were both awful and heartening. They do amazing work saving bears and dogs from lives of misery.”
Jill presented Sarah and Dave with a framed picture of Zebedee.
The curry night raised £2,250 in addition to £6,641 from a dog walk in Lydiard Park in September.
Top, Zebedee in the Animals Asia sanctuary
Right, Jill and Dave with Sarah and Dave Chilvers, BBC Points West weather man Richard Angwin and Hanif Robbani of the Bombay Lounge
Below, Jill presents Sarah and Dave with a framed picture of Zebedee
Bottom, some of the people who attended the charity fundraiser at the Bombay Lounge