Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) is a Hong Kong-based charity that seeks to end cruelty to animals in Asia.
The AAF was founded in 1998 by Jill Robinson, who felt compelled to create the organisation after learning of the plight of the Asiatic Black Bear known as the âMoon Bearâ because of the yellow crescent on its chest. Moon Bears are farmed throughout Asia for their bile, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. The organization raises awareness of the inhumane methods used in bear bile farming, which involve bears living up to 25 years in small cages, with metal catheters inserted into their abdomens for bile extraction, or even open wounds through which the bile drips. The organization also works "to reduce the demand for bile in Asia by promoting affordable, effective and cruelty free alternatives."
The Foundation's headquarters is in Hong Kong with additional offices in mainland China, Germany, Australia, Italy, the United States and the United Kingdom. It also has moon bear sanctuaries in Vietnam and China.
In 2012, the organization expressed its concern when Guizhentang Pharmaceutical company, which keeps 470 bears to extract bile for traditional Chinese medicine, made a bid to go public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
In 2010, the organization released a report complaining about the treatment of wild animals in zoos in China. In response, the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development urged zoos and wildlife parks to stop serving wild animal products and holding wildlife performances, and planned to conduct inspections to determine whether the zoos were complying with animal welfare standards.
In February 2009, Animals Asia rescued a dozen malnourished, diseased Asiatic Black Bears from bile-harvesting farms in southwest China. The bears were given to Animals Asia under an agreement made in 2000 with the government to save sick bears from state and illegal farms. The animals went to the foundation's Moon Bear Rescue Center outside Chengdu, which has handled hundreds of bears since the agreement was signed.
- Bear bile
- Jill Robinson
- Free the Bears Fund
- Official website