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For Immediate Release: 12/06/10

Bear Rescuer Receives Prestigious Honor

International Award for Animal Sanctuary Excellence Presented to Jill Robinson MBE, Animals Asia Foundation

CHENGDU, China – The 2010 Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence was awarded today to Jill Robinson MBE, founder and chief executive officer of the Animals Asia Foundation and Animals Asia’s Moon Bear Rescue Centres in China and Vietnam, by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).

Jill Robinson

The award was presented by Adam Roberts, GFAS president and executive vice president of Born Free USA.

“Ms. Robinson and Animals Asia’s Moon Bear Rescue Centres exemplify the essence of the GFAS Carole Noon Award and serves as a model of effectiveness and commitment to the highest level of humane standards,” Roberts said.

“Ms. Robinson took on the overwhelming challenge of ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming in China and in Vietnam 18 years ago,” said Dr. Kati Loeffler, who nominated Robinson for the award. “Her courage, vision, tireless efforts, devotion to each animal, unflagging commitment and insistence on the highest standards for the lifelong care of the animals stand as monuments to every animal sanctuary in the world.”

Bear bile farming and consumption in Asia is a complicated issue that entangles culture and tradition, a lucrative industry, an illegal international wildlife trade, a lack of laws protecting animals, wildlife conservation and welfare, and ethics.

To address this, Animals Asia implements strategies that include public education; international campaigning; collaboration with the traditional Chinese medicine community; government units, communities and scientists; and the establishment of bear sanctuaries in Sichuan, China (2000), and in Tam Dao, Vietnam (2007), for bears rescued from bile farms.

To date, AAF has rescued 350 bears, with expectations for more. Each bear rescued by Animals Asia has found the best possible home for the remainder of her or his life.

The Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence is given annually to a sanctuary or individual who embodies and puts into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication and excellence in animal care. It memorializes Dr. Carole Noon, who exemplified these traits with an innovative spirit, creating solutions to overwhelming challenges, a deep knowledge of those entrusted to the care of the sanctuary, and a dedication to animals and a determination to succeed that manifested in a commitment to ensure humane and responsible care for the lifetime of each of the sanctuary residents.

“It is fitting that Jill Robinson receives this award,” said Patty Finch, executive director of GFAS, “for Jill has consistently demonstrated those same traits in her work at Animals Asia Foundation. These two women are heroic, as demonstrated in their determination to provide sanctuary, despite what others saw as overwhelming odds, and in their ability to work with the governments of their countries to secure a safe haven for the animals they rescued from horrific conditions.”

A $5,000 donation accompanied the award, underwritten this year by the Pettus Crowe Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, Born Free USA and the American Anti-Vivisection Society.

For more information about the award, e-mail Adam Roberts.

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) was formed in 2007 by nationally and globally recognized leaders in the animal protection field for the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries in the United States and abroad. GFAS has created a rigorous accreditation process to identify rescue facilities/sanctuaries that are providing animals the highest standards of care, conducting a thorough evaluation of sanctuary structure and governance, finances, community outreach, education, staffing, physical facilities, advocacy, security/safety, the veterinary medical program and specific animal care standards. GFAS is the first animal sanctuary accrediting organization to take on this task at an international level. GFAS also educates the public on the causes and conditions of displaced animals and solutions, and the compelling need to actively support accredited sanctuaries.

For more information on GFAS, visit www.sanctuaryfederation.org. Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and all contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

About Animals Asia Foundation

Animals Asia Foundation was founded by Jill Robinson MBE in 1998 and is devoted to the welfare of wild, domesticated and endangered species across the region. Animals Asia is an Asia-based government-registered organization with headquarters in Hong Kong and offices in the United Kingdom, United States Germany, Italy and Australia, and the Moon Bear Rescue Centres in China and Vietnam. It has more than 250 staff worldwide. Through co-operating with government partners and establishing programs with local communities, it is working to end cruelty for animals in Asia.

AAF’s flagship campaign is the Moon Bear Rescue, aimed at bringing the barbaric practice of bear farming and the bile trade to an end. It has signed agreements with both the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to rescue 700 bears from the torture of bile farms, and bring them to sanctuaries to live out their lives in peace and safety.

The foundation’s companion animal campaign, “Friends ... or Food?” focuses on finding solutions to end cat and dog eating in Asia, through the pioneering “Dr. Dog and Professor Paws” programs. Through Project Asia, AAF raises awareness of cruel practices and mistreatment of animals used in public entertainment and traditional medicine.

For more information about Animals Asia Foundation, visit www.animalsasia.org.

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