China to lift requirement for cosmetics testing on animals

© Russell Shively |   dreamstime_xs_15698212


By Animals Asia



Animals Asia ( has welcomed news that China intends to end laws requiring cosmetics to be tested on animals.


Guidelines from the China Food and Drug Administration suggest animals testing will no longer be mandatory from June 2014. This will initially be applied to China-made products and eventually, it is anticipated, to imports.


Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:


“This is not the first time in recent weeks that we have talked of significant breakthroughs in terms of animal welfare in China. Young people are turning in greater numbers to animal welfare activism and they are being heard.


“This change has been long hoped for but few anticipated it happening quite so soon. In many ways this is a victory for all anti-testing campaigners. The people who persuaded Western governments to ban animal testing have caused a domino effect that has resonated with both the authorities and people of China resulting in this ground-breaking progress.


“The world has long talked of China being open for business – well now it’s open to discussion too. China is listening and it’s taking action.”


Past regulations meant that if international cosmetics companies wanted to market ranges in China they were forced to test on animals – a fact unlikely to go down well with customers elsewhere.


It’s hoped that while testing on animals has not been outlawed, the option now to create “cruelty free” brands will see increasingly aware consumers lured away from brands associated with animal testing.


Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson added:


“A changing China is the biggest story in international animal welfare activism today.  Just as regulations for testing cosmetics can become internationally standardised – so can concepts of animal welfare and conservation.


“Environmentally speaking China is more self-aware than it has ever been.  Young people, journalists, politicians, businessmen, China’s citizens – they are all pushing hard for change and there is much evidence to suggest they’re making headway.”


Photo: © Russell Shively / / A western cottontail living happily in the wild.



Vietnam: Animals Asia Bears saved from eviction!

Lotus II
Lotus II



The threat of eviction has been lifted for the 104 bears living at the Animals Asia Rescue Center in Vietnam!  Since October 5, 2012, the bears had been under threat of being forced to leave their rescue center, which would have meant extreme hardship for all the rescued bears.


Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued a communiqué stating that the rescue center will be maintained, and construction on the second phase of the project will continue.


The 104 rescued bears will be staying at their homes at the center, and the local staff will be keeping their jobs.


Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam Director, Animals Asia, expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister and his wish to continue working together with the government to end the practice of bile bear farming and to protect the bear species.


Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO, Animals Asia, commented, “We want to sincerely thank the tens of thousands of 
supporters from around the world who wrote letters, sent e-mails and 
signed petitions calling for the eviction to be stopped.”


Animals Asia runs a beautiful facility in Chengdu, China, for bears rescued from bile bears farms in China, and in recent years opened the Vietnam facility on 12 hectares (29 acres) of Tam Dao national Park to rehabilitate and provide a home for bears rescued from bile bear farms in Vietnam.  Bile bear farming is an extremely cruel practice, in which bears are kept in horrible conditions for many years, while their bile is extracted to be used as a form of medicine, even though many effective herbal and synthetic alternatives are available.


In China, 10,000 bears are still being held on bile bear farms, and around 2,400 in Vietnam.  Animals Asia works together with the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to secure the release of the bears, who must then undergo extensive rehabilitation and be provided sanctuary for life.


Congratulations to Animals Asia for this victory, and for the profoundly worthwhile work they do saving the bears!


Information was provided by the January 16, 2013 press release written by Stuart Lennon, Senior Communications Manager, Animals Asia.


Photo: Courtesy of Animals Asia


To visit the website of Animals Asia, click here.









Vietnam: 104 rescued bears under threat

Quang Thien bounds across the grass of Animals Asia’s sanctuary in Vietnam.

Authorities were able to confiscate her from a bile bear farm because she had not been microchipped, which is required by law.  Her front left paw is missing, so it’s likely that she was illegally trapped in the wild and then sold.  Her life at the sanctuary is a far cry from her existence in the tiny cage where she was kept imprisoned at the bile bear farm.  She loves being free to run and play with her bear friends. But the Sanctuary and her newly found happy life are now in danger.


104 bears rescued from bile bear farms and the wildlife trade, who were given sanctuary seven years ago, in 2005, at the Tam Dao national park in northern Vietnam, at a beautiful center run by Animals Asia, are now under threat of eviction by Vietnamese authorities.


You can help by writing a letter to the Prime Minister of Vietnam, asking him to intervene on behalf of the bears.  The link is below.


Maple first arrived at the sanctuary almost a year ago, in December 2011, after a long trip from a bile bear farm in South Vietnam. Her many years in a cage and a horrible diet had left her badly overweight, and she had infected teeth.  Still traumatized from her treatment at the bile bear farm, she cried non-stop.  When she was moved into a den at the sanctuary, and given lots of space to move around in, over time, she became calmer and stopped crying.  Now she’s gotten back into shape, has made friends, and is regaining her health and her enjoyment of life.


Animals Asia,  the Hong Kong based organization founded by Jill Robinson that has a reputation as one of the best-run wildlife centers anywhere in the world, expanded their operations from China to Vietnam in 2005, with the generous cooperation of the Vietnamese government, who provided 12 hectares (29 acres) of the Tam Dao national park to be used as a sanctuary for 200 rescued bears.


Animals Asia also worked with authorities to have the extraction of bile from bears declared illegal in Vietnam, which was a major step. Due to a loophole in the law, however, which allows bears to be kept on the farms as tourist attractions, the use of bears for bile, which is part of traditional Chinese medicine, still persists. (Many practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have also condemned the practice.) The process of extracting bile from bears is, in itself, extremely cruel, and means long-term suffering for the bears.


So far, in ongoing rescue operations, 104 bears like Maple and Quang Thien, have been rescued from Vietnamese bile bear farms and now live and play at the sanctuary.


Rescuing these bears has been an ongoing process, undertaken with the help of authorities, and it is only possible for bears to be confiscated if there is a place where they can go and be cared for.  So the closing of the bear sanctuary would also be a severe blow to future efforts to save the 4,000 bears still being kept on bear farms. Bears who have been on bile bear farms can be rehabilitated to enjoy a good quality of life, but they always require lifetime care and cannot be released back to the wild.


Luca arrived at the sanctuary in 2010, with a large group of rescued bears.  He suffered from repetitive head-swaying, which is a form of the kind of stereotypical movement that can be observed in animals in confinement, sometimes in zoos.  It’s a bit like PTSD in people.  Even after he was housed in a roomy den with two bear companions, the head-swaying didn’t stop.


Earlier this year, Luca was moved to a new enclosure where he found a new bear pal, a wrestling buddy, and now that he’s relaxed and at ease, the head-swaying is nearly all gone.


It’s important for all these bears, who’ve spent months or years in rehabilitation and who’ve begun to enjoy life again, that they be able to stay in the sanctuary that is their home, and it’s important for Vietnam to continue the humane course of action that they embarked on, of saving and protecting the bears. It is essential for any government to honor their commitments and to protect the wildlife of their country.


To speak up on behalf of the bears, please email the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung. To do this and to see a sample email, click here.


Photos:  Courtesy of Animals Asia