Animals Asia Bear Sanctuaries Are The First In China And Vietnam To Receive Accreditation From Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

(Washington DC) – The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries and wildlife rescue centers, is pleased to announce that Animals Asia’s bear sanctuaries in Chengdu, China and Tam Dao, Vietnam have achieved GFAS Accreditation as of August 21, 2014. They are the first organizations in their respective countries to be accredited by GFAS.

The accreditation signifies that both sanctuaries meet GFAS’ rigorous standards, as confirmed by site visits, for the definition of a true sanctuary and humane and responsible care of animals. Both sanctuaries also demonstrate excellence in areas of safety and security, veterinary care, governance, and financial and other organizational sustainability. The accreditation status provides a clear and trusted means for the public, donors, and government agencies to recognize the China Bear Rescue Centre and Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre as outstanding sanctuaries.

“Animals Asia’s sanctuaries in Chengdu and Tam Dao are exemplars of sanctuary care and management,” said Jackie Bennett, GFAS’ Deputy Director, Great Apes and Regional Accreditation. “So many of the bears that arrive at these sanctuaries have suffered great physical and emotional trauma, requiring specialized care and a lengthy rehabilitation process. Everyone involved in their care is committed to providing the bears with the best possible life. We also commend Animals Asia’s strong commitment to putting an end to bear bile farming through its powerful public awareness campaigns and its outreach to government authorities and the traditional medicine community.”

Animals Asia’s bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam not only rehabilitate and care for bears rescued from the bear bile industry – their team also gathers vital evidence of the effects of bile extraction. Both sanctuaries provide comfortable dens and semi-natural enclosures where bears are able to recover in safety and spend the remaining years of their lives in the company of other bears. Over 400 farmed bears have been received into their care – mostly Asiatic black bears, but also brown bears and Malayan sun bears.

The successful rehabilitation of bears as well as their ongoing care involves embracing an integrated approach. The bears’ behavior and well-being are closely monitored by bear and vet teams through regular health checks and daily observations. Both centres have comprehensive enrichment and management programs in place. This not only ensures the bears receive the best care possible, but also enables staff to gather vital scientific evidence on the physical and psychological effects of bile extraction.

Reports and papers published by the teams have helped to raise the profile of the moon bear within the scientific community and to increase public awareness of the terrible cruelty involved in the bear bile farming industry. The sanctuaries also provide direct employment for over 250 Chinese and Vietnamese people in areas such as bear care, horticulture, food preparation and security. Several hundred local people are employed indirectly through services and construction.

“At our Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre we were delighted to receive the news that we have been awarded Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries accreditation,” said Annemarie Weegenaar, Vet and Bear Team Director Vietnam. “The accreditation team has been incredibly helpful taking us through the process, step by step. It has been an extremely useful exercise involving looking at our protocols and processes in detail and identifying areas where we can continue to improve. We are always looking at improvement at the sanctuaries to ensure the best possible care is provided to our bears and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries has truly helped us with that. The process could have not been completed without the tremendous help of all our staff at the sanctuary, ensuring all protocols are followed and the sanctuary is maintained to the highest standard.”

Vet & Bear Team Director China, Nic Field added, “The Chengdu Bear Rescue Centre team are thrilled to learn that we have achieved accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. As a sanctuary and an organisation we have always taken pride in aspiring to the highest standards of care for the bears. I would like to extend my grateful thanks to Jackie Bennett at GFAS for guiding us through this process, which has been a learning experience too for all concerned. I also want to say a huge thank you to all the sanctuary team. I simply cannot praise them enough for working together as a team, not only for the GFAS accreditation, but every single day to make the sanctuary what it is today. They constantly strive to further develop procedures, practices, facilities and the care of the bears.” 

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. While the Board includes those in top leadership at Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the ASPCA, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all Board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries.

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About Animals Asia

Animals Asia is devoted to ending the barbaric practice of bear bile farming and improving the welfare of animals in China and Vietnam. We promote compassion and respect for all animals and work to bring about long-term change.

Founded in 1998, the Animals Asia team has been rescuing moon bears since 1994 and is the only organisation with a bear sanctuary in China. Our founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE, h.c., is widely recognised as the world’s leading expert on the cruel bear bile industry, having campaigned against it since 1993. Animals Asia has rescued over 400 bears.

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