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EarthCare and the Greening of China
IVU News 2-97

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Animals have......
Feelings of happiness, sadness, pain and suffering
The need for love and concern
The need for protection
The right not to be abused
The right to live

 

EarthCare has gone from strength to strength under the enthusiastic leadership of Ng Wai Yee. An independent, non-profit-making non-governmental organisation founded in 1993, it currently networks with organisations in more than 30 countries to secure the most up to date scientific data. It has collaborated with the Chinese authorities on water recycling and reforestation schemes and on plans for Asia's first eco-village, which will focus on ecofriendly education, sustainable organic farming and research into alternatives to chemical pesticides and pharmaceuticals. A humane education centre is also being established with a library, organic vegetable garden and animal shelter where children from urban areas can be brought into direct contact with animals and nature so as to promote understanding and respect among youngsters who may never have seen a carrot growing in the ground, let alone an animal going about its daily business in natural surroundings.

An especially significant area of EarthCare's work concerns the promotion of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, both in China and abroad, enhancing both the status and the economic value of a highly developed medical system based on centuries of study and practice. To reinstate the reputation of a system which is not only kinder to the patient and to the environment than western allopathic medicine, but also often more efficacious, it must be freed from any association with elements of ignorance and cruelty such as the attribution of imaginary properties to substances such as rhino horn and bear bile which currently tend to discredit genuine Chinese medicine in the eyes of the world. To this end, EarthCare is collaborating with the Association of Chinese Medicine and Philosophy, the Chinese Government and the China Wildlife Conservation Association, with assistance from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, to eliminate the notorious bear farms in which thousands of bears are confined in tiny cages and subjected to primitive and intensely painful methods of bile extraction throughout their miserable lives.

The results have been encouraging: one farm has already closed and the government have promised that no more baby bears will be incarcerated and that bile production will be reduced by a third within three years with a view to eliminating the practice altogether as soon as possible. Meanwhile, with the help of the Environmental Investigation Agency, action has been taken in China and Hong Kong to clamp down on the illegal trade in rhino horn. Combating ignorance and superstition in this way will help not just the animals but the Chinese population as genuinely efficacious remedies are made available and the economy generally will benefit as a great and ancient system of medicine becomes more widely known and appreciated throughout the world.

EarthCare also believes that there is good scientific evidence that promoting vegetarianism could help China and the earth by saving environment and energy on a large scale as well as being nutritionally superior. A gala vegetarian dinner was held in Hong Kong in collaboration with the Care for Children Foundation to raise funds for handicapped children in China and to raise consciousness of the benefits of vegetarianism.

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