It's this time of the year again: everyone I know at uni has jetted off on wonderful journeys of self-discovery, whether helping indigenous communities in the Brazilian rainforest or spending three months hitchhiking the Silk Road. Even though I can't help but turn my nose up at expeditions like this, when I got asked to come to China to teach for three weeks, with all expenses paid (and yes, I do mean flights), I couldn't say no.
In just a few months, Orange Planet Pictures will release a film to reveal the life of a person we believe to be of great significance in 21st Century animal welfare. 'To The Moon and Back' summates the life of Jill Robinson who has worked within China and Vietnam to bring an end to the unimaginable horrors of bear bile farming...
Forget the stereotype that Asian kids as shy and reserved. I was surprised myself at the level of enthusiastic participation from across the classroom: whilst I was expecting a few outgoing students to speak up for their friends, the majority of the cohort had raised a question, and even two or three at times.
China's belligerence is making it look increasingly like the Old Testament warrior Goliath, not only in its size and power, but in its attitude to the rest of the world. But there the parallel ends, because among the international community - governments, corporations, international institutions - no David has yet appeared. On the contrary, the Goliath that is China today is holding everyone else to ransom.
The world is at a tipping point--closer than ever before to ending the misery of animals used in toxicity tests for cosmetics and their ingredients. After years of pressure from animal protection groups, caring consumers and ethical retailers across the globe, cosmetics cruelty has been fully or partially banned by law in 33 countries, home to 1.7 billion consumers, with at least 10 more countries lining up to do the same.