As a galaxy of global superstars, lead by comedian Ricky Gervais, pop star Mýa, actors Dame Judi Dench, Olivia Newton John and Tzi Ma, and renowned conservationist Dame Jane Goodall, have come together to record an impassioned video calling for a reset of humanity’s relationship with nature in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and its zoonotic origins, two baby bears have attempted to steal the limelight.
In mid-July, as the celebrities recorded their video messages, Animals Asia rescued two three-month-old moon bear cubs that had been illegally trapped and put on sale on the black market, and are now taking care of them at the NGO’s sanctuary in Tam Dao, Vietnam.
“If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s the power of leaving nature alone – and that The Only Cure is Kindness”, said British comedian Ricky Gervais. “We’ve got so much to learn from animals and nature – and there is so much we can do to help. Animals Asia are actively harnessing that kindness to end bear-bile farming, rescuing bears and taking care of them. Let’s be kinder to nature, and kinder and more forgiving to each other too”.
The actors, musicians and conservationists came together – virtually – to raise awareness of the plight of the Asiatic black bear, or ‘moon bear,’ and the urgent need to end the practice of bear bile farming – where bears are held in tiny cages so that their bile can be extracted for use in traditional medicine. NGO Animals Asia, which created the video to mark Moon Bear Day on August 8th, aims to rescue 500 bears currently in bear bile farms in Vietnam by 2022, so they can live out their lives in a sanctuary with world class care.. To date, Animals Asia has rescued 634 bears, and has agreement with Vietnamese authorities to completely end bear bile farming in Vietnam by 2022.
The video, featuring Ricky Gervais, Jane Goodall, Mulan star Tzi Ma, Dame Judi Dench, Downton Abbey stars Peter Egan and Lesley Nicol, Guns’n’Roses rockers Slash and Matt Sorum, and actors Dame Olivia Newton John AC DBE, Virginia McKenna OBE, Joanna Lumley OBE, James Cromwell, Alicia Silverstone, Louis Hofmann, Daniel Gillies, Celina Jade, Maggie Q, Dustin Nguyen, Kristin Bauer, Michelle Forbes, Tara Buck, poet Benjamin Zephaniah, Vietnamese TV Presenter Minh Trang Nguyen, musician Rick Wakeman and singers Han Geng and Mýa, highlights the mistreatment animals as a root cause of pandemics such as the Covid19 crisis, in response “The Only Cure is Kindness”. Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who doesn’t appear in the video, is also spreading the message, appearing on social media wearing a t-shirt bearing the “The Only Cure is Kindness” message.