Bo Ai Centre was one of two animal welfare groups in China to become the first to receive global recognition for their work, at an animal welfare conference which took place in May 2011 in Orlando.
It is also the first time that the Animal Care Expo, organized by the US-based Humane Society International (HSI), has awarded field workers from the Chinese mainland in its 20-year history.
Our founder, Du, was nominated for her "outstanding achievement" in fighting animal cruelty among the rural populace in her city, Guangyuan.
The other Chinese activist to win an award was Xiao Bing, from Xiamen in China's southeastern province of Fujian. He was awarded with the title of "humane educator" for spreading the idea of animal protection to primary and middle-school students.
Both categories were newly introduced by HSI to honour groups and individuals who have worked in communities where support for and understanding of animal rights are sometimes scarce.
"The idea is to recognize the work of animal protection groups and individuals in China,” said HSI China policy specialist Peter Li, who proposed the new categories for 2011’s Animal Care Expo awards. "China’s success in animal protection will be of global significance,” he said. "If China does well, that’ll set examples for many countries that look to China for its development mode. China should show the developing countries that development is more than economic growth but a balanced social transform."
The Animal Care Expo has traditionally given out titles such as "Lifetime Achievement in Animal Protection" and "Animal Advocate." Up to now, no Chinese have received either.
Another criterion for the awards is government relationship, Li said. Du and the other award winner have worked with the local authorities to advance animal welfare in their communities, an approach that HSI prefers for its China strategy to any more confrontational modes.
"Animal welfare is not a Western notion," he said. "People throughout the world can share the same connections with animals, and we want to nourish this notion in China and everywhere in the world."
Bo Ai Animal Protection Centre Of Guangyuan