China: Luping Zhang

I am a very stubborn person, and once I am committed to something, I persist. I do not think I am doing anything special. I only know I cannot afford to ignore the plight of so many living things.

— Luping Zhang

Zhang Luping started animal protection work in 1990. In 1997 she set up a science popularization center in Beijing and began to lobby for animal treatment and protection, as well as environmental protection for animals. In the course of her work, she has had to face considerable opposition, but has remained steadfast, despite continuing illness, and even at the cost of her property.

Zhang Luping was born in 1955 and joined the army in 1971. She also worked as a civil servant and editor of a press, in the real estate and food business, accumulating assets amounting to millions of yuan. In 1991, she had to have surgery for breast cancer, and it was then that she began her career with little animals. The animals gave her much love and happiness and she began to realize that there were large numbers of deserted animals in the major cities in China. She found it painful that people were so indifferent to this issue. She began to keep animals herself. In the past ten years, she has given up chances of going abroad, of expanding her prosperous business, and a comfortable city life, all to pursue her passion. Even though the city regulations were not conducive to her work, she persisted and has brought hundreds of animals to live in positive surroundings. In 1997, Zhang set up the Beijing Human and Animal Environmental Protection and Science Popularization Center. This is the only non-profit making animal protection organization in China, which combines animal protection advocacy and animal rescue and treatment work. Zhang’s dedication eventually resulted in her work being taken seriously, both by society and the government. The Center has so far helped about 1,000 abused or abandoned small animals, and has a staff of over 20 persons. During the Sars period, the Center accepted over 150 abandoned animals. Zhang believes that it is necessary to mobilize the public to participate in animal rescue work. For her problems of animal abuse and abandonment are closely related to the problems of modern development with its increasing anthropocentrism and selfishness. She has taken the lead in mobilizing large numbers of volunteers to combine animal rescue and treatment work with advocacy work.

Beijing Human and Animal Environmental Protection and Science Popularization Center