Charity opens first shop in Weston

A CHARITY fighting to protect endangered animals across Asia has chosen Weston as the base for its first ever charity shop.

Animals Asia Foundation has opened its first store in West Street, and the town’s MP John Penrose officially opened it at a launch party on Friday.

The charity, formed in 1998, has campaigned to protect a variety of different animals across Asia including bears, dogs and cats.

Members have fought to end the Chinese and Vietnamese practice of farming endangered bears for their bile – a practice which has happened for thousands of years but has been superseded by advances in modern medicine.

Bears that are farmed for their bile can live in cages for up to 30 years and can develop infections and diseases.

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The charity, which has a devoted network of volunteers in Somerset, champions a number of other initiatives, such as changing attitudes towards companion animals such as cats and dogs, saving pets from fur and meat industries across Asia and ending abuse to performing animals in zoos and circuses.

Those volunteers have spent the past weeks sourcing materials and decorating the former RSPCA shop ahead of its launch.

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Mr Penrose opened it by cutting a ribbon with the charity’s UK director, Gill Maltby.

It will sell donated goods including clothing, furniture, electrical goods, DVDs and books.

Visitors to the shop will also be able to see Max, the collie cross who was banned from the RSPCA’s Waterloo Street shop in December, and who will be helping out staff at the new store.

Shop founder Denise Jacobs said: “I felt that in this economic climate a Charity Shop was the way to go. Also I see the shop as a good way to bring awareness to the customers of our charity and what we are about.”

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