Dr. Goodall Interview for World Animal Day

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For World Animal Day, we celebrate our kinship with and the diversity, beauty and threats to animals large and small. In a recent podcast conversation with Philip Lymbery of Compassion in World Farming, Jane was able to recount the major revelations of her life, her love and compassion for other animals, as well as her and JGI’s commitment to improving animal welfare and current issues with factory farming. Jane and Philip discussed her decision to stop eating meat and the need for UN action on food and farming. The importance of looking at the big picture while acting locally is central to Jane and JGI’s philosophy, and on this day, it is up to each of us to heed Jane’s message to take action on behalf of the rest of the animal kingdom.

Top Jane quotes from ‘The Big Table with Philip Lymbery’ 

I think in the womb. I was born loving all animals. In my childhood, I hear from my mother that I took worms to bed with me. But I had a supportive mother, so instead of getting angry because of course there was earth all over my nice bed, she just said ‘Jane they need the earth or they’ll die’. So we took them back into the garden and she supported this love.”

“So, if you think about that, isn’t that the making of a little scientist, the curiosity, asking questions, not getting the right answer, deciding to find out for yourself, making a mistake, not giving up and learning patience. And a different mother might have crushed that early scientific curiosity, so, that moment with the hen was really, really pivotal in my life I think.”

And it really was thought by science back then that the difference between us and other animals was the difference of kind, probably triggered in a way by religion I suspect, some religions. I don’t know, but anyway, it was devastating. But I’d had this teacher when I was a child who taught me that in this respect these erudite professors were definitely wrong and that teacher was my dog, Rusty.”

We also had a session on conditions in some captive situations, secretly filmed footage of the pre-training of circus entertainment chimps. Little infants being beaten and medical research labs. Our closest relatives in 5ft by 5ft cages and I went to that conference as a scientist, I built up a research station, my life was better than anything I could have dreamed of. I had time to be in the rainforest and with the chimps, who by then I knew so, so well. They were almost like, it wasn’t family, I can’t describe it, but very close and I left as an activist. I didn’t make a conscious decision, I just knew I had to do something.

To learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute’ #IEatMeatless campaign, click here.


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Associate Director of Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is currently a Master's of Science Candidate for Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including nearly 10 years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking programs, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.