This article was originally published in March 2020.
Jane Goodall has been a friend to primates for decades. Her conservation work has inspired and moved people of countless generations, cultures and background. And through it all she's so often a voice of warmth and compassion in the face of senseless violence, cruelty and tragedy.
In a new video, Goodall directly addresses the people of China who finally seem to be coming up for air, literally and figuratively, after suffering through the world's first COVID-19 outbreak. And as one might expect, her video begins with a sympathetic and warm message of hope."It is a truly terrible time you are going through," Goodall begins. "And my heart is with all who are sick, all who have lost loved ones. I just hope and pray that the nightmare will soon be over."
But as any honest observer knows, the "nightmare" never had to become a reality. And that's where Goodall speaks some hard truths to the people of China, and those around the world, about animal rights. As Goodall explains, animals welfare isn't just a nice thing to do. Reforming our relationship with the animal kingdom is essential for our own survival. Most of us are familiar with the risks posed by global climate change, extinction and the destruction of natural habitats and wildlife.
But beyond our compassion, Goodall explains that there is a real risk to taking too much from the animals of the world, stating plainly: "Our too close relationship with animals in the markets, or when we use them for entertainment, has unleashed the terror and misery of new viruses. Viruses that exist within animals without harming them but mutate into other forms to infect us with diseases like Ebola, SARS, MERS and now, the Coronavirus."
Thank you Jane Goodall for showing that there's a way to be critical of practices in China (and around the globe) without being racist or xenophobic. As the coronavirus is showing us for better and for worse, we're all one connected world and we have to take care of each other and the animals that share the planet we call home.
Watch the whole thing below: