On 2 June 2020 the legendary ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall told an EU audience of over 1,250 participants that we are responsible for the current pandemic. Covid-19 and the climate crisis are together delivering a clear message that the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the environment are interdependent. Dr. Goodall called on consumers and their huge impact on the environment and the well-being of animals by the choices they make in their daily lives.
Dr. Jane Goodall spoke at the webinar ‘Pandemics, wildlife and intensive animal farming,’ organised by Compassion in World Farming. The event featured an introduction by EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides and was co-hosted by seven Members of the European Parliament from key political groups.
Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Highly intensive farming systems have created an abundance of food but in Europe, at least, there is also significant waste and at times also animal suffering. These phenomena deeply worry me. The parts that don’t work are ethically questionable and socially and environmentally unacceptable. Our citizens expect more and we will deliver a better balance to ensure that farming practices are sustainable and food is affordable. Animal welfare is among my priorities. It has always been a concern to me, an issue close to my heart.”
Janusz Wojciechowski, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, said: “We will constantly support sustainable farming and breeding practices as an alternative to intensive industrial farming and I am sure that, together with the Member States, with the support of our citizens, we will achieve significant and lasting progress in this aspect.”
Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, said: “All animals matter, every animal is an individual just as every human being is an individual and all are deserving of our compassion, respect and care. Every single of these billions of farm animals, traffic animals, they are individuals. Individuals with capabilities and feelings. Destroying nature and exploiting animals in intensive “factory” farms shows complete disregard towards life. This has consequences for us all, as we have clearly seen in the Covid-19 pandemic. We have brought this pandemic on ourselves because of our absolute disrespect of animals and of our planet”
Dr Jane Goodall added: “I hope the Covid-19 pandemic wakes us up! We are responsible for this; we need to treat animals better. We have come to a turning point in our relationship with the natural world. One of the lessons learnt from this crisis is that we must change our ways. Scientists warn that to avoid future crises we must drastically change our diets and move to plant-rich foods. For the sake of the animals, the planet and the health of our children let us move forward into a wise, sustainable and compassionate future.”
Philip Lymbery, Global CEO of Compassion in World Farming, commented: “Coronavirus has served as a pertinent reminder that, for the wellbeing of people tomorrow, urgent action is needed today to end factory farming. Without ending the viral ‘hothouse’ that is keeping large numbers of animals caged, cramped and confined in conditions that allow viruses to mutate, the next pandemic could be just around the corner. In the war against invisible enemies, never has there been a more potent reminder of why protecting people means protecting animals too.”
Dr. Goodall concluded by saying that she has still has hope in youth to move away from business as usual. She stated how passionate she is about the youth programme of her Institute, referring to the Institute’s Roots & Shoots programme.