Last week I attended the World Animal Forum, which consists of leaders of several global animal protection groups, including The HSUS and Humane Society International―our worldwide affiliate. The purpose of the gathering is to foster cooperation between organizations and drive the animal protection agenda across the globe.
Jane Goodall at the 2005 World Congress on
Alternatives and Animal Use.
We had a long list of accomplished guests, and no one of them more significant or worthy of our gratitude and admiration than Jane Goodall.
I grew up reading about her studies of chimpanzees published in National Geographic, and her work helped nourish my budding interest in learning about and protecting animals. Today, decades later, she is largely out of the jungles and forests and spending more of her time in board rooms, behind speaking lecterns, or in front of a laptop.
I travel a great deal, but I don’t hold a candle to her; she’s on the road 300 days a year. She’s got fire in the belly for our cause, and she is such a remarkable force for the good. In my capacity as president of The HSUS, I get to meet a lot of extraordinary people. But she’s surely one of the most extraordinary. I am so grateful she’s devoted her life to fostering an understanding of the lives and intelligence of animals and reminding all of humanity about its responsibilities to other creatures.
It is our privilege to be able to work with her and her colleagues at the Jane Goodall Institute on a number of initiatives pertaining to the protection of chimpanzees in the wild and in captivity.
HSI has also teamed up with her environmental education program, Roots & Shoots Beijing of The Jane Goodall Institute China, to raise crucial awareness on the importance of protecting sharks. China’s demand for shark fins has fueled the cruel shark finning practice and decimated shark populations worldwide. Community events organized by Roots & Shoots student leaders and shark photo exhibits across Beijing have galvanized support for sharks in the country.