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Science & Tech

Animal Cruelty

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 11:05 min

Dr. Jane has observed many forms of animal cruelty. Here, she relates some of them in order to shed light on the problem and teach us how to give animals the respect they deserve.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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I often think back to that 1986 conference when, for the first time, I saw secretly filmed video footage of the unbelievable cruelty to chimpanzees in medical research laboratories. And the thing I discovered, as I began to learn more about it, is that scientists were really excited, because chimpanzees biologically are so like us that they thought, well, here is the perfect model. We can infect these chimpanzees, biologically so like us, with diseases which other animals cannot be infected with, because they're less like us. Therefore, here is the model to infect a chimpanzee and then test out various vaccines and cures. The problem was these same scientists were not prepared to admit the equally striking similarities between chimpanzees psychologically, behaviorally, and-- above all-- emotionally. And for me, it was heartbreaking. And in order to try and do something about it, it meant that I had to find out more about it. So just as I went to Africa to learn more about the problems faced by the chimpanzees, I had to visit medical research laboratories. And those visits-- they were so shocking to me, to actually see, with my own eyes, infant chimpanzees, at that time, kept in something about the size of an average microwave oven-- a bit taller. Probably about so big. It was 22 by 22 inches. And air went in by a vent. And the only contact they had with people was when the door was opened and a white-coated figure would give them an injection or, perhaps, hand them some food. And these chimpanzees-- so social, confined by themselves, snatched from their mothers-- they were totally depressed. And when child psychologists saw these images, they said, well, this is how very emotionally deprived human children behave. They would rock from side to side. Their eyes were blank. How did science even begin to believe that such a emotionally-compromised creature could behave like a normal human being? It just wasn't possible. And so, because nothing will change overnight, this long, long battle for chimpanzees in medical research, which I promised them-- when I saw them in that first lab, I promised them, I would do my best. And I saw many other chimps in many other labs. And it began with, well, at least let's give them better conditions. Let's give them a better life. And it was very, very difficult. And fortunately, other organizations took up the battle, because I couldn't have done it alone. Finally, the National Institutes of Health conducted 18 months of surveys of all experiments being done with their chimpanzees, which was nearly 400 chimps, and came to the conclusion-- and these were their own experts who'd been asked two questions. Will the experiment you're investigating lead to progress in human health? Or will it potentially lead to progress in human health? And after 18 months and investigating I don't know how many protocols, the answ...

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There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This MasterClass really changes your perspective and the way you think about the future of our planet.

A very Inspirational person and a remarkable Human Being from whom we can all learn something to better this world, our only home.

Amazing I am 11 and this is perfect for all ages

Goodall is amazing. I expected nothing less than excellence. This class delivered. Lots to think much to do regarding making this world a better place (in my own way) with my actions and mindset. I will take this class again. Now on to the next!!! <3


Antonia T.

Thanks. Very interesting lecture. Unfortunately research is needed. But all medical researches should have the maximum care for the animal. Also there are many researches that should be prohibited, like the ones that Harry Harlow conducted (I just read about them in another course and saw the videos). Rhesus macaques begin to suckle from the breasts of their mother at 1 hour of being born. And they stay with their mother until the birth os a sibling (usually 1 to 2 years). To put baby rhesus macaques in a cage for months without their mothers is outrageous! As a mother of three, I'm appalled by these experiments. Harlow was sick! Psychological experiments should never be conducted. Peace / Antonia

Bernardo F.

This is the best lesson so far, at least in what wildlife-human relationship respects. The fact that experimenting on animals have served us all is undeniable, and some of us would rather not make those animals suffer. As Jane mentions, there are pointless uses, and we must get rid of them, or replace them using other subjects as she well-mentions cell and tissue cultures. In the ones that we must use animals, at least give them a good living, that's the least we can do for them after all the benefits we obtain.


Dr. Goodall's wisdom and kindness is expressed in an incredibly thoughtful way. She is a "Yoda" for fellow naturalists.

Lynn S.

As a professional horse trainer and care provider so much of what Ms Goodall expresses here rings true for me. This was a wonderful masterclass and I hope it will touch many people...


I can't imagine how crushed Dr. Jane was, someone who watches chimpanzee for decades, to witness these cruelties. She's incredibly strong.

Diana H.

Her work is heroic. Lets not forget how many pharma companies got away with treating human beings this way as well. A long standing scientific history of standing behind false ideas that certain being have no feelings. These experiences waste tax payers money and there are much more accurate alternatives available to find out about human health. This made me think about the ethical and moral implications of many things we deem as "progress". Can we do it better? She spoke on animals in captivity and the ways in which zoos are improving and standards of enclosures now that we have admitted animals have emotions.


Informative and interesting in terms of champenzees research and observation. However It goes right down to disgusted generalisation and prejudice towards China in the environmental part of the course. There are several cutural misunderstandings and beliefs that I cannot resist to address from my perspective as a person born and raised in China now living in a western country for many years. 1. I never eat Sharkfin in my life nor have I ever heard any people even remotely think Sharkin fin is a necessity for marriage ceremony just to show off their status, my family is not poor to say the least so if it were true, we could have been eating it at least once in my life just to exprience it, but no. 2. Eating meat is not popular because people think meat is way of showing their wealth, that might be true in the ancient times when meat was rare and expensive. From when I was born in 1980s, I never felt meat is in scarcity that we must eat meat to show we are doing pretty well. We like meats simply because meat dishes are really deliciously in China. If you are into Chinese cuisines you would appreciate the rich and colorful food culture in our long line of history. And they provides proteins that we need to survive. I have nothing against vegetarianism, but reseach does show proteins and vital minerals such as Iron are best aborbed from animal sources. I agree animal cruelty is terrible, that is why artificial meats are being invented , we need to rely on technology to battle the problem as oppsed to putting all the blame to a country. Not to mention In western countries animals' lives are taken for their meat to prepare juicy steaks that are thoughtfully classified as rare, medium rare, medium and well done, Yum. I don't see there are much difference in terms of cruelty just because they are killed a bit happier. And Leave out how French treat their poor goose and Japanese the exotic whale? Hmm 3. Interesting and shocking it might sound, Chinese people have nightmares too. The nightmares of not being able to feed their children and elders. Lots of of they work really hard to just get by. So dont judge them just because they never heard of animal cruelty nor couldnt care less. Don't get me wrong, I am actually very conscious to envrionment issues and gradually changing my habits for the better. But that is because I have a comfortable life, my mind is reasonably relaxed to absorb information that is not related to making a living. I have the choice to become a better person. But it is wrong to tell people what they should do when you are not living in their shoes. 4. I personally would appreciate greatly for all the information provided by Jane if I had not lived in China and seen from my own eyes how people lived their lives. It shows how easy people can be influenced by authority. Please use your power wisely if you are for the humanity, not the government.

Belinda M.

Amazing to hear those words 'how does the animal feel?' The fear and terror, experienced by every animal going to slaughter, the lack of touch, and emotion for animals in captivity whether for entertainment, experimental reasons. To find a way to ask people to respect ALL animals, not just their dog! The story of the bees protecting the farm from the elephants raids, I watched the documentary, and the farmer had the utmost respect for the elephants, and the bees who he made guardians of his land. Fabulous and we should see this, all around the world. its not using the animal, its respecting the animal, and helping each other.

I studied Biology at the University of Glasgow. On the first day of the course, we had to make an agreement to assent to all use of animals, live and killed for our education, during our course. It was so absolute, no discussion, no exploration of ethics - a large group of new students, many of them only 17 and 18 (I was older, 24, but in Scotland many people start at 17), were given no choice - to refuse would mean to give up the course they had been accepted on, on the first day! I felt really uncomfortable with that forced decision, and in fact I did question the killing of animals for our teaching in the second year. But how many young people going through that education system learned from the start to switch off their questioning and personal ethical development? I still look back with some frustration both at the requirement made of us, and the manner in which it was presented to us by the University.

Vanessa G.

I work on IACUCS and Animal welfare in Guatemala and I have to say: Jane is my spirit animal! (I thought it was chimps... ) and I know she is one of few peole like me, that will be honored to be called an animal!)