Science & Tech, Home & Lifestyle, Community & Government

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.

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

Topics include: Medical Research • Developing an Alternative • Zoos • A Different Perspective


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...

About the Instructor

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.

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Dr. Jane Goodall

Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.

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