|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
Jane Goodall receives financial support from a dairy producer. She acts as their spokesperson, promoting their products.
What happens to the calves? Where do the cows go when they no longer are milked? Why does she accept their dollars and endorse their yogurt?
Every cow is fated to die a horrible death by the butcher's knife. Calves are separated from their mothers at birth, and mother and child cry a torturous song for many days after. Perhaps Jane will sleep better when she no longer supports such abuse.
This past weekend I attended a food product show in Baltimore, Maryland. One of the food companies was Stonyfield Farms, producer of organic yogurt and dairy products.
I was not happy to see Jane Goodall used as one of their marketing tools.
Stonyfield reps distributed baseball-type cards with photos of Jane Goodall and a chimpanzee. The front of the card reads: "Jane Goodall and African Rainforests."
Jane Goodall performed her research on Gombe Game Preserve in Tanzania. This part of Africa does not include rainforests.
Stonyfield Farm's attempt to capitalize on Goodall and rainforests is a cheap exploitation. The word "rainforest" triggers an emotional response to those who support environmental issues. Some members of the trusting public have soft spots in their hearts (and brains) after exposure to corporate hyperbole about rainforests. Stonyfield writes:
"Much of Jane's work took place within the rainforest."
Their card reveals this "fun fact":
"Rainforests of the world contain about half of the world's total plant and animal species. There can be over 75 different species of life in each square meter."
That's all very nice, but in 1986, Goodall wrote in her "Chimpanzees of Gombe" the following (page 106):
"The 1972 dry season was a particularly difficult one with respect to food availability: chimpanzee weights were generally lower, competition for certain foods was greater, males were less likely to give food calls, they traveled shorter distances per day, and party size was smaller. It was during this period that the old female Flo died."
Each year, from June through September, Gombi experiences less than one inch of rainfall per month. This is no rainforest, despite Stonyfield's representation!
Last year, I attended an environmental conference at which Jane Goodall was the keynote speaker. I have long admired Dr. Goodall.
COMPASSION TO ANIMALS
The end of Jane Goodall's speech was met by a standing ovation from a standing-room-only audience of enthusiastic animal rights activists. By her own admission, Dr. Goodall rarely lectures to such a "choir" of supporters who share her compassion for animals.
Before the lecture, I was able to speak privately to Dr. Goodall, a woman who has dedicated her life to observing chimpanzee behavior in the Kombe region of Tanzania.
At our private session, I asked Dr. Goodall why she did commercials for Stoneyfield Farms Dairy. Her response to me was that "Organic milk is a healthier product than genetically engineered milk." I asked her whether milk and dairy products represented a large part of her diet. "No, they are not," was her response. We spoke for a few moments about milk and the hormones so contained and we exchanged books. She autographed her book and wrote these words to my daughter: "Follow your dreams."
AFTER THE TALK
Jane's speech was immediately followed by another lecturer. I sensed that I might not see her again and climbed the stairs from my front-row seat to wish her well and give her my closing words.
In her talk, Dr. Goodall had described the look of death on a drowning chimpanzee's face. A man who rescued the drowning non-human explained why he risked his own life to make the rescue. "Those eyes were asking: 'Won't anyone help me?'" For Jane Goodall, WE are human animals and THEY are non-human animals. WE and THEY love and fear, live and die, laugh and cry.
I reached Dr. Goodall in the hallway leading from the auditorium. I asked her, "Dr. Goodall, are you aware of Dr. Albert Schweitzer's letter, written a few days before his death? That famous letter was a statement of animal rights and universal truths. He was coming to terms with many things, and you should too."
"Yes?" she asked, and I continued. "You spoke of a chimpanzee's eyes. Don't you imagine that a cow has the same look as her young calf is taken from her? How does the calf feel, urgently needing her mother's milk, yet kept anemic so that her flesh can stay pink for the butcher's sharp knife? By supporting the milk industry, you support the torture and slaughter of other non-humans." She shook her head slowly in understanding and we said goodbye to each other.
Dr. Jane Goodall continues to support Stonyfield Farms. With all due respect to her, she needs to be educated. I hope that you can play a role in teaching her that the dairy industry represents the least compassionate role in the animal wrongs industry. Animal rights? Please let Dr. Goodall know how you feel.
Jane is now in England. Her personal secretary is Mary Lewis. Mary's EMAIL address is:
Jane's FAX number is: 011-44-171-727-4408
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