Christiane Amanpour:
Did it have a silver lining in terms of how we figure out our place – we humans in the natural world – what we’ve done to potentially disrupt the natural world? Where do you think this could lead?

Jane Goodall:
Well, the thing is that we’ve brought this on ourselves. A pandemic like this has been predicted, we’ve had epidemics galore, and it’s because we’ve disrespected the natural world and the animals who live there. And we cut down forests, animals are pushed closer together, some of them are pushed to crop-raid and things from the nearby villagers. This gives an opportunity for the viruses and bacteria to spill over from the animal host to human.

And then, in addition to that, we kill them, we eat them, we traffic them, we sell them in wildlife meat markets across Asia – which, by the way, most wet markets don’t sell live wild animals at all; they’re more like farmer’s markets – but anyway, these wildlife meat markets across Asia and the bush meat markets in Africa create ideal environments for these viruses and bacteria to hop over, to cross the species barrier and bind with whatever they bind with in the human to create a new disease like COVID-19.

And we should remember it’s not only the cruelty to the animals who are sold in tiny cages, often killed on the spot, vendors and customers contaminated with blood, urine, faeces, and so on, but then we’ve got our factory farms, that we’re breeding billions of animals in terrible, horrible, crowded, unsanitary conditions. And academics have started from factory farms as well as from these wildlife markets, so we have brought this on ourselves and people have known about it and been telling us about it, but we prefer to go on with business as usual to make money and attain power in the short term and not worry about future generations or the health of the planet.

(Transcription by Tia Guttensohn)