In Conversation With: Dr Jane Goodall DBE;

Our Jane got to sit down and chat with another Jane… Dr. Jane Goodall! To say we’re a little excited is an understatement. What an incredible, once-in-a-life-time opportunity!

On Monday our founder and mother hen, Jane Howorth MBE, had a very special meeting. This was not your usual video-call, this was a sit-down discussion with primatologist, anthropologist and supporter of the British Hen Welfare Trust, Dr Jane Goodall DBE.

Dr. Jane, who is widely considered to be the world’s leading chimpanzee expert, has had a whirlwind lockdown, but took the time to discuss with us her connection with hens, as well as what she is continuing to do to help educate us all on our natural world.

While Dr. Jane is known the world round for her ground-breaking research and knowledge on chimpanzees, she credits chickens as a catalyst for stimulating her incredibly curious scientific mind. When she was four years old and living in London, her mother took her to her grandmother’s farm for a holiday. The quintessential farm, with no industrial barns, Jane’s was drawn to six wooden hen houses and remembers vividly collecting eggs for the first time,

“I began asking everybody, ‘but where does the egg come out of?’ But no one satisfied my curiosity. So, I remember going into the hen house, crawling after a brown hen, but she flew out squawking. In my four-year-old mind I must have thought that no hen would lay an egg here, but I am on the path of discovery. So, I went into an empty hen house and waited. Apparently I was gone for four hours, I remember the hen coming in and laying the egg, she had her back to me and I saw this white soft thing plop out. I do not know who was more excited me, or the hen. It was my first real observation of animal behaviour, and it showed the makings of a little scientist, the curiosity, asking questions, not getting the right answer so finding out for yourself, making mistakes, patience.”

It is not everyday that you can sit down with a pioneer like Dr. Jane Goodall, and it certainly left a big impression on our founder Jane: “Jane Goodall DBE was a childhood heroine who I enjoyed watching on the TV with my father who also deeply loved animals. To have had this opportunity, and to know that Jane is interested in the work of the BHWT will become an increasingly treasured memory for me.”

“What really struck me about Jane is that she still has the same passion, the same drive to improve life – whether it be animal welfare or climate related – as she did when she started.  She’s a giant amongst role models and is hugely inspirational for me.”

There is certainly no end in sight for Jane Goodall’s conservation efforts. Not only is she giving countless talks and webinars, as well as podcasts and interviews during lockdown, Jane is also working harder than ever on her projects like Roots and Shoots.

Roots and Shoots is a youth-led global community action programme lead by the Jane Goodall Institute. From humble beginnings, the charity began life with 12 local teenagers in Tanzania who were eager to discuss a range of issues faced by their community. Now, with tens of thousands of young people across almost 100 countries, connects young people of all ages who share the same desire to help make the world a better place.

We would like to thank Dr Jane Goodall and her team for giving us this opportunity as well as the brilliant Professor Ben Garrod for making the introduction.

Enjoy this incredible conversation with one of the world’s most respected and best loved minds.