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Treat pests humanely, Goodall urges

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/06/2017 Karen Sweeney

Anthropologist Jane Goodall is best known for her work with chimpanzees, and it was those creatures who taught her that humans are not alone in having personalities and feelings.

That's worth New Zealand remembering as the nation works toward becoming predator free by 2050.

"If we want to protect the beautiful birds and other wildlife that's endemic to New Zealand, these other creatures need to go because they're competing and in many cases driving them out, many species have become extinct," she said in Wellington on Wednesday.

But while the rats and cats must go it has to be remembered that they are animals with personalities, minds and emotions of their own.

"We must prevent people talking about them as trash and as vermin and talk about them as individual animals with their own right to life," she said.

"We're probably going to be forced to take their life from them, but let's try and do it humanely."

That was one piece of advice Ms Goodall, the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, had for MPs during a reception hosted by the Green Party and attended by MPs from across parliament.

Animal agriculture is another area Ms Goodall is passionate about telling guests of the benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet while waving the stuffed cow toy that travels with her when she talks about the issue.

"To feed them you have to destroy environments to grow the grain. Plus there's the fossil fuels to transport the grain to the animals, the animals to the slaughter and the meat to the people," she said, adding water pollution as another negative.

Other suggestions included her belief in New Zealand's ability to go "off the grid" and develop a reliance on renewable energy sources - particularly Wellington with its wind.

Ms Goodall believes a major step in solving the world's environmental problems is to bring people together with opposing views and to listen and talk without arguing, a lesson she learnt from her mother.

"It would be really easy if everything you thought was absolutely right, there was no possibility that you're wrong but it's not like that at all," she said.

"I keep learning things which make me rethink and makes it very difficult."

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