This evening, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, awarded the 27th Catalunya International Prize to British primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall in recognition of “her significant scientific contribution” and “her analytical, empirical and committed research” in the field of environmental conservationism.
During the event, President Mas highlighted Goodall’s legacy in the study of animal behaviour and underlined that with this award Catalonia also commits itself to a “social and economic progress which takes into account a fair and coherent treatment of our surroundings and, therefore, of our cultures, languages, animals and landscapes, etc.”.
In this regard, Artur Mas maintained that in the last three decades, since the country regained the ability to govern itself, “Catalonia has done remarkable things in the field of sustainability and the protection of animals”.
“This progress has been demonstrated”, explained the President, “through various legislative initiatives”. Mas explained that the first of these initiatives came in the form of the animal protection law that the Parliament passed 27 years ago and which was reviewed at the beginning of the twenty-first century; the second significant initiative was the law banning bullfights in Catalonia and the third was the law passed by Parliament in the last session of this legislature, prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses.
Three laws which, as the President noted, add to the legal architecture created over 20 years ago in order “to make Catalonia one of the most protected territories in the EU”. Mas explained that “thirty per cent of our small territory is protected by [environmental] laws in hopes of becoming a reference when carrying out this legitimate economic and social progress”, whilst, at the same time, doing it “in harmony with nature”, he added.
Lastly, Artur Mas emphasized that, in the same way Goodall maintained during her acceptance speech, the most important difference between the animal kingdom and human beings “is that humans have managed to develop a very sophisticated language”. However, in this respect, Goodall questioned the use of developing a language “if we are not capable of using it to protect our environment, which is also our future”.
In this regard, Mas stressed that Catalonia could also "raise the flag of example
" because “in having protected and defended our language and culture we have been a reference for this sophisticated language which should serve as means to respect everything