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PCRM Scientist Takes Pro-Animal Message to South Africa

PCRM’s scientific and medical experts are traveling the globe to effect change. This spring, PCRM animal behavior expert Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., M.S., spent two weeks fostering compassion for animals on a lecture tour of South Africa.

Dr. Balcombe’s tour included talks to schoolchildren and adults at SciFest Africa, a weeklong science extravaganza in Grahamstown, and a well-attended evening lecture in Cape Town hosted by Africa Geographic, a prestigious publishing and media company.

At his SciFest talks, a university lecture, and various bookstore appearances, Dr. Balcombe made a case for a new paradigm in our treatment of animals. He argues that eating animals and using them for medical experiments is morally indefensible given what we know about their intelligence, emotions, and sensitivity. Dr. Balcombe’s message was well received by large audiences at all locations as well as by the print and broadcast media. Positive feature pieces ran in numerous papers, including the Mail & Guardian, the Herald, the Cape Argus, and Die Burger, an Afrikaans paper.

Ever since the publication of his groundbreaking work Pleasurable Kingdom in May 2006, Dr. Balcombe has been crisscrossing the globe, intriguing audiences with amusing tales of animal behavior and showing that animals enjoy their lives as much as humans do—and therefore we must rethink how we treat them.

Pleasurable Kingdom debunks the common misconception that life for most animals is simply about survival. Instead, the book shows just how much animals experience fun, sex, joy, touch, food, anticipation, comfort, and even aesthetics.

An ethologist and research scientist, Dr. Balcombe has contributed to more than 30 academic journals and book chapters, including the British Medical Journal, The American Biology Teacher, and the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior, as well as numerous magazines. He is working on two new books showcasing animal intelligence, communication skills, culture, sentience, and awareness.

 “It’s an exciting time in history,” says Dr. Balcombe. “There’s so much compelling new information coming out that proves animals have a world of their own. I hope to use that information to motivate people to treat animals with a new level of respect.”

Jonathan Balcombe,
Ph.D., M.S.

PCRM Online, June 2008

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