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The Physicians Committee



New Book Explores Animal Emotions

In laboratories, animals are treated essentially like medical supplies. They are shipped in, studied, and disposed of. But increasingly, scientists are coming to understand the complexities of animals’ psychological and social lives. In a new book, PCRM ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., explores animals’ capacity for happiness

Pleasurable kingdomPleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good (Macmillan, May 2006) takes an in-depth look at new evidence that animals do enjoy themselves. Dr. Balcombe suggests that all creatures big and small have the capability for happiness thanks to play, touch, sex, food, and even anticipation. He provides rigorous evidence along with detailed anecdotes of different species showing a wide array of emotions and behaviors.

Dr. Balcombe concludes that this new information has important ethical consequences for both science and society. He holds that we have a responsibility to look at animals as individuals who can feel rather than as populations. If pleasure is what makes life for humans worth living, then animals’ ability to feel pleasure also makes their lives worth living.

Dr. Balcombe brings to his writing years of research involving animal behavior. He received his doctorate in ethology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has published papers on the behavioral ecology of birds, bats, and turtles. He previously published The Use of Animals in Higher Education: Problems, Alternatives, and Recommendations, and has contributed to more than 30 book chapters and academic journals.

Dr. Balcombe will be appearing at readings and book signings at bookstores across the country.



 

PCRM Online, May 2006

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