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By Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D.
Despite widely held perceptions, life for animals is much more than a bleak battle for survival and the avoidance of pain. PCRM research scientist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., in his new book Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good, takes a look at growing evidence that animals are able to enjoy themselves. While it is now generally agreed that animals feel pain, it has yet to be formally recognized that they can experience life’s pleasures. Balcombe combines scientific evidence with anecdotes to assert that all creatures can get pleasure from many things, including play, sex, food, and anticipation. Dr. Balcombe notes that the possibility of animals’ ability to feel positively has distinct ethical consequences for humans.
Balcombe is an animal behavior research scientist with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He received his doctorate in ethology from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and was formerly the associate director with The Humane Society of the United States. He has written numerous articles on animal use in research and scientific papers about animal behavior.