Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good

( 2 )


Pleasurable Kingdom presents new evidence that animals—like humans—enjoy themselves. From birds to baboons, insects to iguanas, animals feel good thanks to play, sex, touch, food, anticipation, comfort, aesthetics, and more. Combining rigorous evidence, elegant argument and amusing anecdotes, leading animal behavior researcher Jonathan Balcombe shows that the possibility of positive feelings in creatures other than humans has important ethical ramifications for both science and society.


See more details below
Paperback (REV)
$14.17 price
(Save 25%)$19.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $10.18   
  • Used (13) from $1.99   
Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99 price


Pleasurable Kingdom presents new evidence that animals—like humans—enjoy themselves. From birds to baboons, insects to iguanas, animals feel good thanks to play, sex, touch, food, anticipation, comfort, aesthetics, and more. Combining rigorous evidence, elegant argument and amusing anecdotes, leading animal behavior researcher Jonathan Balcombe shows that the possibility of positive feelings in creatures other than humans has important ethical ramifications for both science and society.



Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
We can no longer think of animals as simply Darwinian machines, creatures intent only on survival and avoidance of pain. Recent studies indicate that animals possess a range of attributes and emotions. Pleasurable Kingdom is built on the uplifting premise that animals, like people, enjoy themselves. To prove his point, prominent animal behavior research Jonathan Balcombe draws on studies that indicate that sheep experience empathy; dolphins are randy; hippopotamuses like massages; and wallabies love to play.
From the Publisher
"In Pleasurable Kingdom, Balcombe draws together an extraordinary amount of information to help us to appreciate that we are not the only species that can, if all goes well, live joyful lives."—Peter Singer

"Dr. Balcombe convincingly argues that animals are individual beings with a wide range of emotions and feeling. If he is correct - and I believe he is - it follows that we must grapple with the ethical consequences of his important insights."—Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

"I predicted, in When Elephants Weep, that in ten years better scientists would write better books about the depth of feelings in animals. Well, that time has come, and here is that book."—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Author, When Elephants Weep

"For centuries humanity has justified our extermination of fishes with the myth that they do not have feelings or intelligence. Jonathan Balcombe exposes this myth and presents fishes, with other animals, as sensitive, social, feeling, marvelous sentient beings."—Captain Paul Watson, founder of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

"entertaining examples of animal bliss — from drunken parrots to the caresses of fiddler crabs — bring a pleasure all their own." —Psychology Today

 "This genial scientist's accounts of enjoyment in the other-than-human world will irritate strict behaviorists and profoundly delight animal lovers."—Orion Magazine"Brisk, erudite and enormously excellent, approachable introduction to the basic issues in animal behavior."—Publishers Weekly   

"This entertaining and thought-provoking book is recommended for popular science collections."—Library Journal

"A warm and enjoyable book...anyone with an interest in animal welfare (or just in animals) ought to read it."— "This impressive book takes the reader on a journey of scientific knowledge and understanding into the inner lives of other creatures, from mice to monkeys and fish to fowl— and even insects and worms—-that inspires respect and appreciation for all creatures great and small. Dr. Balcombe's book should be a standard text for students of biology and ethology, and all who care for animals will be informed and inspired."—Michael W. Fox, veterinarian, newspaper columnist and author of The Boundless Circle: Caring for Creatures and Creation

"Pleasurable Kingdom is a love affair with our fellow beings. Balcombe tempts us to consider, more open-mindedly than ever before, the experiences of animals in more ways than traditional science has yet acknowledged, perhaps even imagined." —Professor Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience

"This book is one in which all campaigners for good animal welfare should invest." —The Ark

"...a joy to read—a carefully balanced book—which also includes some humorous, enlightening and intriguing animal tales." —

"Superb—has set an agenda for future research. This book will change how we interact with other animal beings." —Marc Bekoff in Trends in Evolution and Ecology

"Marvelous — as the first book in this field, scholarly or popular, we also have one that sets a high bar." —Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science

"A touching look at the complex and at times playful lives of the animals with which we share this planet. Fascinating and often moving, this book emphasizes that animals – like us – truly have personalities, minds and emotions." —Jane Goodall


Publishers Weekly
When birds take a dip in the water, is it to clean their feathers, or is it just plain fun? The author addresses such questions in a brisk, erudite and enormously entertaining contribution to the growing genre of books about the emotions of animals. Balcombe, an animal behavior research consultant for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, presents an excellent, approachable introduction to the basic issues in animal behavior, with the potential to gain a much wider reception than such classics as Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy's When Elephants Weep. By presenting evidence "from both scientific study and anecdote, that the animal kingdom is rich in pleasure," Balcombe balances a general philosophical look at the prevalence of pleasure among animals (he rejects the view that all behavior must be explained in terms of adaptation for survival) with detailed anecdotal evidence of how specific animals experience pleasure in play, food, sex, touching and love. But what may most attract readers to Balcombe's powerful argument "that animals have minds and feelings" is the cover photo: two smiling pigs nuzzling each other in an inescapably endearing pose. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Do animals experience pleasure? That is the question animal behavior research consultant Balcombe (The Use of Animals in Higher Education) seeks to answer in this entertaining and thought-provoking book. While acknowledging the touchy-feely aspects of the subject and the difficulty of conducting rigorous scientific study, Balcombe enumerates the reasons why pleasure may contribute to natural selection, thus providing a scientific rationale for why pleasure is important, perhaps even vital, to animal survival. Many animals, especially vertebrates, have neural systems similar to those of humans, and the author suggests that animals of this type can react to taste, touch, or situations as humans do-with pleasure. Leavening his argument with illustrative anecdotes, Balcombe stresses that the recognition that animals are not merely reactive organisms but have the capacity to feel pleasure is essential to improving the manner in which we treat them. Recommended for popular science collections.-Ann Forister, Roseville, P.L., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403986023
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 416,967
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Balcombe is Animal Behaviour Research Consultant for the Washington DC-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the author of The Use of Animals in Higher Education: Problems, Alternatives and Recommendations. He lives in Washington DC.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


• Survival of the Happiest: The Adaptive Basis for Pleasure

• Forbidden Pleasures: our Reluctance to Acknowledge Animal Pleasure

• Feeling Smart: The Intelligence of Pleasure


• Play: Fun for Its Own Sake

• Food: The Pleasures of Sustenance

• Sex: Procreation and Recreation

• Touch: Making Contact with Pleasure

• Love: The Ripening Warmth of Intimacy

• Other Pleasures: Esthetics, Humor and Beyond

• From Flies to Fish: At the Margins of Pleasure


• Feeling Good, Doing Good: Implications of a Pleasurable Kingdom


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2014



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)