Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good

Overview

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 ...

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Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good

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Overview

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.

 

For more information please visit the author's website at www.pleasurablekingdom.com

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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 entertaining...an 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."—www.popularscience.co.uk "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." —www.scienceagogo.com

"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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403986023
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,459,345
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.74 (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.

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Table of Contents

PART I: WHY ANIMAL PLEASURE

• Survival of the Happiest: The Adaptive Basis for Pleasure

• Forbidden Pleasures: our Reluctance to Acknowledge Animal Pleasure

• Feeling Smart: The Intelligence of Pleasure

• PART II: WHAT ANIMAL 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

• PART III: FROM ANIMAL PLEASURE

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

• NOTES, REFERENCES, FURTHER READING

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