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Pleasurable Kingdom


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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 Fish and Thrips: At the Margins of Pleasure PART III: FROM ANIMAL PLEASURE Feeling Good, Doing Good: Implications of a Pleasurable Kingdom NOTES, REFERENCES, FURTHER READING

About the Author

JONATHAN BALCOMBE is Animal Behaviour Research Scientist for the Washington DC-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has published numerous scientific papers and magazine articles on, among other things, bat communication, turtle nesting and bird breeding. His first book, The Use of Animals in Higher Education: Problems, Alternatives and Recommendations was published by Humane Society Press in 2000.


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.

Pleasurable Kingdom is 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 '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, Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, USA '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 of 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, marvellous sentient beings.' - Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society '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 '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 'This impressive book inspires respect and appreciation for all creatures great and small. It should be a standard text for students of biology and behaviour. All who care for animals will be informed and inspired.' - Dr Michael W. Fox, Veterinarian, columnist, author 'Brisk, erudite and enormously entertaining - an excellent, approachable introduction to the basic issues in animal behaviour.' - Publishers Weekly Reviews for the Hardback Version: 'Entertaining examples of animal bliss - from drunken parrots to the caresses of fiddler crabs - bring a pleasure all their own.' - Psychology Today 'This is a lively, shrewd, well-argued book on the simple theme that animals are able to feel pleasure.' Times Higher Educational Supplement 'This genial scientist's accounts of enjoyment in the other-than-human world will irritate strict behaviorists and profoundly delight animal lovers.' - Orion Magazine '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 book is one in which all campaigners for good animal welfare should invest.' - The Ark 'This well-reasoned, engaging book argues that critters share our capacities for humor, empathy and aesthetic pleasure.' - People Magazine 'Reviews a vast body of scientific literature - full of examples both anecdotal and from refereed journals, and a copious bibliography.' - Booklist '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 'His arguments may change your opinion of the next lobster that arrives steaming on your plate.' - Wired News '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 'Highly readable...I hope Pleasurable Kingdom encourages study of animal pleasure, because it worked for me.' - Nicola Robinson, www.smh.com

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.

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