Conference on Animal Thinking and Emotion
Forthcoming Conference: Animal Thinking and Emotion
17-18 March 2014, Washington, DC
Animal behavior expert Jonathan Balcombe is a passionate advocate for animals and their living spaces. His best-selling books Pleasurable Kingdom and Second Nature present animals in a new light and presage a revolution in the human-animal relationship. A PhD scientist and vegan, Balcombe’s dynamic message resonates with timely issues that affect everyone, including climate change, biodiversity, and personal health. He has given invited presentations on six continents.
What best distinguishes Balcombe's work from all others has been his attention to animal pleasure. Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good (Macmillan, 2006, available in six foreign translations) was the first book to focus on this neglected subject, and his 2011 book The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure (University of California Press) celebrates the topic with 130 beautiful photographs.
Balcombe also corrects the common perception that wild nature is a constant, earnest, red-in-tooth-and-claw struggle for survival. Cooperation is at least as vital an evolutionary force as competition, and the rewards of play, sex, touch, food, anticipation, comfort, and aesthetics make life worth living for sentient animals, not just humans. The implications are profound. As pleasure-seekers with a quality of life, animals' lives matter to them, and they deserve the sort of basic respect and consideration routinely afforded to our fellow humans.