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Second nature : the inner lives of animals

jeudi 20 mai 2010

Do baboons have a keen sense of right and wrong ? Do chickens find certain human faces attractive in the same way people do ? Do cats and dogs get their feelings hurt ? In his new book, Second Nature, Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., an ethologist and biologist affiliated with PCRM, makes the case that animals, once viewed only as mindless automatons, actually have rich sensory experiences and emotional complexity.
“New scientific findings reveal that animals are perceptive, intelligent, and emotional in ways undreamt of a generation ago,” says Dr. Balcombe, whose earlier book Pleasurable Kingdom explored animals’ capacity for happiness. “Our new understanding should influence how we treat other species. It’s time for a new ethic and dramatic shift in humankind’s relationship with other animals.”
Dr. Balcombe draws on new research, observational studies, and personal anecdotes to reveal the full spectrum of animal experience. Balcombe paints a new picture of the inner lives of animals that diverges from the struggle-or-perish image often presented in the popular media. He challenges traditional views of animals and spells out why the human-animal relationship needs a complete overhaul.
“Jonathan Balcombe is a rare being, a scientist who has escaped the narrow orthodoxies of institutional science, an intelligent human being who is more than ready to recognize intelligences of other kinds, an intuitive and empathetic observer who nevertheless does not abandon the highest standards of intellectual inquiry,” says J.M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, who wrote the book’s foreword.