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The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading…
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The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy,…

by Marc Bekoff

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--ABANDONED--

It's an interesting topic, which makes it seem like it should have also been an interesting book. I made it just over halfway through, but the writing was tedious and although I enjoyed the anecdotes he included, the book didn't hold together that well overall. Positive: I liked the foreword by Jane Goodall. Negative: I found myself skipping paragraphs at a time once Bekoff's writing started. ( )
  ursula | Mar 22, 2013 |
Another volume from Bekoff that presents irrefutable evidence that humans are not alone in some privileged sentient universe; we do, in fact, share it with creatures great and small, wild and domesticated, and the moral imperative of the situation couldn't be more obvious. ( )
1 vote beaujoe | Nov 28, 2009 |
I love this book! Marc Bekoff is a leading scientist in the area of cognitive ethology (the observation of animals under natural conditions). As an animal lover, I found myself nodding along to all of his statements. Even though Marc Bekoff presents scientific content, his writing style is simple and straight-forward. He thoroughly explains the scientific terms he uses. I walked away from the book having learned several new terms. My favorite is anthropomorphism, which is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human beings.

I borrowed this book from the library but about half way through reading it I decided to buy it. I know this is the type of book I'll reference again and again. I also bought another book by Marc Bekoff, "Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart". I can't wait to read it! ( )
  ees4 | Feb 4, 2009 |
The second read for this year of my book club was picked by a Buddhist/vegan/animal rights activist friend of mine. I was not sure at all I would enjoy it, but I did. This thoroughly enjoyable read was informative, if a bit repetitious at times.

Anyone who lives with a dog or a cat or has grown up on a farm is well aware of the intelligence, memory, and emotions expressed by animals. Bekoff’s book is loaded with anecdotes from ethologists (researchers in animal emotions) as well as lay persons. As he says, “the plural of anecdote is data” (121). Many of his anecdotes closely match what we have observed with our pets at home.

Bekoff shows how animals and humans share brain structure and chemistry. He posits that our emotions have evolved along with our physical structure. To my surprise, Darwin also speculated about animal emotions, and he believed they evolved along with physical structure.

One chapter ends with, “if we try to learn more about forgiveness, fairness, trust, and cooperation in animals, maybe we’ll also learn to live more compassionately and cooperatively with one another” (109).

This read has not made me a vegetarian, but it has made me more conscious of products I buy. I simply like meat too much to give it up completely. However, I try and buy products not tested on animals, free-range chicken, and organic, hormone and antibiotic-free milk and eggs. It is a first small step.

The most interesting question Bekoff poses is, would you treat your family pet the same way you would treat the animals in your lab, on your farm, or in the wild? I suspect almost everyone would answer with a resounding, “No!”

--Jim, 10/31/08 ( )
  rmckeown | Oct 31, 2008 |
This could have been a much better book. The author's aim is to refute a belief common in the scientific world that animals do not have emotions or feelings. He claims that there is strong scientific evidence for animal emotion, but instead of citing any, he mostly entertains us with oh so cute anecdotes of animals doing oh so cute things. The author could have provided more, and I was very disappointed. ( )
2 vote gmugmble | Oct 8, 2007 |
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"In The Emotional Lives of Animals, Marc Bekoff has pulled together the growing body of scientific evidence that supports the existence of a variety of emotions in other animals, richly illustrated by his own careful observations ... Combining careful scientific methodology with intuition and common sense, this book will be a great tool for those who are struggling to improve the lives of animals in environments where, so often, there is an almost total lack of understanding. I only hope it will persuade many people to reconsider the way they treat animals in the future."--Jane Goodall, from the foreword.… (more)

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