The Emotional Lives of Animals

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Marc Bekoff is not a name I was familiar with before I started my research into animal emotions.

It is amazing how many cool peeps there are in this world, just waiting to be discovered!

Bekoff is the author of “The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy – and Why They Matter.”


He is also the author of more other books than, well, most everyone else and is the co-founder with Jane Goodall of the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies in 2000.

If you have ever caught yourself wondering, “Did my parrot just glare at me?,” Bekoff has the answer (it is probably ‘yes’, btw).

One of the most fascinating things about the field Bekoff works in – animal behavior and human-animal interactions – is how intuitive it truly is. Bekoff points to many conversations he has had with even the most hard-headed scientists – the ones who don’t believe animals feel or think or care what happens to them – about how much they love their pet companion animals. We know animals feel….when we let ourselves know.

For this very reason, Bekoff makes a strong case for the ethical treatment of birds and animals in research, stating (and I paraphrase) “If you wouldn’t do it to your pet, then why is it okay to do it to an animal in the lab?”

I will admit there were parts of “The Emotional Lives of Animals” I skipped over – just because I absolutely cannot read or hear about animal cruelty. It upsets me so much I just end up having nightmares.

But I am soooooo glad someone like Bekoff is out there sharing the stories that need to be told, and most of all emphasizing over and over again that we share 90% of our brain (perhaps more) with almost all other life on this planet – and our emotions had to come from somewhere!

The likeliest place to look – and the place where Bekoff’s research continually delivers promising results – is within the brains and emotional lives of the mammals, avians and other creatures who live here with us on Earth.

I loved “The Emotional Lives of Animals” and am even now awaiting “The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions,” another Bekoff sure-to-be-classic read.

To learn more about Marc Bekoff:

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Published by Shannon Cutts

Animal sensitive and intuitive with Animal Love Languages. Parrot, tortoise and box turtle mama. Dachshund auntie.

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