It's no news to me that animals seek and experience pleasure. I even believe that insects enjoy things. If you closely observe all kinds of creatures, you will notice they exhibit curiosity, fear, and pleasure. I've seen bees dive into flowers thick with pollen and they will wriggle and swim in the pollen over and over. They'll surface and dive right back in and roll around in it. And who hasn't witnessed birds and butterflies seemingly flying for the pure fun of flying? The skeptics may scoff at such notions. In my heart of hearts, I know non-human species experience a wide ranges of emotions, and pleasure is one of them.
Of himself Jonathan writes:
"I was born in England, raised in New Zealand and Canada, and have lived in the United States since 1987. I studied biology in Toronto and Ottawa before earning a PhD in ethology (animal behavior) from the University of Tennessee, studying communication in bats. My career has been focused mainly on animal protection. I have worked for several non-profit organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, as well as a for-profit company, Immersion Medical. I have written many scientific papers and lay-articles on animal behavior, animal research, and humane education. Recently, I decided to leave traditional office life, and now work as a private consultant. My services include writing for lay- and academic-audiences, public speaking, editing, and creative input. And, of course, I write books! In addition to the three you see featured here, I have another scheduled for publication by the University of California Press around September, 2010. It is titled Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure, and it features stunning photos of animals in pleasurable situations. In my new consulting capacity I am preparing to teach a course (Jan - March 2010) called Animal Behavior, Animal Minds and Animal Protection, for Humane Society University. I also teach soccer clinics to young children aged three to seven. In addition to my professional work, I enjoy biking, wilderness, kayaking, piano (especially Bach), painting, travel, vegan cooking and baking, and reading (preferably with a cat on my lap). I have two websites, www.jonathanbalcombe.com, and www.pleasurablekingdom.com, where (among other things) I post upcoming media and speaking engagements, and occasional musings."