Jonathan Balcombe

To buy or not to buy... I'm thinking about reading Jonathan Balcombe's book Pleasurable Kingdom or his latest, Second Nature.  I rather like the topic of the first book--pleasure and happiness in (non-human) animals.  People with ethical concerns tend to focus on animal pain, and lose sight of the good experiences animals enjoy.  The book seems to be "positive psychology" for the animal kingdom, but without the self-help overtones. Cool!

I'm a tough customer, so I listened to an interview with Balcombe to help me make up my mind. Here he is on the Diane Rehm show.  He's really articulate and knowledgeable, but this is my reservation:  there's never a moment in the entire interview when he seems skeptical or puzzled.  Isn't it actually rather difficult to get a grip on animal minds?  For that matter, isn't "animal ethics" a difficult subject? Hmm.

Anybody out there familiar with Jonathan Balcombe's books and willing to comment?  UPDATE:  Taking the plunge....will report back on this book later!

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