Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Animal Emotions Book Banned in Texas

My book "The Smile of a Dolphin" is now banned in certain libraries and schools

I just learned that my book The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions is now banned in certain libraries or class reading lists of certain schools in Texas. It's number 6 on the current list with such books as Paintings from the Cave, Talking in the Dark, and World War Z

I think this is a very interesting and rather unanticipated move and a few people have asked me why I think this was done. The ban does indeed reflect on our relationships with other animals and the best answer I can come up with is that it is due to the presence of evolutionary arguments about animal emotions, there are some essays on sexual behavior and aggression, and there is a picture of a whale's penis. The major reason books are banned is that they contain sex, profanity, violence, religion, race, or politics. My book is guilty of two of these charges -- sex and violence.

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I think there's much food for thought here for anthrozoologists and readers of Psychology Today who are interested in human-animal relationships. However, there's also a lot of food for thought here about the freedom for someone to read whatever she or he wants to read. 

Note: As of now not a single person who has written to me is even slightly surprised and some think I should be honored. 

 

 

 

 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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