Jonathan Balcombe
Author, scientist, and leading animal advocate

Animal behavior expert Jonathan Balcombe is a passionate advocate for animals and their living spaces. His highly acclaimed books Pleasurable Kingdom and Second Nature present animals in a new light and presage a revolution in the human-animal relationship. His most recent book, The Exultant Art: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure (2011), received a glowing review in the New York Times.  A PhD scientist and vegan, Balcombe’s dynamic message resonates with timely issues that affect everyone, including climate change, biodiversity, and personal health. He has given lectures and presentations on six continents. Jonathan Balcombe was born in England and raised in New Zealand and Canada. He studied biology at Canada’s York University and Carleton University before earning a PhD in ethology (animal behavior) from the University of Tennessee. He has written over 40 scientific papers and book chapters, and many lay articles on animal behavior and animal protection.



Jonathan Balcombe is a popular inspirational speaker and offers keynote speeches on the environment, and animal advocacy. See also our other keynote speakers including culture and adventure keynote speakers.

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Trade Paperback
Second Nature
The Inner Lives of Animals
Palgrave Macmillan

For centuries we believed that humans were the only ones that mattered. The idea that animals had feelings was either dismissed or considered heresy. Today,...

Trade Paperback
Pleasurable Kingdom
Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good
Palgrave Macmillan

A rousing case for animal pleasure and its ethical and evolutionary implications

Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals
Beastly Bliss: Animal Pleasure and its Significance
In this lavishly illustrated presentation, Balcombe debunks the popular perception that life for animals is a continuous, grim struggle for survival. As pleasure-seekers, animals’ lust for play, sex, touch and food holds important lessons about how we ought to lead our own lives.
Other topics
Jonathan’s expertise on animal sentience and behavior appeals to a broad range of audiences. Jonathan can tailor his presentations to any age group and to diverse audience specialties, including: environmental protection, companion animals, wildlife, animal rescue and sanctuary, animal research, and veterinary medicine.

Praise for Second Nature
"Balcombe builds a compelling case for blurring the line between animal and human perception...a passionate and persuasive argument for vegetarianism on both humanitarian and environmental grounds."
-Publishers Weekly

"Balcombe paints a new picture of the inner lives of animals that diverges from the struggle-or-perish image often presented in the popular media. He challenges traditional views of animals and spells out why the human-animal relationship needs a complete overhaul."
-Ellie Brecher, Crazy for Critters, blog of the Miami Herald

Praise for Pleasurable Kingdom
"Brisk, erudite and enormously excellent, approachable introduction to the basic issues in animal behavior."
-Publishers Weekly

"In Pleasurable Kingdom, Balcombe draws together an extraordinary amount of information to help us to appreciate that we are not the only species that can, if all goes well, live joyful lives."
-Peter Singer