Wild Justice

  • by Marc Bekoff, Jessica Pierce
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 6 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren't these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice, Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes.
Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals
Sure to be controversial, Wild Justice offers not just cutting-edge science, but a provocative call to rethink our relationship with - and our responsibilities toward - our fellow animals.The book is published by The University of Chicago Press.


What the Critics Say

"Read this book, share it widely, and incorporate its lessons into your classroom, family room or board room." (Jane Goodall)
"One of the most fascinating - and readable - academic books of the year, this groundbreaking study gathers together some remarkable research about the way animals can show compassion and empathy and even have a sense of fair play." (Sunday Telegraph)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What Some Of Us Have Always Known...

My work in greyhound and horse rescue has shown me over the years something very clearly: animals understand a moral act done toward them (rescuing them from rugged and abusive situations), appreciate it, and return the favor in acts of protection, devotion and love. This book covers such aspects of four-legged morality as well as how animals care for, protect and sacrifice for each other. Several now famous studies have shown how voles are monogamous, vampire bats (yes!) practice reciprocal altruism (one bat has a bad night, a bat that had a good night will spit up some of his collected blood into the hungry bat's mouth--and later, the favor is returned when the tables are turned--yummy!), and I can tell you that horses instantly recognize a good person or a cruel one and remember a friend forever...and remember as well those who have done them a wrong turn at some point. From an evolutionary standpoint, it only makes sense. Neo-Darwinian sociologists stand in line these days to write books about how humans developed a sense of morality in order for the greater number of the group to survive due to group protection and caring and justice--why in the world would we think that other mammals had not developed the same tendencies in order to keep their species going as well?!
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- Douglas "College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey."

Beautiful and Strong

If you could sum up Wild Justice in three words, what would they be?


What did you like best about this story?

I love animals and have been reading up on animal behavior whenever I can. The best thing about this book is that Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce does not force their ideas on the reader. Although i share their opinions from the get go, I appreciate how they allowed the case studies, the wolves, apes, mice and coyotes to speak for themselves. You can see from the writing that they genuinely care about the topic at head, instead of just trying to sell you a point. They are able to bring each case study to life, and through relating it back to what we know about humans, allow the reader to truly make connections. Above all, they allow you to decide for yourself if animals really do have morals. Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce portray the animals in a way that few other writers on the subject can; and because of this, is able to build a connection between the animals and reader, and constantly have the reader questioning their believes about the subject without making it feel oppressive.

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- Elisa "You can learn as much from a terrible book as a brilliantly written one."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-16-2010
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks