Marc Bekoff to Discuss Animal Ethics and Emotions

Marc BekoffWhen

February 7
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Reception and book-signing to follow


UNM School of Law Forum


Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, will focus on animal rights in a broad-based discussion that will include a look at animal emotions, conservation ethics and how individuals can make a difference in the lives of animals, both domesticated and wild. The title of his talk is, "Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Reflections on Redecorating Nature."

He will discuss how animals feel when they are used or abused by humans, along with ethical issues surrounding the re-introduction of species, such as the Mexican gray wolf in the Southwest and the lynx in Colorado.

"There are important ethical questions we need to ask when we move an animal from one place to another and how we should balance the interests and rights of individual animals for the good of their species," he says. "And should we be killing goats that eat native plants, or brown rats on islands off California because they kill off native species?"

During his lecture, Bekoff will talk about the strength of the human-animal bond in general and offer suggestions for how individuals can make the world a better place for animals, both domestic and wild.

"My major conclusions will be that we need to increase compassion and empathy in the world through our `compassion footprint,'" he says. "We need to make room for and co-exist with other animals."

Bekoff's main areas of research include animal behavior, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds) and behavioral ecology. He has published extensively on animal issues, including more than 200 papers and 18 books. During his talk, he will draw from his recent books: The Emotional lives of animals, Animals Matter, Listening to Cougar and the four-volume Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration of our Connections with Animals, which he edited. The books will be on sale at the talk.

He is co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and is a former Guggenheim Fellow. He has appeared as a commentator on national television news shows.

The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with UNM faculty representing a range of disciplines. Co-sponsors of the lecture are: the UNM School of Law, UNM Office of Research Compliance-IACUC, the UNM Biology Department, UNM Deputy Provost’s Office, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, Vegetarians and Vegans of UNM and UNM Foreign Languages and Literature Department.