Lessons on Love From PETA Founder’s New Book, ‘Animalkind’

For Immediate Release:
February 7, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk‘s new book, Animalkind, offers an entire section on “The Intricacies of Love”—an exploration of the many ways that different animals show affection to one another. Here are some facts:

  • While the U.S. divorce rate hovers around 40% to 45%, 95% of swans remain bonded for life. In fact, more than 90% of bird species are monogamous, including pigeons and geese, while chimpanzees (and many other mammals, for that matter) are notoriously promiscuous.
  • When courting, male and female whales gently touch their flippers, then begin a slow caressing motion. They roll against each other, locking their flippers, and roll upward, lying side by side, before diving and surfacing together in unison. If the female is not impressed with the male’s move, she breaks off their aquatic dance in search of a more graceful partner.
  • To attract a mate, a male puffer fish flaps his fins and swims in a circular motion, carving the sandy sea bottom into precise peaks and valleys. Despite being only 5 inches long, over the course of 10 days, he uses his body to create elaborate circles that measure up to 7 feet in diameter and decorates the edges with shells and coral fragments.
  • Densely packed with sensitive nerve endings, elephant trunks contain over 40,000 muscles and play a central role in communication; an African elephant will use her trunk to stroke a sick or grieving loved one, engage in a friendly game of trunk wrestling with a friend, and gently entwine it with a mate’s during courtship—just as humans might hold hands.
  • Male boobies offer gifts to potential mates, such as small stones, and will even pluck out their own feathers to offer as well. Love can hurt—throughout the animal kingdom.
  • After breeding, prairie vole parents remain together for life, guarding their offspring zealously and offering each other comfort during stressful moments.
  • Albatrosses will dance with partner after partner until they find their favorite. It can take years, but the wait is worth it, for they almost always remain together for life—which, for these seabirds, can mean more than 50 years.

The book offers even more insights into familial love (orangutan mothers will nurse their young up to their ninth birthday, and grown orangutans will continue to visit their mothers well into adulthood), grief (dogs are known to seek out their guardians’ graves), and friendship (rhesus monkeys in laboratories would starve themselves rather than subject their friends to electrocution).

Written in collaboration with bestselling Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone, Animalkind also explores animal communication and the ways animals navigate their environments, outlines the many ways our modern world is leaving animal exploitation in the dust, and details easy steps that we can all take to help make the world a kinder place. Anjelica Huston describes it as “the book to buy, read, and give to others so that everyone finally sees why they should respect and cherish all animals.”

More information from the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, is available here.

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