Lessons on Love From Swans, Whales, Voles, and More in PETA Founder’s Book

For Immediate Release:
February 7, 2023

Norfolk, Va. – With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, anyone looking for romantic inspiration can look to other animals, from whales who seduce one another through dance to fish who create masterful works of art for the objects of their affection. It’s all laid out in PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s book Animalkind, which offers an entire section on “The Intricacies of Love,” including the following facts:

  • Only 45% of Americans are married—and 14% get divorced—but 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.
  • Elephant trunks are densely packed with sensitive nerve endings, contain over 40,000 muscles, and play a central role in communication. African elephants use their trunk to stroke a sick or grieving loved one or engage in a friendly game of trunk wrestling with a friend, and they gently entwine it with that of a prospective mate during courtship—just as humans might hold hands.
  • Male boobies offer gifts, such as small stones, to potential mates and 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 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.

Animalkind also offers insights into familial love (grown orangutans continue to visit their mothers well into adulthood), grief (dogs are known to seek out their guardians’ graves), and friendship (rhesus monkeys in laboratories prefer to starve themselves rather than subject their friends to electrocution), and it details easy steps that everyone can take to show a little love to animals long after Valentine’s Day has passed.

PETA—whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind