Barbara J King | Grief and Love in the Animal Kingdom


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By Lisa Keefauver, MSW, Lisa Keefauver, and MSW. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Lisa was joined by Biological Anthropologist and author, Barbara J King, for an eye-opening and compassionate conversation about grief and love in the animal kingdom. They explored how Barbara has come to understand grief in the animal kingdom, how finding compassion for animals helps us be more compassionate to our fellow humans, and why this perspective requires us to call into question some of our most fundamental beliefs and behaviors.

The author of seven books, including the new Animals’ Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild, Barbara focuses on animal emotion and cognition, the ethics of our relationships with animals, and the evolutionary history of language, culture, and religion. Her book How Animals Grieve has been translated into 7 languages and her TED talk on animal love and grief has now received over 3 million views.

Episode Resources

Barbara tweets about animals, science, and books @bjkingape.

Visit Barbara’s website

How Animals Grieve by Barbara J King

Grief and Love in the Animal Kingdom TED Talk

Animals Best Friends by Barbara J King

Jump straight into:

(03:38) - Barbara’s first experiences with grief - “It struck me very much how it seemed a little bit unwelcome to show that emotion and my parents didn't completely shy away from it, but yet it didn't seem completely natural either.”

(08:17) - Growing stronger in conviction and the cross-cultural variations of grief - “What we do in the United States, our overarching culture and our overarching traditions of tamping down our grief expressions, physically and emotionally is not the only way.”

(11:30) - Are humans exceptional? Barbara’s work with animal grief - “Animals need to see other’s bodies in order to get closure.”

(22:02) - Is grieving only a mammalian behavior? - “We don't necessarily expect to see grief and spiders or frogs or trout. This does not mean we shouldn't look, because of course 20, 30 years ago, we didn't think we would be seeing it in the variety of animals we're seeing it in now. “

(27:03) - The importance of having compassion for the animal experience

(39:49) - From researcher to animal activist: Barbara’s journey to animal compassion

(44:36) - Climate grief: How to turn compassion into action

If you’re feeling social, don’t forget to follow Lisa @reimagininggrief on Instagram. Our host, Lisa Keefauver, offers a variety of services and products that will help you find language when you’re at a loss for words. To learn more visit

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39 episodes