I wrote this about two years ago but never found a place to put it. Now it has a home.
Many people have a passive arrogance and think that we humans are better than animals or so much different than them. It's understanding of course that the people who still think inside the box will think that we are so much different from animals because we invented cars, sports, lip balm, and toilet paper. However, if you think about it, the ONLY difference between humans and animals are that humans are more advance, most of us anyway (and no, not advanced evolutionarily). It's not a unique pattern. Gorillas are more advanced than chickens. Chickens are more advanced than bacteria living in the feces of a third world economy plane passenger. "Advanced," in this respect refers to idea that a particular creature is capable of more than another. We can make a paper hat, microbes cannot.
Now let's analyze this even more and go farther down the rabbit hole than what is necessary. Some people claim that animals don't think or don't have a consciousness. Obviously, clearly, and easily noted, this is a complete made up concept. They may not have a consciousness which is too COMPARABLE to that of a human, but it is there nevertheless. Don't believe me? Try pretending like you are going to punch a dog in the nose. He will flinch and back away OR get pissed off and attack you. If you want to blame that on "natural reflexes" then let's start calling it a natural reflex whenever we purchase a pack of gum when we think our breath is not appealing.
They say animals don't have souls like humans do. Ok let's think about this. Who claims that we have souls anyway? What does it look like? Where is it located? Can it be removed and tampered with? Can it REALLY be sold to the devil? No one has any tangible evidence of the soul so we just assume that we have them. So, I'm in a generous mood, so I will grant this notion that we have souls. What about animals? Who says animals don't have souls? If they did, we wouldn't be able to see them just like you can't in humans. Some people claim that they can "see the soul" in the eyes of people who are scared, worried, happy, or some other emotion. Well the next time you hear that, try looking into the eyes of a puppy who has been abused and has been left starving. You will see some interesting emotions in his expression.
This leads me to my next point- emotion. People say that animals don't have emotion. Yes they do. It varies from animal to animal (humans included in the animals). Emotions are simply more advanced natural reactions to outside stimulants. Someone burns your child at the stake, you get angry. Lets look at the animal kingdom. You just happen to wander up to a lions den and feel it would be a good idea to kick one of the lion's cubs like a football into a large hole filled with sharp rocks. The mother will get pissed off and try to bite your face off. You call it instinct? Hey guess what, emotion IS instinct. Desire, happiness, anger, sadness, envy- they are all instincts taking place far in the back of the mind.
With all this said, it is not meant to change the behaviour of humans toward animals. It is not meant to make a person think twice before strapping a pack of fireworks to the neck of an elephant. Keep in mind, humans still abuse each other. Humans are scientifically classified in the ANIMAL kingdom. They don't have their own kingdom. We are animals, perhaps maybe it's time we start acting like it?