I am not completely convinced the recent New York Times piece "The Enigma of Animal Suffering" by Rhys Southan is not a performative over-identification with its own arguments in order to display an untenable position. Barring this scenario, I'll respond to its arguments and conclusions at face value.
The central pivot of "The Enigma of Animal Suffering" is its contention that making an analogy between animal suffering and human suffering is an illicit one. In short, that such analogies are unsound or simply anthropomorphic projections. Nevertheless, at no point in the piece does the author offer an argument expressing exactly how or why such analogies are illicit. By and large, it remains a tacit presumption. Consider this passage:
Our perception of the external, of disturbing images or scenes, is sometimes a projection of our own feelings as observers; it does not match what the subjects of such treatment actually experience.
While it is true that humans have been known to project their own baggage onto others, nothing in this scenario of "disturbing images or scenes" would point to this being the case here. René Descartes could interpret dog screams as automatic and mechanical, but we cannot do so today without falling into bad faith. You do not need to be a speculative realist to affirm that forms of life who share with you eyes, nerve endings, ambulation, limbic systems, communication, forms of kinship, blood, and sexual drive overlap with you in some way.