If we want a better world for all species – including humans-we need to change the way we view and treat animals. This sounds like a reasonable argument to make. Yet, ordinarily we would stay away from this argument. Stick with us while we explain why:
Our treatment of animals reflects the way we think about them, and vice versa. When we (humans) condone, allow, support and/or profit from the imprisonment, subjugation and mass murder of animals, we are evidently not thinking of, nor treating animals very well. A major part of the problem is that we think of humans as completely separate from (other) animals. Doing otherwise risks being seen as overly sentimental, immature and possibly a crackpot. The maintenance of the human/animal binary (or opposition) is an effective way of silencing dissent against the inferiorisation of animals, allowing humans to convince them/ourselves that it is legitimate to use animals as resources, as objects.
This cultural inferiority of animals is so ideologically normalised that we often do not think about it, nor usually question it: it simply is. Culturally we see this everywhere. For example, when assumptions are made that animals-all animals, irrespective of species or complexities of habitat-are intellectually inferior; that their lives don't matter as much as ours because they are not as emotional, or because they don't have family ties like we do, or because they don't live as long as we do .... This is just the start of a possible list of justifications made to allow humans to cast animals as commodities from whom we can make a profit. Commodifying them, in turn, objectifies them – they become "its", "things", not individuals, not subjects. This then loops back around to the normalisation of their treatment – it's OK to kill and eat them because they are just "things".