Attitudes shown toward animals — e.g. those chefs who can’t wait to serve foie gras from tortured geese — are just the tip of the iceberg of humans callously causing terrible suffering to animals.
As mentioned, Jeremy Bentham’s quote — “It isn’t just a matter of whether they think or not; it’s whether they can suffer” — is what’s important. It also has been proved that animals think and feel on a level far higher than ever thought possible. And yet, we still torture them — for food, products, entertainment, sport and research.
If many people could see and know the terrible suffering animals are put through by humans, they would fight it. Why do we need to take baby monkeys from their mothers and torture them to see how long it takes for them to go mad? Our tax dollars fund this sort of “research.”
Some years ago, a 3-year-old boy fell into a zoo gorilla pit, and while everyone waited breathlessly, a mother gorilla went to the child, carefully lifted him into her arms, then carried him to the door so humans could get to him quickly. You wonder which species is higher in care, compassion and thought.