I'm about to take a controversial stand...Humans are more important than animals. "BUT, BUT innocent animal abuse!" "BUT, BUT, rescue dogs and fur is murder and poor living conditions and loss of habitat and..........Okay, shut it. No sane person in the history of the world is going to argue that the way we treat animals is either fair or just. The problem is that at some point the world made it a sin to choose species first. The present delusion is that if you care about yourself and like beings who are composed of similar DNA then you don't care about animals. This perception is simply untrue. In fact, a human activist loves one more species of animal than all other animal lovers, they love humans.
Here's an unsubstantiated statistic: A lot percent of animal activists hate humans. It seems that in order to be an open minded individual who believes in a cause you need to be able to target a group of people and judge them for their misdeeds. Without judgement there is no heft to an argument and thus you will only be left with the quiet works you accomplish in your life, without profit or recognition. With judgement however you can create a multitude of scenarios to feed your narcissism by publicly lambasting anyone who transgresses upon your "superior moral code."
Frankly, I am disgusted that a seemingly growing number of slack jawed yokels can sit and watch the morning news spouting tales of human disease, maiming, rape and murder while continuously cramming spoonfuls of cheerios into their mouths. Yet, if the news anchor happens to show a scene from a movie where a horse gets shot their eyes begin to well up with tears and their body swells with a sense of righteous indignation. "That poor innocent animal." they'll say "How could anyone be so cruel." they'll say.
The prevailing thought from an animal lover is that animals are at once completely innocent AND have no survival skills. Because of this, these humans have decided that animals will forever be babies and must be treated like them at all times. Yet dogs for example are scavengers who were able to thrive in the wild for thousands of years without human intervention or even a puppy snuggie. Secondly, animals for the most part are assholes. Countless animals on countless occasions have injured or killed other living creatures and people simply for sport. Further, how many days do you think that Fido would wait to feast on your bloated carcass if you stroked out on the kitchen floor and couldn't open his can of Alpo?
Any virtues or extreme intelligence that one could project onto an animal are merely extensions of narcissism. How much "universal understanding" can you really credit to an animal who only gets crapping outside correct 6 out of every 10 times? NEWSFLASH! we are on a dying planet circling a dying star with the certainty of annihilation looming over our heads. The only way to escape our fate is to draw up the plans for a spaceship to blast our collective asses into a new and thriving corner of the universe. Excuse me for not having faith in Fido to make the intellectual leap from Bark Bark! to super genius in time to save our souls.
Anedotally my dog doesn't know whether I have left the house for 5 minutes of 5 days she still greets me with the same excited look that says "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FOOD ROBOT? I'M STARVING!" Anecdotally my neighbors dog lost an eye and she spent a total of zero hours and zero minutes lamenting it. In fact, it is almost as if the dog has no idea that it's gone. She probably thinks "Boy it's a little dark on my left side...all of the time" but that's about it. We can theorize all day long about the emotional capacity of animals but we know for certain that humans young or old, small or tall are composed of delicate feelings that once violated can ruin their lives absolutely.
Would it not behoove us a species then to pay a little more concentrated effort on developing our own team? Every half wit who raises a pitbull for dog fights probably has an absent mother or an abusive father. People are rarely jerks for no reason. Certainly it may seem like a good idea to be an advocate for animals but it is only treating a symptom of a larger problem AND it is at the expense of human life. If you give a homeless man a dollar you might feel good about yourself because you "paid if forward" but you did nothing to change the infrastructure to support or change his life. You have satisfied an emotional need, an extension of your own narcissism so that you feel like you did something to better the world, but you didn't really. Remember, the people who are mistreating animals are most likely products of being mistreated themselves, a cycle that can only be stopped if we as a species stop abusing each other AND start taking care of each other first.