Animals think, reason, feel, care, love, nurture and mourn. They have the same emotions humans have. Humans still think they are superior, different; and eventually point to the Bible for confirmation. "See, it is written by men right here! We are specially made in God's image! We can do whatever we want with animals!"
Chimpanzees perform better on short term memory tests than humans; in that they are far superior. Fish are superior swimmers, cheetahs superior runners, eagles have superior eye sight; but humans think they are superior. Certainly we have some superior traits, such as our ability to build, use language (although we shortchange animals' own languages and are just beginning to realize even fish have great communication with each other), and our large brains have enabled complex reasoning, but we seem to have a long ways to go at times in that very area - reasoning. Yet, we think we are superior and when asked why, we end up pointing to the Bible. "Sure men wrote it but they were inspired by a supernatural God [who could not pick up a pen]. Men told us we were superior 2,000 years ago. We can skin animals alive if we need their fur."
The supernatural God of the Bible needed blood to quench his desire for death. He needed regular sacrifices, just as the gods before him needed a sacrifice from ancient people who feared and did not understand weather - who figured a sacrifice to please the gods would end their troubles. Animals have always been the victims of humans' fears, humans' viciousness, humans' ignorance. "But it says in the Bible we are superior. We have dominion - it says so and look how we have taken over. That is proof we can breed (rape) factory farm animals and imprison and torture them however we want."
And then one day, something hits us. It might be a case showing different types of hominid skulls. It might be a factory farm video. It might be a video such as The Pale Blue Dot. Something shows us our smallness. Something shows us there is a much grander life than the history of 2,000 years ago in one desert area in the Middle East. Something awakens our senses.
Once we look at human and hominid skulls and find we cannot tell where the dividing line is between the homo genus and ardi or australopithecus or other hominid skulls, we might wonder just how divided we really are. Once we realize our DNA is almost identical to chimpanzees, and we share the same elements as all of life, we broaden our horizons and awaken to nature and reality. Once we take a video trip to the outer reaches of our universe, looking at billions of galaxies and looking back through time to the microwave background, we realize the likelihood that we are not the only life forms and those other galaxies could not be made "just for us." Once we even just take an airplane ride and look down and notice humans begin to look like ants and act like ants, and then they disappear all together, we wonder how special our society really is.
We realize we are looking at our relatives every time we look out the window at a squirrel, bird or blade of grass. The beauty of time begins to fill our mind and we no longer feel superior, but a long dead conscience arises that says we have been wrong most of the time we have existed, and certainly in the past 2000 years. We can be kinder. We have the options to choose what we eat. We can share our land and our time on this earth with our fellow beings. We can buy less and preserve more. We can feel more and be more fulfilled by not acting superior but by using what skills of reasoning we have to help all of life.