So I am working on blogging more about my adopted cat, Pepper, right now, and I still keep seeing people deny that humans are animals. I find this troubling, not because they deny this very basic and well known fact, but their reasons.
Every time someone denies that humans are animals it's either "god dunnit" or "aliens dunnit." The problem is that neither of these would change this very basic fact even if true. Humans are animals by definition, life is broken up into kingdoms for scientific categorizing and we are categorized as animals because of our physiological traits.
Now for the psychoanalysis of this cognitive dissonance. The primary reason people want to deny that we're animals is not because they want to feel superior, but because they want to reason away their guilt. This means that they have, at some point in their life, needlessly harmed another animal.
This notion is more frightening for us who do not harm without a valid justification, because since we are animals, those same people are just as capable of harming another human. It does not take much to see that we are animals, and the denial is only a thin barrier, so once that barrier is pierced they become a danger to others of their own species if they do not feel guilt after realizing they were wrong.
For us friends of nonhuman animals, it's also worrisome in many other ways. These particular humans can use their "we aren't animals" excuse to hurt our best friends and the other animals we cherish, and many do. To make it clear, I am not against harming when there is a need, so long as it is as humanely as possible, I am speaking about all needless harm and torture of other animals.
One day our technology will advance enough that we will need to harm not other organisms, even plants, to survive. The problem is that most of the harm we do is unnecessary for our survival, and many times this harm endangers the entire species. To make matters worse, many of the people who do these things are proud of it.
Let's look at trophy hunting, the horrible act of cowardly shooting an animal that is trapped, from a distance. There is no courage in these people, no skill, no strength of any kind. They are cowards, weaklings, and generally useless even for humans. Being a boxer takes courage, even staged wrestling takes courage, but to fire a gun at an unarmed animal from hundreds of yards away does not take courage.
Karate takes skill, fencing takes skill, soccer takes skill, but using a high powered rifle with long range scope to fire at an imprisoned animal does not take any skill. This is actually a sign of how little skill you have, the scope does all the work now. Video gamers have way more skill than that, and most have never killed a fly ... too busy to swat one.
An iPhone user carrying an iPad and wearing an iWatch is wealthy. Someone driving a new, completely electric, fine tuned sports car is wealthy. Someone who climbs Mount Everest every summer is wealthy. But a trophy hunt is not a sign of wealthy, it's a sign of arrogance compared to the others.
Bill Gates donates large amounts of his money to charity, we know he's wealthy and we praise him for his deeds. Try doing something good with your money if you can't at least be trendy with it, instead of showing us how much of a coward you are.