Yeah. I immediately want to save all those cats.
I think that part of my own equation -- probably again more yuk than morality-based -- is the more emotional an animal seems to be, the less inclined I am to eat it. And "seems" isn't incidental there -- something about how apparent the emotion is and whether I know how to read it.
Fish: no problem. Pigs: maybe they are actually as smart as dogs but their beady little eyes and stolid faces don't usually give it away. (Portuguese potbellied pigs with their waggy little tails are a bit different.) Cats: I can see how miserable those cats are in the picture and it brings out the nurture. (Nurture and prey don't go together well.)
Here's an elephant story I just saw retold.
It speaks to the enormously rich emotional life of the elephant, its capacity to be deeply traumatised, and its need for a long lasting attachment relationship and intense and loving social learning about what it means to be an elephant.
There have been several outbreaks of odd behaviour amongst elephants in various areas.
Here's one example:
In this park, elephants began killing rhinos. They were also becoming generally aggressive and were far more upset and frightened by life generally than elephants normally are.
The culprits turned out to be the young males, who were coming into musth much earlier than normal, and appeared to be attempting to mate with male rhino. When the rhino didn't co-operate, the males would become frustrated and kill them.
Why? Well, this park was stocked with elephants that were brought from other areas, where elephants were being culled.
Only young elephants could be brought, because adults were too big to transport.
The babies were darted, and then their mothers were shot and butchered before their eyes.
Now...the reactions of other elephants suggest very strongly that they become strongly affected by traumatic events. In Uganda, under Idi Amin, most park elephants were slaughtered for their ivory.....they used things like hand grenades . The people who cared for any babies they could find reported that the babies had intense nightmares, would not play, did not socialize normally.
Elephants appear to grieve for years, and have what appear to be mourning rituals that last for many years...eg stopping whenever they pass the bones of dead elephants...and, for those who were family members, stopping, sometimes for long periods and caressing and feeling the bones.
Adult and baby elephants that suffered in an intense "war" between elephant and Masai, when Masai people were protesting loss of their land to parks, also appear very affected.
Some of the matriarchs and their families have begun what appears to be a systematic campaign against Masai cows, killing them in large numbers.
So, we have a group of traumatised and unsocialized elephants in the game park I mentioned at the start of this post, where the young males were unsocialised and "lost" and became extremely aggressive.
The park sought help in understanding what was going on, and brought some mature males into the park.
No more rhino deaths.
I could never kill an elephant, except in self defense. Or eat one except if I were starving....because they they seem to me to complex and sensitive and intelligent. And it hurts their whole family when they die.
Is it right to privilege likeness to us?
I think the pig will be off my menu entirely very soon.
Even free range. They are too intelligent. I bet they are damned sensitive, too.
If they only had hands.
Who here could eat a chimpanzee, a gorilla, a monkey?