Did you know that whales, who sing across oceans; great apes, who share more than 98 percent of our DNA; sheep, who can recognize as many as 50 faces after not having seen them for two years; and pigs and chickens, who can learn to operate switches in order to control heat and light in factory-farm sheds, are feeling, intelligent individuals—not objects? Our language should reflect this. Let’s set the record straight: An animal is not an “it” or a “what.” An animal is a he or a she or a who.
When it comes to experiencing all life’s joys and sorrows, we are no different. We all bleed when we’re cut, cry out in pain when a loved one is taken too soon, enjoy a soft touch or a kind word, and feel the warmth of love when in the presence of close family members and friends. It’s time for us to extend the compassion that we expect for ourselves to nonhuman animals.