On one level, this (below) is just a cute video of a baby elk playing in a puddle. But it made me think.
I don’t think I will ever be 100% vegetarian, and I certainly have limited patience for people who seem to be more worried about saving animal lives than saving human lives, but the older I get the more I feel like there is some kind of sacred responsibility we owe to living creatures. Eating meat might not violate that trust, but mistreating animals (which is often a part of how we get more meat cheaper) certainly does.
I guess the only way I can describe it is say that while animals are not people, they are certainly not things either. A little creature that has a sense of enjoyment is a little creature that has a self in a way that, even if not human, is still important. To be honest, playing in a puddle is much more meaningful to me than traditional tests of intelligence. 1Also, I’m really fascinated by the fact that dolphins really do save people in danger, and sometimes other mammals too.)