: What separates us from other animals is sentience and rationality.
Scrooge, do you follow scientific news? If so, you'd know that in recent years biologists have taken the position that gorillas, chimps, and orangutans are sentient and rational; there's anecdotal evidence that other animals such as dolphins and whales share these qualities as well. Birds use tools. Dogs show self-sacrificial behavior. The more we learn about other animals, and the further we get from primitive thinking such as yours that humans are separate and distinct from nature, the more we discover how much other animals have in common with us.
:Two pigs would not be able to have the same conversation as we are having at the moment. Nor is there any evidence I've seen that they would be able to even concieve the notions we discuss.
Neither would two babies, or two severely retarded human beings. Shall we experiment on them, or would you prefer to chase them with a pack of dogs to satisfy some sadistic urge of yours, O foxhunting champion?
: Certainly the issue of morality is not an animal one. I come back to my original point, dogs have always been pack hunters, it defines their niche, and therefore were dog packs still to roam in Europe or the USA, like timberwolves they would hunt deer or foxes. Dogs do not have some moral code preventing them eating other animals or indeed each other.
They'd hunt you down too, Scrooge. And, do you also want people to behave like predators? Hell, if dogs can randomly attack other animals, and therefore people can randomly attack other animals, maybe I'll attack you and steal your money. Law of the jungle goes both ways, Scrooge.
: We are separate from animals, while we are not separate from other human beings. Therefore comparing an act carried out by one human being on another, such as rape or murder, to that carried out by a human on an animal remains deeply offensive.
Which is it, Scrooge? Law of the jungle or law based on moral choices?
You can't have it both ways. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you prefer law based on morality. Since you accept that we humans can make moral choices, I challenge you to make the moral choice of showing compassion for animals.
: If you truly believe the two are equal, I challenge you to tell that to the next rape victim you meet.
Apples and oranges. I'd no sooner belittle a rape victim than I would dismiss the suffering of an animal abused by people (as in factory farming or fox hunting).