When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.
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All of us in society are supposed to believe that cruelty to animals is wrong and that it is a good thing to prevent needless suffering. So if that is true, how can meat be acceptable under any but the most extraordinary circumstances, such as perhaps roasting the bird who died flying into a window?
Every animal has his or her story, his or her thoughts, daydreams, and interests. All feel joy and love, pain and fear, as we now know beyond any shadow of a doubt. All deserve that the human animal afford them the respect of being cared for with great consideration for those interests or left in peace.