Why do people not respect animals? Is it because they do not hold the intellect that we humans do? Or could it just be because we them as inferior to us? Either way, studies have shown that animals, especially those we have domesticated, show emotion and feelings towards humans and other animals.
There are plenty of stories of inter-species friendships, not only between humans and animals, but between those other animals. I have a personal experience with one of these relationships.
I live on a farm with my family and we have all kinds of animals—goats, cattle, pigs, a horse, and a donkey. The horse in particular, Buddy, is such a friendly guy and takes an interest in the other animals more than I've ever known an animal to. Recently, our cow, Electra, gave birth, and Buddy has taken a significant interest in the baby, Ajax. Buddy's pen runs right alongside Ajax and Electra's pen, and any time Ajax makes his way to the fence line, Buddy is right there to greet him. Buddy will follow the little calf up and down the fence line, trying to get his nose through the fence to sniff him and give him kisses. For a while, it worried me because horses tend to bite if they feel like being territorial, but after a few weeks, as Ajax became more and more active, Buddy took more and more of an interest.
Buddy also takes an interest in our goats. We have two mother goats right now, whose pen also is close to Buddy's. Buddy loves to reach his neck over the fence and give kisses to the goats as well, and it seems like Juno and Lollie (the goats) give kisses back. Lollie especially, being the affectionate and friendly goat she is, chases Buddy down the fence as well.
Another example of this kind of relationship on our farm is with our Australian Shepherd, Zeus. Zeus is the most playful dog I've ever met. He is sweet and affectionate and constantly wants attention. He has made close friends with our newest baby goat, Bella. The second Zeus is let out for a potty break or to just come visit the barn, he races towards Bella's pen. He and Bella chase each other around and sniff each other's noses. They love to play and run all around, Zeus even tries to give her his tennis ball, Bella doesn't ever take it of course, but it's the gesture that counts.
Now, after I have provided these few of many accounts of animal friendships, I would like to hit on some points of respecting animals.
I have come into contact with so many people who do not care about animals. "They're just animals" people say. But they aren't "just animals," they are living beings with feelings and the capabilities to make friends. Many animals are quite intelligent and learn things very quickly. Every single on my animals, and really all the animals on the planet, have their own unique personalities. They are beautiful and complex and deserve to be respected as the unique and exquisite beings they are.
And before you go telling me I am crazy, don't forget—humans are animals too. So the next time you go around saying that animals are dumb or abusing them or even treating them as less than they are, remember that your ancestors walked around on four legs and swung from the trees, so maybe you should treat the other creatures of this earth with the same respect you treat other humans with.