By heavens! There is something after all in the world allowing one man to steal a horse while another must not look at a halter. Steal a horse straight out. Very well. He has done it. Perhaps he can ride. But there is a way of looking at a halter that would provoke the most charitable of saints into a kick.
What is the bottom line for the animal/human hierarchy? I think it is at the animate/inanimate line, and Carol Adams and others are close to it: we eat them. This is what humans want from animals and largely why and how they are most harmed. We make them dead so we can live. We make our bodies out of their bodies. Their inanimate becomes our animate. We justify it as necessary, but it is not. We do it because we want to, we enjoy it, and we can. We say they eat each other, too, which they do. But this does not exonerate us; it only makes us animal rather than human, the distinguishing methodology abandoned when its conclusions are inconvenient or unpleasant. The place to look for this bottom line is the farm, the stockyard, the slaughterhouse. I have yet to see one run by a nonhuman animal.
A is a slave, and a wasted slave, doing stupid and largely unnecessary work. He is kept at work, ultimately, because of a vague feeling that he would be dangerous if he had leisure. And educated people, who should be on his side, acquiesce in the process, because they know nothing about him and consequently are afraid of him.
There is a higher form of hierarchy and that is the hierarchy of the spirit. When I stand in front of a person, I stand in front of a soul and I have met magnificent souls in bodies possessing no money, as well as parched and shallow souls in bodies bathed in riches. In the same light, I have met magnificent souls in bodies bathed in wealth, as well as parched and shallow souls in bodies that are impoverished. I am tired of people busying their minds with hierarchy based upon money, because this form of hierarchy is primitive; meanwhile there is an altogether higher form of hierarchy that is of the soul. As you judge man and woman based upon their riches, I laugh at your primitive form of judgment! When I stand in front of a human, I stand in front of a soul.
Our economic order is tightly woven around the exploitation of animals, and while it may seem easy to dismiss concern about animals as the soft-headed mental masturbation of people who really don't understand oppression and the depths of actual human misery, I hope to get you to think differently about suffering and pain, to convince you that animals matter, and to argue that anyone serious about ending domination and hierarchy needs to think critically about bringing animals into consideration.