There's this exceedingly weird trait in our society whereby if you are heavily sympathetic to the plight of the natural world and you value non-humans too highly you are seen as a sort of weak 'species traitor.' On a veneer level at least, we remain suspicious of placing value on other lives, as if it somehow threatens our own. This sort of speciesism is another relict hangover of our initial struggle for dominance and will one day, hopefully, be perceived as redundant.
These may just be the unenlightened dark ages of our relationship with the planet. The future will see a level of understanding, identification and biophilia that we can't yet anticipate, for this is what truly makes us human. Our consciousness will gradually expand and open to the unique, highly-complex and often far more advanced societies that exist in tandem with our own. The treatment of these worlds within our worlds will be how we are eventually to be reckoned, it will be the difference between life and death. The dumb animal, we will deduce, is simply us. Mercy, respect and grace in the treatment of those weaker than us will define our evolution, or lack of it.
This weekend just gone I went snorkelling with a friend and my wife. He carried a spear and, whilst diving deep, I heard its unmistakable twang. He'd shot a cuttlefish, through the top of the familiar bone, slightly below the brain. It was magnificent, green phosphorescence burning on its skin, mottled frills and tentacles pulsing, spraying clouds of ink as it tried in vain to escape. He slit its head off with a hunting knife and we ate it on the deck of the boat, this odd creature. James Wood, a scientist obsessed with cephalopods, imagined an intelligence test designed for humans, by an octopus: "So the octopus thinks: 'All right. I 'm going to make an intelligence test for humans, because they show a little bit of promise, in a very few ways.' And the first question the octopus comes up with is this: How many colour patterns can your severed arm produce in one second?"