When I was a kid (early 20’s), I swore off red meat for about 3 years. Didn’t touch it. I remember explaining to my friends that I would not eat mammals because they were most intelligent. I eat red meat now, but still try to avoid it mostly because it’s worse for the environment. When I eat red meat, it’s usually when there are leftovers from a MOM’s store- my rationale being that it was going to be given away and consumed anyway (we donate leftover food to the homeless).
At some point, the lines became blurred for me regarding the “intelligence” of animals. I have many animals at my house- a dog, a cat, 3 fish tanks, 2 snakes, a beehive, and a bat box. The most intelligent behaving of all of these animals in my opinion are the bees. They work together as a true community / team. They actually convey the location of nectar by doing a sort of dance- their own version of sign language. How the hell is that message created and conveyed, anyway?!?!- and why haven’t we been able to decipher it yet?
And a bee is only an insect.
My dog is very emotional, so I enjoy her the most. My cat is an amazing predator- I can’t think of a finer predator on this planet than a feline, so I admire her the most. My snakes make me think of evolution- they are such strange creatures- how they move without legs and eat. And the bats- the only flying mammals, catching their prey using sonar!
And to have fish is so serene. My 6 year old calls her tank “fish TV”. She leaves the tank light on at night because she says they relax her when she’s feeling scared. It’s true. Watching fish swim around is close to meditation- and they remind me of the 75% of this planet that is under water and how I have a piece of that ecosystem in my house.
Life at every level is amazing.