There’s a great interview in Yes! Magazine with Joel Salatin, self-described as a “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic.” Check it out HERE. I finally learned why the farmer down the road (who is a veterinarian) sends the chickens into the yard after the cows graze there.
Salatin: Honoring the pig-ness of the pig establishes a moral and ethical framework on which we build respect for the Mary-ness of Mary and the Tom-ness of Tom. It is how we respect and honor the least of these that creates an ethical framework on which we honor and respect the greatest of these.
A culture like ours–that views plants and animals as inanimate piles of protoplasmic structure to be manipulated however cleverly we, in our hubris, can imagine–will soon view its citizens and other cultures in the same kind of disrespectful way.