March 7 2012 12:35 AM

Humanizing animals (or anthropomorphizing, in a word) may seem like the right thing to do. But unless we keep humans exceptional, what could happen?

Sure, calves are cute. Cows can be nice. And bulls might turn downright mean. But we should not begin treating them like humans.

Last week's Young Dairy Leaders Institute Class 7 learned more about the issue which is really an underlying goal of the animal rights movement. As we humanize animals, we don't elevate them to human status. Instead, we bring humans down to the animal status.

As we touched on last week in our blog about the book A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy: The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement, there are far larger games at stake than simply the way we talk about animals.

No sane person wants to injure an animal unless there is a justified benefit for all, and animals are used beyond companionship every day. Imagine a day with no animal research. How many lives would be lost without borrowing valves from pigs, testing vaccines, or testing current cancer treatments on animals? Animal products are used in a myriad of items; what would we lose due to a ban of all of them?

Remember to keep humans exceptional. Without knowing that our purpose is to care for animals while using them for human good, we slide down a slippery slope of pets being represented by lawyers and no legal beneficial use of animals whatsoever.