Language has always been said to be one of the key differences between humans and animals, but I find it fascinating that we use the tool of language itself to emphasize this difference even more. This is not surprising I guess, as language, however useful and necessary, is certainly not neutral. Just as any kind of research can never be truly neutral as choosing the very questions we try to answer already influences the end result. What exactly am I trying to get at here? The fact that we use the terms human and animal even though humans ARE animals. Mammals to be exact. Now I fall into the same trap and use those terms myself, but I think it wouldn't hurt to remind ourselves once in a while that non-human animal is the more accurate, if cumbersome, term. I wonder too if part of the reason we do this is to try and put even more distance between ourselves and thereby create more of an "us and them" situation. Having said that, there's also the danger of anthropomorphizing and arguing that we're the same when clearly we're not. While both human animals and non-human animals have at least some capacity to reason, feel emotion, and experience self-awareness, the type and degree differ between the two. But, they both experience pain and suffering (often at the hands of each other), and no manipulation of language can erase that.