I feel animal in my embodiment, and this feeling is one of connection, not shame. Recognizing my animality has in fact been a way of claiming the dignity in the way my body and other non-normative and vulnerable bodies move, look, and experience the world around them. It is a claiming of my animalized parts and movements, an assertion that my animality is integral to my humanity. It’s an assertion that animality is integral to humanity. (Sunaura Taylor)
Animals make powerful insults precisely because we have imagined them as devoid of subjective and emotional lives that would obligate us to have responsibilities toward them. Animals are a category of beings that in the Western tradition we have decided that we rarely, if ever, have duties toward—we can buy them, sell them, and discard them like objects. To call someone an animal is to render them a being to whom one does not have responsibilities, a being that can be shamelessly objectified.
Perhaps we need to ask how we can assert both our humanity and our animality. How do those of us who have been negatively compared to nonhuman animals assert our value as human beings without implying human superiority or denying our own animality?