When we say that we are more evolved than another (person, cow, dog, whale, chimpanzee, black, white, etc.) we diminish the “other” at the core of their being. I think of language I remember from reading various books, “I’ll do with my slave what I want”, “they are just Indians”, and then there was the whole Halocaust thing.
My wife and I work with a dog rescue and I cringe at the number of times I’ve seen dogs that are treated so poorly, because apparently “they are just dogs.” I worry about any children in those pet owner’s lives because after all they are “only children.” This is not to say that I don’t value a human over an animal, say a dog, but I am saying that I have just as much respect for a dog’s life as I do another humans life, and to me, both lives figure into decisions that involve both lives. In fact I sometimes find myself having less respect for humans than dogs, because humans have the capacity to know better.
I feel that for someone to say, or even think, that they are more evolved than a dog, cat, fish, or especially another human, likely precedes, and often attempts to justify an action that harms or otherwise takes advantage of them. Dehumanization has long been a part of war, genocide, abuse, negect, or “harvesting” species to extinction, or near extinction.
And yes, I am saying that we can dehumanize animals… think about it.