Chuck and I recorded a podcast that should be out soon about the perception of time among animals and the issue of speciesim came up. Speciesism is just what it sounds like; it's the practice or sentiment of discrimination toward animals that aren't human. It sounds kooky, but the ramifications of speciesism has far-reaching impacts on the health and well-being of animals. Without the idea that animals lack souls or self-awareness using animals in laboratory experiments or developing human settlements on top of animal habitats would be tantamount to circumventing the Nuremberg code or continuing the Indian removal programs of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
I should point out that I am not an animal crusader. I do not pay dues or make donations to the ASPCA, PETA or ELF. I do take pains not to kill other things, but make exceptions for mosquitoes, flies and ticks. Yet, I still feel that somehow the loss of human life trumps the loss of an animal's life, perhaps because I identify with my own species more. Upon introspection, I find I tend to view the matter as all or nothing: if souls exist, then I think all sentient beings (and possibly non-sentient organic matter) possess them.