I appreciate two things about you so far: your honesty to speak your mind, even while your views may be challenged; and your willingness to respond graciously to challenges.
So with this statement: do you think there is a difference between sentience and self-awareness? Like, a mouse might feel pain; but does it know it is feeling pain? If they have this sort of self-awareness, wouldn’t that seem to put them in a category similar to a human who has a disability that doesn’t allow them to speak?
And similarly, if a stranger’s child and your own beloved dog were drowning in a pool, do we not have a moral obligation to save the child first, and doesn’t that speak to the child’s inherent value as being greater than our dog’s?