I heard from someone today that there is apparently a difference between being willing to kill a cat or a dog and being willing to kill a human being. Now, that's where being a Buddhist for the past 42 years or so makes me different from the community that surrounds me. I do not see a difference, and I doubt I ever will.
While I respect that other people have different viewpoints about life, that does not mean that I feel bound to agree with them. In my own (very personal)view, the life of a cat, dog, or any other animal has as much value as that of a human life. I make no distinctions between them. There is no objective system of weights and measures that I put on the value of a life.
I much prefer my own view simply because I have been a student of history all my life and have seen human beings justify the murder of other human beings simply by dictating that they are something less than human. When causing a death is justified simply by how you define your victim, then that's not a good thing in my opinion. You know, there's a reason so many serial killers start with small animals. It's honing their skills without so much risk. After all, our society doesn't really value those victims.
I hit a deer about two years ago. I was going the speed limit in the middle of the day, and whammo ... suddenly there was a deer on the hood of my car. I raced to the nearest phone to call for help and waited until there was someone there who could put the poor deer out of its misery. I still feel awful that, accident or not, I had to be the cause of that death. For most of the people I know here in Texas, the main concern for them seems to be how much it cost to repair the car. That's the point at which I realize that I now live in a part of the world where I will probably never fit in.
However, if becoming a "real Texan" means abandoning all that I believe about life and death, then I'll pass on that honor. I'll just live here without the title, and go on doing my best to help animals that others have abused or abandoned. Although, I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a lot of people who live in Texas who feel the same way as I do ... and I hope a whole bunch of them start moving into this area ... and soon.