Well, that’s a pretty contradictory outlook to have, because many animals have a higher intellectual level than a lot of humans do at certain stages of life. We do not possess “higher consciousness” as a whole because our levels of individual consciousness are constantly varying, just as non-human animals’ levels of intellect are. To say that because someone is human means they are guaranteed to be of a higher intellect than any non-human animal is entirely false. Pigs are smarter than three year old children and even dogs. Animals like elephants, chimps, and dolphins have shown higher intelligence than many humans. There are countless animals that display signs of intelligence above certain humans and they experience a lot of things the same as we do.
Not every single person has a higher consciousness than animals do, and even if that were true it’s no reason to kill them. To say that every human is automatically of a higher consciousness is anthropocentric in nature and flat out incorrect. It’s also impossible to measure a non-human animal’s “intellect” or “consciousness” completely because those are human concepts, based on human scales and human perceptions, and they aren’t human. How can we expect them to have the same experiences and levels of intellect as humans when they are not human? It’s like begrudging a blind person for not being able to read. You can’t condemn animals for not being on our exact same level of consciousness because they aren’t humans and it’s physically impossible for them to have the exact same qualities we do. That does not make them unintelligent or below us simply because they are different, and it doesn’t mean their lives are insignificant just because they aren’t entirely the same as us on every level. It just means they have slightly different perceptions, but it doesn’t make our own superior. They still exhibit countless experiences that are almost identical to our own, and we know that they are conscious and emotional beings who value their own lives as much as we do. When you try to harm or kill an animal, they will do everything in their power to defend themselves and sometimes even their family members. Many of them grieve over the loss of humans or other animals, and they express emotions like sadness, fear, depression, and anxiety. It’s pretty apparent that while some humans may be of a slightly higher consciousness, that does not negate their own levels of consciousness and deplete their own awareness of their lives and others’.
You wouldn’t discriminate against a human being who is mentally handicapped, why? Probably because you know that said person values their own life and they deserve freedom the same as anyone else regardless of their level of intellect. Why do you only extend that courtesy to humans? What makes humans so much more worthy of your compassion than non-human animals? You didn’t choose to be human, just like you didn’t choose to be whatever race you are or whatever gender you are. So if you wouldn’t discriminate against other races or genders, why do you discriminate against other species? It really is no different of a concept. Humans are not inherently more valuable or worthy of life than any other sentient being is, just like no race is more important than another. You only believe that because it’s what you’ve been taught to think since birth, but if you actually took a second to evaluate it from a non-anthropocentric view you’d see that it really is such an illogical concept with no ground to stand on.