Which is a line from Starship Troopers. Not the cheesy movie, but the Heinlein novel. The protagonist is sitting in OCS, and his instructor asks him how many POW/MIAs are worth resuming a war for. When the protagonist insists that one does not leave a man behind, the instructor says the student doesn’t know the worth of a man, that it makes no sense to kill more to save a few. The protagonist is claiming that one potato is equal to a hundred potatoes. “Sir, men are not potatoes.” is the answer.
This and this put me in mind of that statement. Men are not potatoes, and pets are not people. It really does seem that some folks see no moral difference between animals and humans. I know my animals don’t treat me the way they do out of concern for my autonomy and well being. I know they would happily eat my decaying body if there was nothing else around, and if Tinker were ten times larger than he is I would be his cat toy. A thing is what it is.