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However, I couldn’t help but feel that the Food Standards Agency was over-reacting a tad this week, when they issued a dramatic warning that many of us are gambling with our health through indifference and ignorance over what we eat.

For after being brought up from childhood with these stories, and after being as it were nursed by them from babyhood, we acquire certain opinions of the several animals and think of some of them as royal animals, of others as silly, of others as witty, and others as innocent.

Yet, without reference to some set of capacities as the basis of human worth, the intrinsic value of all human beings becomes an ungrounded assertion; a premise which needs to be agreed upon before any conversation can take place.

I remember leaving Singer’s lectures with a strange intellectual vertigo; I was committed to believing that universal human value was more than just a well-meaning conceit of liberalism.

For example, Disney's 1942 film Bambi portrays the titular deer as an innocent, fragile animal.

In any case, once they have entered the culture as widely recognized stereotypes of animals, they tend to be used both in conversation and media as a kind of shorthand for expressing particular qualities.