I found this in The Sexual Politcs of Meat and it brings up some good points...
Language is a powerful tool. The words we choose do more than name or describe things; they assign status and value. Be careful, then, how you choose words that refer to non-human animals, for you may be using expressions that maintain prejudices against them.
Referring to a non-human animal as "it" strips him or here of dignity and perpetuates the view that other animals are objects, inferior things or property.
Referring to people who share their homes and lives with non-human animals as "owners" or "masters" connotes slavery, and we should be uncomfortable with that connotation. Friends, companions or protectors is preferable.
Avoid calling other animals "living things." They are living beings.
Refer to non-domestic animals as free or free-roaming, not "wild" or "wildlife."
When referring to animal suffering and death caused by human action, use painfully explicit words that reveal the true facts. "Euthanize," "put to sleep," "sacrifice" and "destroy" are favorites of animal researchers (and some animal control people) while "cull," "harvest," "manage" and "thin the herd" are favorites of hunters, trappers, and their ilk. These words mean kill, so say kill.
Guilty people try to cover up their horrifying cruelties against, and backward exploitation of, non-human animals with deceptive euphemisms like the ones above. Say it like it is, and correct others when they don't, so that people will realize the true nature and full extent of the suffering we inflict on other living beings.
Watch out, too, for expressions that convey contempt for animals. "Son-of-a-*****," "bird-brain," and "hare-brain" are insults at the expense of animals. Think of alternatives to calling a person a "snake," "turkey," "ass," "weasel," "chicken," "dog" or the like.
Liberate your language, for it's an important step to liberating animals!
- By Noreen Mola and The Blacker Family
Animal's Agenda 6, no. 8, October 1986, p. 18