Scientific research over the last ten years is heavily towards animals experiencing a range of emotions. Obviously emotion hard to prove because they can't speak to us and this is one of the biggest arguments of those who say they dont experience emotions. You can research that pretty fast if you care to online.
Its pretty clear to me that when a dog is happy he wags his tail and when he is unhappy his tail goes between his legs. When a cat swishes his tail he is not happy and so on...thats animal emotion at the most basic level we see every day.
MC I think we have more capacity as humans to understand things like cruelty, we are not cave men anymore. Maybe it is human nature to do things like that, but then they bring in a lot of laws around the world to combat things that are human nature. Human nature doesnt make it good. Greed for example put the world into an economic spin for the last 5 years and that is human nature that has now (banking) had various laws applied to it.
We have more capacity of thought, but that doesn't stop an astonishingly large amount of people from doing it anyways, because it's human nature. You're telling people that because they are acting like humans, they are cruel to animals or whatever. Well, if acting like humans is cruel to animals, maybe we are cruel to animals? So is every other species of animal in the whole entire world.
There's a serious reason why such a large group of people still hunt and kill animals when it's not necessary, and that reason isn't because we have twisted morals, it's because it's in our nature to do so. In fact, quite the opposite - we know that hurting animals for no reason is wrong that's why there are laws against it. Hunting, however, is a part of our natural instincts and we have created a system that allows for it while proving a service bonus (population control, materials, food) and in a quick way so the animal doesn't suffer much.
People have hunted animals since the beginning of our existence, that isn't going away. Just be glad we have put in place a current system that keeps the animal from suffering, keeps things so that we don't overkill (except for poachers which is illegal), and that we make good use of the animal after it's dead.