"Very important. General rule for English speakers - if you don’t do it in the human context, don’t do it in the nonhuman context.
Just make a little effort to say “she or he” or “her or him” if you don’t know the sex. It’s a little effort with a very important social message.
Nonhuman animals are *persons*, not *things*. Therefore, we should refer to a nonhuman animal as a “she” or “he,” never as an “it.””
Personhood is a very slippery slope that we have not clearly defined yet. The first legal definition of a person was provided by India and its ruling for all dolphins to be non-human persons; with the definition now being an umbrella over humans and smaller toothed cetaceans.
Animals don’t care for your societal-based ‘justice’ ramblings. They care about more fundamental things, more direct things. It’s true that as EQ builds with emotional capacity and dimensional behavior, but the figure of animals with an EQ substantial enough to warrant even the most abstract thought of identity is ridiculously small.
So stop over-exaggerating and apply your opinions of gender roles and identities to humans, since as it stands we’re the only animals who can really give a crap about titles.