First domesticated animals learned how to show "affection" or 'Kindness" as a tool to manipulate humans it was an evolutionary trait. Second the junk science on the use of anxiety animals is an overly abused entitlement that will cause more problems then its worth. Just watch how airline travel will change to accommodate these people. It has been my experience that "cat people" or "dog people" are not very good "people people". Finally the people that put animal life's more import then human life need to have their head examined. For example the child that fell into the gorilla pit in Cincinnati. The outrage of the death of the gorilla was sickening.
I am not advocating for animal abuse but that society needs to understand what animal welfare is and recognize what and where animals being in society.
Animals and humans both understand love. At times it seems animals understand what love is more than humans. Putting less importance on animals could also supply us with less meats at the markets. Those animals are tended to carefully as well to ensure good meat. Animals have the right of protection just as humans do.
We do not place too much importance on animals by a long shot. We should treat them with the same kindness we extend to people. Too many pet owners neglect and mistreat their animals. Animals bring great joy to the lives of people, many of whom consider their pets their best friends.
Animals are an important part of life, and the way that we treat them is also the way that we treat nature. If you treat animals with kindness and understanding, you're much more likely to attempt to fit into Earth's natural system of life. An indifference toward animals makes you much more likely to be a "human-first" resource hog.
No, we do not put too much importance on animals. Animals are a vital part of our planet--as part of our ecosystem, as companions to humans, as partners on Earth. The bible says that God made humans keepers of the animals. It is important to care for all animals. There can never bee too much importance placed on them.