My stab at an explanation:
I think the one of the biggest reasons for the junk being spewed these days is actually due to the prideful nature of humans. Morals are at the core for any position or thought. Religious views are the cornerstone for Morals. It seems to me, the people in our older generations shared a lot more comonality with each other in their basic view of the universe. I'm pretty certain that I and the enlightened ones could not be further apart.
If I try hard to follow the thought process of most of the nuts these days, I can logically folllow some of these ideas back so far (if there truly was no God, then what does make man superior to any other life form?..), but this can only be followed so far and then the wheels completely fall off the wagon. If one is not superior to the other, then this view should be consistent through ideas of these weirdos.
If the basic premis that you hear touted is that people are mice, are ants, are trees, are _____ (fill in the blank). If a cat is a mouse, then shouldn't there be a whole bunch of cats on trial for murder? (In their logic, my dog can kill a cow to eat a nice steak but it is imoral for me- not consistent).
Then they say, that domesticating animals is cruel and they should be set free... if an animal has the "right" to free choice to direct their own existance whether for the better or worse of that individual animal or at the peril of another, how in the same breath can they say humans should not be granted the same basic "rights" (since they are equal).
If the goal is to actually reduce inhumane treatment, isn't being fed a regularly scheduled meal each day, receiving preventative care, and being housed away from preditors less inhumane than starving, dying of disease, or being attacked, mutilated or killed?
Expanding on this idea ... Isn't providing all members in heards access to "free health care", housing/protection, and an endless supply of food not socialism for animals? If socialism is so good for people, why is not acceptable for animals? After all, aren't they the same....
In contrary, if you are to believe that animals were created for the purpose of man's use, then it would make sense why man's dominion over animals is not a violation of natural law, but in harmony with it.
But, to believe in a "designed" universe, one would reason that man is not the ultimate authority. And this ladies and gentlemen is where many of the new agers have a problem, as they would have to HUMBLE themselves. I think this is the ultimate key to the mess- self pride.
Since the argument can't be won for the nut side by using logic to prove an ultimate universal truth, they got creative and developed the concept of relativism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativism
And people eat this up. You can now believe anything you want to believe and it doesn't have to make logical sense because everything is relative (except if you don't agree with them, then you are a murderer)