I could not find the translation you were quoting, but here it is from the KJV, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”  It seems you have an issue with the last phrase of that verse, “Are ye not much better than they?”  I looked in over 50 different translations, and they all say basically the same thing.  “Are you not worth much more than they?” (NASB).  “Are you not of more value than they?” (NKJV).  “Are ye not much more excellent than they?” (Darby).

First of all, the Lord values all His creation and His creatures.  Colossians 1:16 tells us, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM, AND FOR HIM.”  Everything the Lord made was made for His own pleasure.  Even in the beginning, we see how the Lord loved the animals He had created.  Genesis 1:24-25, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”  We see that the Lord declared that the animals He had created were esteemed as GOOD.  As every creature reproduces “after its kind”, we see the love of God exhibited in how He made birds to produce birds, lions to produce lions, giraffes to produce giraffes, etc.  He also gave them instincts as to how to raise their young and teach them to survive with their skill sets and environments.  What love the Creator has for His creation!

* The Lord acknowledges and claims every creature.  Psalm 50:10-11, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”

* The Lord makes provision for every creature.  Psalm 145:15-17, “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.”

* The Lord expects us to respect and take care of our animals.  Proverbs 12:10, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

However, let us consider a great difference between how animals and man were formed.  Of the animals the Word says, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature.” (Genesis 1:24).  Of man, the Word says, “Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26).  So, it was man that was made in the image of God, not the animals.  We read in Job 32:8, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”  Both man and animals are said to have bodies and souls, but man is also given a spirit that allows him to know and understand God.  Animals do not have the ability to know about the existence of God.  They are precious creatures of God, but man is the masterpiece of God’s creation. 

* When Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord took the life of animals to make clothes for them.  Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

* After the flood, the Lord appointed that animals were to be used for food.  Genesis 9:3, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

* The Lord determined that man was to dominate and utilize the animals.  Psalm 8:6-8, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”

Does the Lord love the animals He has created?  Yes, He does.

Does the Lord expect us to treat animals with care and not abuse them?  Yes, He does.

Does the Lord allow us to rule over the animals, such as using them to plow fields, give milk, train them, and make them our pets, etc.?  Yes, He does.

But men are the creatures that are created in the image of God.  Men have spirits that allow them to know God.  Men are to use animals for labor and food. 

God does love all His creatures, but thankfully He loves man far more.  “Are ye not much better than they?”  (417.2)