I'm an atheist. I have no problem using the term. I used to be Catholic though and still have a great deal of loyalty to the Church. Probably because it is so much a part of my culture.
This site occasionally criticizes believers for their treatment of animals, but I wonder if atheists are all that better. Atheist podcasts I listen to still seem to value humans over animals, just for different reasons. They use science as the basis for superiority which justifies experimentation and other abuses. Humans and animals are not the same, but it's not a matter of soul, but of superior intellect.
Isn't this basically the same thing as believers who base their judgment on their "God?" It's the same end result.