This dichotomy has always bothered me.
(1) No predators are kosher. The Ramban went so far as to say that we may not eat them because they are cruel and we do not want to absorb their bad traits. In the Torah, God promises that if we follow His commandments, He will spare us from them:
וְהִשְׁבַּתִּ֞י חַיָּ֤ה רָעָה֙ מִן־הָאָ֔רֶץ -- I will remove evil beasts from the land. [Leviticus 26:6]
(2) In the Torah, Jacob compares some of his sons to predators. Judah is identified with a lion [Gen. 49:9], Dan with a serpent [Gen. 49:17], and Benjamin with a wolf [Gen. 49:27].
In the Talmud, Rabbi Yehudah ben Teima said:
Be bold as the leopard, light as the eagle, swift as the deer, and strong as the lion, to do the will of your Father in Heaven. [Avot 5:20]
Familiar expressions glorify carnivores and vilify domesticated and useful herbivores. For example, being called a lion, a tiger, an eagle, a fox, or an owl, is a compliment. Lions and tigers convey strength, eagles convey majesty, foxes convey cleverness, and owls convey wisdom. But being called a pig, or a dog, or a cow, or a weasel, or a chicken, or a turkey, or an ass, or an elephant, or a goat, or a monkey, or a rat, or a shrimp, or a toad, or a worm, is a grave insult!
Is this disconnect ever discussed in the Sources?