If you look at the course of western history you'll see that we're slowly granting basic rights to everyone. A long time ago only kings had rights. Then rights were extended to property-owning white men. Then all men. Then women. Then children. Then the mentally retarded. Now we're agonizing over the extension of basic rights to homosexuals and animals. We need to finally accept that all sentient creatures are deserving of basic rights. I define basic rights as this –the ability to pursue life without having someone else's will involuntarily forced upon you. Or, as the framers of the constitution put it, the ability to have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” By what criteria can you justify denying basic rights to any living thing? Realize that by whatever criteria you employ someone could deny basic rights to you if they objected to your species, sexual preferences, color, religion, ideology etc. Would you eat your housecat, or force a mentally retarded child to ingest oven cleaner? If not, then why is it ok to eat cows and test products on sentient animals? I believe that to knowingly commit actions that cause or condone suffering is reprehensible in the extreme. I call upon you to be compassionate and treat others as you want to be treated. If you don't want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed or tortured then you shouldn't condone such behavior towards anyone, be they human or not.
I think there will come a time, and this is down the road a great many years, when civilized people will look back in horror on our generation and the ones that have preceded it: the idea that we should eat other living things running around on four legs, that we should raise them just for the purpose of killing them! The people of the future will say, meat-eaters in disgust and regard us in the same way that we regard cannibals and cannibalism.
The medical argument for animal testing doesn't stand up. Even if it did, I don't think we should kill other species. We think we're so much better; I'm not sure we are. I tell people, We've beaten into submission every animal on the face of the Earth, so we are the clear winners of whatever battle is going on between the species. Couldn't we be generous? I really do think it's time to get nice. No need to keep beating up on them. I think we've got to show that we're kind.