I was watching a lecture this morning and there was an interesting section about the behaviour of a group of Chimps.
One chimp had died and the adults would not allow the children to come near the corpse.
All except one, which was the brother of the monkey that had died.
Whilst not wishing to anthropomorphise, this behaviour clearly shows that the chimps were cognizant of the feelings of others in the group. I am not saying we know why they did this or can understand exactly what they were feeling but they did do it.
The above story was not an experiment but observed behaviour but experiments have shown in other ways that this ability to think for others is present in the great apes.
This should clearly lend weight to the idea of giving legal rights to these animals.
It is something that several countries have already done. Also, giving legal rights to non-humans is not a new thing as Thomas Rose pointed out by saying that in the majority of the world corporations are given the legal rights of persons.