@twocows, there are arguments that go beyond animals merely being emotional attachments of people. There are some intelligent species of animal out there, possibly who feel emotions and are self-aware. It makes the idea of "human" seem more of a spectrum than a disparate identity. There are clearly more intelligent and less intelligent humans so we accept variations in intelligence are not enough to keep someone from being "human" (or in other words, of having rights and protections). I'll just cut to the point I'm trying to make, which is that many of the things we as humans have which make us human and deserving of rights can be found in animals (or to flip the idea around, there are people who are not too dissimilar to animals) so perhaps we should think more about how we define out ethics.
That was a rhetorical question aimed at showing the futility of using the word "meddling" in this context.