I love your passion on this subject — you’re obviously not just in it for personal gain. This kind of genetic manipulation is a dark path that I don’t think we should go down, but of course “because we can, we will.”
However, I am one of those that differentiates between human and animals, if for no other reason than the fact that I am human myself, and therefore “take to my own kind,” so to speak. If I must make a choice, I would save humans over animals in most every scenario I can conceive, but I will admit, there are some situations where that wouldn’t the case.
I think another important distinction is that we have the ability to philosophize animal rights in the first place. For all of their intelligence, you don’t see dolphins eating seaweed because they decided that fish have feelings, too. Crows are super smart, and they use their cognitive abilities to make tools… that they use to aide them in eating. The very fact that so many humans have enough thought to realize that we, as a dominant species, might not have the “right” to dominate lesser species at all is proof enough for me that we are different than animals.
Even octopuses, as shown in your linked example, are well known to be cannibals, even eating their own young when necessary — things most (current, at least) humans would agree on being a pretty bad thing.
As an aside, people like to pretend their cats are people, too — maybe their habits of leaving decapitated birds and mice on my mother’s porch is proof of that. There are certainly a lot of people in this world that do that sort of thing to birds, mice, and other people.