From Tom Regan's "The Case for Animals Rights":
"the animal rights movement is a part of, not antagonistic to, the human rights movement. The theory that rationally grounds the rights of animals also grounds the rights of humans. Thus those involved in the animal rights movement are partners in the struggle to secure respect for human rights - the rights of women, for example, or minorities, or workers. The animal rights movement is cut from the same moral cloth as these."
It is important to note that those of us who strive for better treatment of animals do not place animals above humans. For me, I don't see treatment of animals and treatment of humans as wholly unrelated. I fit my own attitudes toward animals into a larger progressive mission (which includes striving against homelessness, poverty, war, genocide, racism, sexism, and all sorts of other evils and cruelties and injustices). It is not, for me, a matter of priorities--it is, as Dustin Hoffman's blanket in I Heart Huckabees, all connected, all the same.