Yes, chimps are entitled to some rights comparable to humans. All animals are. I feel that humans and animals are entitled to be treated with respect. All living creatures should be treated with compassion. Those who use animals in lab tests, cruel "sporting" contests, hunting for "sport," and other abusive practices need to stop. Chimps, humans, and all animals have a right to live in peace.
I am a vegetarian so I think all animals have rights. However, we descended from the apes and chimps are our closest cousins. The fact that they have language capability should surprise no one. We need to treat chimps like the close relatives they are and stop using them as lab rats.
I argued this topic a while ago with another while eating, and I came to this conclusion: Animals should have rights, but it would be unreasonable to give them rights such as humans.
1. How do we know they are rational? What defines being rational?
2. If they are, how are they going to integrate into society? Would there be a chimp president?
3. If a chimp is rational, than other animals also could be rational. So does it mean that eating meat, or wearing clothes, is unethical?
4. Also, even the wikipedia article linked above says that "Terrace concluded that he had not acquired anything the researchers were prepared to designate worthy of the name "language""
5. I guess some projects were successful, such as the washoe project, but how do we still know if he is rational or not?
Although highly intelligent, chimps are just animals. They are not humans, and are not eligible to be entitled to the same rights as humans. Imagine a chimp driving a car, owning a home, keeping a job. It's not possible. They are animals, and deserve to be treated as animals, in as humane a way we should be treating all animals.
Humans will always be distinct from other animals because they have the ability to think and reason. What humans have been able to accomplish has far surpassed what any other species has been able to do. Chimps having a way to communicate is still very basic compared to the engineering feats of humans.