For a long time, I've thought that the route to animal rights lay along proving to humans that such a cause is in their best interests. Improving animal rights would lead to an improvement in human safety and health. In fact, it would be good for the world economy, the environment, everything, yadda, yadda.
I've been taking a class in Business Ethics and it has really had an impact on my thinking. I don't think you can ultimately "sell" animal rights, particularly to a species that is so short-sighted anyway. It's not a matter of economics, politics or health. It's really a matter of personal philosophy. Animals should be protected and respected because it's the RIGHT thing to do, not just when it's expedient. People already have some ethics, but they have not included animals in them yet. Once they do, then you don't have to "sell" the idea.
And it really does start with children. I get very cynical about classroom speakers teaching about caring for animals, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is a long-term impact that I just don't see because I don't have (or want!) children of my own.