Except that begging the question, isn't it? If chimps should be considered persons, then we're no more entitled to use them as non-consenting research subjects than we're entitled to use humans that way. In fact why not use non-consenting humans? Surely it would benefit the human race as a whole to sacrifice individual humans as research subjects, especially in the kind of numbers we use chimps for. A few thousand human is not that many when weighed against the seven billion on the plant.
Most of us would agree that experimenting on humans without informed consent is wrong no matter what the collective benefit, so there must be something entailed in being a human which makes that unacceptable. And it's perfectly reasonable to ask whether some other animals have that very same thing. This is a philosophical question. If persons have rights, then (a) those rights have to be entailed in our definition of "person" and (b) the criteria for that definition have to be applied impartially, not according to our preconceptions. It shouldn't matter if the subject is a member of an "inferior race", an artificial intelligence, an extraterrestrial visitor, or a familiar animal we simply haven't considered fully yet.
This is a little bit like math. Most people take the statement "1 + 1 = 2" as self-evident; but to a mathematician it's anything but. In day to day life we take human rights as self-evident -- we in fact "hold these truths to be self evident". But to an ethicist what we call "human rights" have to come from something more fundamental. If an ethicist simply assumes that human beings have a right to life and liberty, then he has to accept that the contrary assumption is equally valid. If the contrary assumption is not equally valid, then there must be some more fundamental principles by which we're evaluating these propositions.
So to show that chimps do not have a right to life and liberty, we have to define a category of beings that have such rights in such a way that all humans are members of that category, but no chimps are. I must confess this is beyond me as a philosophical layman just as algebraic fields are to mathematical laymen. I just go through life taking "1 + 1 = 2" and "humans have rights" for granted, and it works for me. But that doesn't mean there shouldn't be people out there studying abstract algebra or ethics, or that these fields have no important practical applications.