Can robots have human rights?

Is it cruel to kick a robotic dog?

A few weeks ago we were having lunch with a couple of friends and the conversation turned into what future generations would find horrifying in ours as we now see homophobia or racism (which were part of many Western legal systems until very recently). My suggestion was the treatment of machines, particularly robots.

For me, what I can see in the video is a lump of metal with no conscience or feelings instead of a real dog. Would people feel so queasy if what was being kicked around was an autonomous car, a drone or even an assembly plant robot? I do not think so. The only reason I can think why some people are disturbed by the video is because that particular lump of metal resembles a dog and we generally treat dogs nicely. Same can be said about that humanoid Sony robot.

I have been thinking about this for a good while now and would not be "robotic human rights" will be the next "human" rights battlefield, after their recent conquest of corporate entities is complete. My take is that research councils will follow shortly.