By making dolphins nonhuman persons, governments would be legally obligated to protect them from slaughter and abuse. They would be placed ‘beyond use' of human beings, which no other creature on this planet currently is.
As I often find myself repeating to naysayers, giving dolphins rights does not mean they will be expected to vote in the upcoming election, nor will they be opening Twitter accounts, as interesting as that might be -- rather, the rights we are talking about are only the most basic: the right to live freely in the oceans, without being harmed. These are things, it's worth noting, that they currently have no right to.
Of course, beyond court systems and governments lies the individual. Each of us has a responsibility to learn about who dolphins are, or at the very least, not to staunchly argue against scientific fact.
Might these realizations bring about some uncomfortable truths about the ways we conduct ourselves on this planet? Likely, yes. But compassionate people like Natarajan, Cernea, the activists at FIAPO and countless others around the world are paving the way towards a brighter future for dolphins and nonhuman life. They have demonstrated what we must do in order bring our worldviews up to speed with our ever-expanding knowledge.