Just found this whilst trawling the BBC site, piqued my interest:
The consensus of a meeting in Canada is that dolphins and Cetaceans in general should have their own Declaration of Rights which would ultimately prevent them from being used in entertainment purposes, wholly protect them from hunting, and (hopefully) guarantee them absolute freedom as a normal person should do.
This is based upon scientific investigations into the complexity and brain capacity of dolphins, among some remarkable stories is the realisation that Cetaceans understand a concept of 'self', as humans do.
Any thoughts? Not quite sure where I stand on the issue, I recognise that these are incredibly intelligent beings, however as a human, I don't frequently get myself entangled in tuna nets. The implications of 'accidents' where the death of a whale / dolphin might be accidentally caused by mundane means could be quite drastic if they are by law, given some of the same protection as human beings are.