Sam Smith defends visit to SeaWorld in Australia


Sam Smith with a seal

Sam Smith has defended his visit to SeaWorld in Australia, after posting images of himself at the resort on Instagram.

The musician shared two photographs of himself with a seal.

Followers criticised Smith for his visit to the resort, suggesting that the theme park, based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, was "cruel".

He responded by saying that the animal park was "very different" to the one based in the US.

There are "no whales here", he tweeted.

Tweet from @samsmithworld reading: "Seaworld Australia and Seaworld America are two very different things. Please remember this guys x"

SeaWorld Australia features a variety of animals, including penguins, dolphins and polar bears.

It also runs an animal rescue programme and conducts research into marine biology and conservation.

SeaWorld in the US has been criticised in the past for having orcas in its park.

Orca performing to a large crowd

According to a US SeaWorld press release, employees are "true animal advocates" who have "dedicated" their lives to the care of animals both in the park and in the wild.

"SeaWorld does not capture killer whales in the wild," it said.

"We do not separate killer whale moms and calves."

Orca in a tank

Animal rights charity Peta's "SeaWorld of hurt" campaign claims the business is "built on the suffering of intelligent, social animals who are denied everything that is natural and important to them".

The 2013 documentary Blackfish investigated the life of "notorious performing whale Tilikum, who unlike any orca in the wild" killed several people while in captivity.

The film was shown on BBC Four last year and the channel described it as "shocking, never-before-seen footage and interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca's extraordinary nature, the species' cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry".

Celebrities including Russell Brand and Olivia Wilde have previously commented about SeaWorld in America and voiced their support of the movie.

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