Sam Smith defends decision to visit SeaWorld Australia after fans criticise 'cruel' resort
Singer said SeaWorld Australia is 'very different' to its US counterpart
Smith had shared two photographs of himself with a seal at the Gold Coast, Queensland resort on his Instagram account yesterday, but had to quickly clarify his position after fans expressed their disapproval on social media, with some even threatening to boycott Smith's music.
The 'Only One' singer responded by saying that the animal park was "very different" to the one based in the US, tweeting that there are "no whales here".
Seaworld Australia and Seaworld America are two very different things. Please remember this guys x— SAM SMITH (@samsmithworld) January 5, 2015
There's no whales here— SAM SMITH (@samsmithworld) January 5, 2015
SeaWorld Australia features a host of animals, including penguins, dolphins and polar bears. It also runs an animal rescue programme and conducts research into marine biology and conservation.
The resort's American counterpart has been criticised in the past for having orcas in its parks. Animal rights charity Peta's SeaWorld of Hurt campaign claimed the business was "built on the suffering of intelligent, social animals who are denied everything that is natural and important to them".
A documentary released in 2013 entitled Blackfish investigated the life of "notorious performing whale Tilikum", who killed several people while in captivity. BBC Four 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".
Meanwhile, Sam Smith became the only artist to sell one million albums in the UK and US in 2014 after passing the one million milestone with 'In The Lonely Hour' in December. The pop star told OfficialCharts.com: "OFFICIALLY sold 1 MILLION copies of 'In The Lonely Hour'! To say I am ecstatic is a huge understatement. Thank you so much to every single person who has purchased my album."
'In The Lonely Hour' became the fastest-selling debut album of 2014 in the UK when it went straight in at Number One in May. In October, Smith took home four Mobos and he is nominated for six Grammy awards in 2015 including best new artist.