Much to PETA’s delight, Harry Styles spoke out against SeaWorld at a One Direction show in San Diego on Thursday, July 9.
“Does anybody like dolphins?” Styles asked the audience. “Don’t go to SeaWorld.”
His quip about SeaWorld was caught on video, and the clip — which can be seen below — was shared by Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams on Instagram.
Lincoln O’Barry of the Dolphin Project tells Billboard that Styles called out SeaWorld in support of the organization, which was featured in the Academy Award-winning film The Cove. According to an article on the Dolphin Project’s website, Styles became passionate about dolphins and the issue of them being kept in captivity after seeing the film. In September 2012, Styles tweeted about The Cove, and two years later, he announced his support of the Dolphin Project on Twitter. Williams, who attended One Direction’s San Diego concert, is also a supporter of the Dolphin Project.
Meanwhile, PETA praised Styles (and Williams, for posting the video to her 1.2 million followers) on its website, stating that he’ll be receiving a “SeaWorld Kills” shirt and some vegan dolphin-shaped chocolates as a gift.
SeaWorld responded to the concert footage with a public letter to Styles: “We’ve seen a concert clip of you urging your fans not to visit SeaWorld. We want you to know we love dolphins too. We care for the animals in our parks like we would our own family. We are committed to making sure their lives are enriching and they are continually engaged socially, mentally and physically. And, we also care for dolphins in the wild.”
“In fact, SeaWorld has rescued more than 480 whales and dolphins,” they continued. “Right now we are caring for a wild dolphin that we rescued several weeks ago. This animal would have died without our help. Our team is with this animal 24 hours a day, and has walked alongside him and cradled him to help him stay afloat. Our goal with him is the same as with any rescued animal: rehabilitate and return him to the wild.”
SeaWorld ended the letter with an open invitation, saying, “We invite you to see for yourself, and then decide based on facts. We are happy to open our doors, take you behind the scenes, and have our trainers and vets answer any questions you have.”
One Direction’s concert at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, which just so happens to be the same show that made headlines because Styles fell onstage (resulting in #OhNoHarry trending on Twitter), was the group’s most recent stop on the On the Road Again tour.