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Op-Ed: One Direction star applauded by dolphin activists

By Elizabeth Batt     Sep 24, 2012 in Entertainment
One Direction star Harry Styles is being given kudos by dolphin activists today for a tweet that he sent over the weekend. In it, Styles urged people to watch the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Cove.
The 2009 documentary used state-of-the-art equipment and hidden cameras to capture covert footage of the mass slaughter of dolphins which takes place each year in Taiji, Japan. The film drew unwelcome attention to the tiny Japanese fishing town in the Wakayama Prefecture, and it has remained in the spotlight ever since.
The powerful movie so impacted One Direction band member Harry Styles, that after watching it he tweeted this message to his almost 7 million followers:
In doing so, the 18-year-old member of the five-guy group formed via the UK's X Factor, has earned himself a bunch of new fans, all of them dolphin lovers. Take for example, Voice of the Orcas (VOTO), a website maintained by four ex-SeaWorld trainers. VOTO wrote in their blog:
Thank you, Harry. Because you probably just launched a thousand young activists that could end up improving the lives of animals being harvested at The Cove, right now. And thank you, social media, for helping to level the playing field, just a bit.
The tweet by Styles was particularly appreciated following a news report on Sept. 18 by about fellow One Direction band members Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson. While on vacation, both of them recently swam with captive dolphins at SeaWorld Florida and Miami Seaquarium.
The move upset many advocates, particularly in light of the ongoing dolphin hunting season conducted in Taiji and its historical links to captive marine mammals. Yet even after all the publicity surrounding The Cove movie, says author David Kirby at
SeaWorld says Taiji's hunt is 'horrible,' but won't condemn other dolphinariums that source their cetaceans from the Cove.
In fact, as recently as three years ago continued Kirby, SeaWorld company spokesman Fred Jacobs, "likened such purchases to a salvage operation that prevents some animals from being killed."
Jacobs' statement only reiterated where the entertainment park stood on the issue:
We stopped [buying] and have not resumed, not because we are ashamed, but it was not something that we cared to be involved with any more.
So SeaWorld was not ashamed of perpetuating the Taiji dolphin hunt as seen below:
The bloody Cove.
The bloody Cove.
Courtesy of Oceanic Preservation Society
For VOTO and other dolphin advocates, leveling the playing field is crucial in the fight against anti-captivity. In a David versus Goliath situation, activists can take pot shots, but are often drowned out by the millions of dollars spent by SeaWorld in advertising. The lure of SeaWorld's fantasy is particularly attractive in the UK, where dolphinariums no longer operate. Unfortunately, people forget why they no longer operate in Britain.
As for Taiji, Japan. Activists say that fishermen are on a relentless campaign this season in the small fishing village on the coast of Japan made famous by the movie, The Cove. Since the season began on Sept. 1, eyewitness reports tell of hunts taking place with a level of brutality and cruelty that has left many dolphin advocates stunned and speechless.
This is why Styles' tweet was greatly appreciated; those two short sentences spread awareness of this ongoing issue to almost seven million people.
Thank you.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Harry styles, One direction, one direction swims with dolphins, seaworld florida, taiji japan
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