Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Tilikum Was Probably Captured

Have you ever seen Blackfish, the documentary about killer whales in captivity? You should. I had never been an animal activist or formed any opinion on whether or not animals should live in captivity. I visited zoos and even saw the Shamu show at Sea World many years ago. After seeing this documentary, that has changed. I cannot support Sea World any longer, and will never pay to visit that park again. The "hulabaloo" from Blackfish has seemed to calm lately, but I don't want people to forget about it. 

One - and trust me, just one- of the heartbreaking stories brought to light in Blackfish is how these beautiful animals are (or were) captured in the wild. Sea World now has a commercial out stating that they haven't captured whales from the wild in 35 years, but that doesn't soften the blow for me. I'll tell you why, but first I'll tell you how these whales were captured and why it breaks my heart.

In Blackfish, a former diver and other experts explain how this process was done. Whales were captured from the same area each time, mind you, so after the first time, they KNEW what was happening. They aren't just dumb animals. How could they be? You can train them to do tricks. Knowing that their babies would be taken, the whales would try and form a decoy. The adult whales would swim in one direction attracting the attention of the boats, while the mothers and their babies would swim in another direction. The sad thing is, a plane would fly overhead waiting for them to come up for air. When spotted, the plane told the boats where to go. A net was set, and all the whales in the pod, mothers and babies, were trapped. They would then extract the babies, while the helpless mothers cried, and sometimes died

See, whale calves stay with their mothers even after adulthood. They never separate in the wild. Never. So these mothers had to watch their babies being taken away. The diver in the documentary describes a sick feeling in his stomach. When he had been told he would capture Orcas he had felt exited. When he saw what that really meant he was sad and devastated. He was kidnapping. Not only that, the adult whales would get caught in the nets and tangled, or sometimes struck by a boat propeller, and die. For the one instance described by the diver in Blackfish, three whales had died during his excursion. The boss man told them to cut open the dead whales, load them up with rocks, and let them sink to the bottom. Yeah. 

Tilikum, the killer whale at Sea World in Florida known to lunge at his trainers and responsible for three human deaths, was captured in the wild at age two. This is most likely the way his capture was carried out. It only begins the horror story that has been Tilikum's life. After the backlash of Blackfish, Sea World began to strike back and say that the documentary wasn't true. The newest commercial has two employees telling us how they love the whales and they know we love them too. That's after they assure us that they no longer capture whales from the wild and haven't for 35 years. Why doesn't this soothe me? Two reasons. One is they use Tilikum's sperm to breed new calves. Tilikum, a known aggressive animal that has killed humans. What if it's in his DNA to be aggressive toward humans? Two, they still separate the calves from their mothers, something never done in the wild. 

While watching Blackfish, I cried hearing about the separation of mother and calf. God created these animals to stay together always. When the former employees describe the reactions of the mothers when the calves are stripped away, I can't take it. In one case, the mother stayed in the corner all night long, crying inconsolably. The other female whales tried to check on her, and she wouldn't budge. In another description, an expert was brought in to find out what new sounds the mother was making. She was using sound signals to try to call for and find her baby. I am a mother. This hurts my heart. 

I can't tolerate it, Sea World. Your commercials don't fool me. Whales do not belong in captivity, and Tilikum is only one story, not an isolated one as you would like us to believe. There are many, many stories of killer whales attacking, harming, and killing their trainers or other humans. I am going to tell them all. One at a time. If I can change one mind about Sea World, I'll be happy. If we can one day stop the Shamu Show, I'll be overjoyed. Help me get the word out. I recommend that we do not support Sea World by going to their parks.

Thoughts? Your comments are welcome. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Etherno Cooking Glove

I was invited to try these Etherno Cooking Gloves for free in exchange for an honest review. So, what are they? They are food grade silicone gloves with the thickness to withstand extreme hot or cold temperatures. You can use them for baking in your oven, while grilling, and/or while removing very cold items from the freezer. They are non-stick, flexible, and easy to clean. 

We decided to try them out on the grill first. It's summertime and everyone loves firing up the grill to have those nice outdoor meals, so what better way to see how well this works? 

We let the grill get hot enough to place the food onto, and then my boyfriend slipped one of the gloves on. (You get a set of two.) After hovering his hand over the heat, he was surprised to find he could actually place his hand flat down on the hot surface and feel nothing at all. The thickness of the gloves protects you up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit.

I like that you don't have to have a super long set of barbecue tongs to grill with these. We definitely like them and will use them for grilling again. Baking is my thing so I'm grateful to have them for removing hot items from the oven. I think they're a great value and a good buy. Have you used them yet? What do you think?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hand Washing Is Good, But...

You've heard it a million times. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs, but can you over-do it? Oh yeah. 

If you've read this blog before you might know that my daughter Anna just came through a bone marrow transplant. For that procedure, the immune system is completely eradicated to prepare for a brand new immune system. Once the donor stem cells are transplanted, the new immune system needs time to "take root". In the meantime, you have to become a germophobe. Or, at least you feel like you do. You are constantly cleaning your environment, washing your hands, wearing a mask, changing your clothes, and more. 

After 100 days you can relax a little, but I've got to tell you, it's difficult. Hand washing has become so second nature to me that I wash my hands after I touch anything! It has gotten to the point where if I don't pull back I could seriously develop an obsessive compulsive disorder. Even worse, my hands are all "jacked up". They are dry, cracked, peeling, bumpy, and even painful. I have to make some changes. 

Let's look at some hand-washing best practices posted on the website. 
Wash your hands BEFORE: preparing food, eating, treating wounds or caring for a sick person, inserting or removing contact lenses.
        Wash your hands AFTER: handling food (especially raw meat), toileting, changing a diaper, touching an animal, blowing your nose, treating wounds or caring for a sick person, handling garbage or household chemicals, shaking hands with others.
This is my problem. I do a lot of these all the time! I take out the garbage, pet the dogs, take care of Anna (who was previously sick and now needs extreme precaution), take care of Essie, cook meals, and more. Phew! It's exhausting. 

Now, let's look at some info posted at "Experts warn against too much hand washing" is the title. Apparently, the American Academy of Dermatologists says over-washing can cause what is called "irritant contact dermatitis". The scaly red itching burning skin condition can take months to heal. (Yeah, that's what I've got.) 

I honestly have no idea what to do except find a way to pull back. There's just no way I can keep washing my hands before and after every single task as recommended in the information above. I know I must wash after toileting and before taking care of Anna, but how do I find my way through the rest? Hand sanitizer isn't any better. I use it, but it doesn't cut down on the hand irritation. Any ideas? 

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