Sunday, September 24, 2017

Shark Diving: Should You or Shouldn’t You? I wouldn’t. Would You?


I’m a scuba diver. I’ve been diving for twenty years ever since I was certified. I loved suiting up and going underwater. For me, there’s a certain tranquility down below watching nature at its best. Unless you’ve ever dived, you haven’t a clue as to what I’m saying, but take my word for it, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. When I dive, I’m always careful about my balance and buoyancy. I’m always cognizant of where my hands and feet are. I never want to harm any life. No matter how small. I read about diving when I’m not doing it. This leads me into the purpose of this post.

Chumming for sharks alters their natural behavior.

I recently read an editorial in a diving magazine about what their stance was on shark feedings. People always ask whether or not they support it. Their reply was, “It’s complicated.” Of course, they must be politically correct or they lose the business of shark diving industry and they couldn't let that happen, could they. I don’t understand why. I get that shark tourism is a big business that rakes in millions of U.S. Dollars a year. Many people participate. Therein lies my problem with it. Shark feeding puts the sharks at risk. It changes their natural behavior. They lose their natural fear of humans. That isn’t a good thing. Some say that puts the humans at risk. I disagree. Why? Look at the plight of our companion animals as the best example why shark feeding shouldn’t be allowed and why shark tourism should be ended. Done. Over. Fini. 

Dogs and cats trust humans. Rabbits and horses do, too. Even some wildlife trust humans. But for ease of understanding, we’ll use dogs and cats. They go to us for food, for help. When a stray animal is hungry or injured, they seek us out. That is their downfall. How? Take a look at the animals in Asia. A dog or cat walking along the street is open to poisoning, beatings or worse. They are taken off the street and placed in the dog meat markets where they are tortured to death, then consumed by humans. How about the dogs and cats that are stolen from pet owners for the same end? If dogs and cats had a fear of humans, this would be less likely to happen because when they saw a human, they’d flee. Companion animals aren’t just tortured to death in Asia. Other countries are no more humane. Many countries such as Turkey, Egypt and more could care less about animal welfare. Even the U.S.A. enjoys torturing and murdering animals often under the guise of puppy mills or hunting. Other dogs and cats are poisoned, shot out, beaten or starved to death. Certainly, you heard about the female Veternarian murdered a feral cat with a bow and arrow and proudly posted the photo on Facebook. Worse, the cat turned out to be a family cat.
Shark Hunters. Don't they look so very proud? Just how many of them did it take to catch that one small shark?

Take the plight of the black bear as another example. When they get to use to humans and an attack results. That bear is put down. Killed and it wasn’t the bear’s fault. The bear was operating on instinct. The bear doesn’t know right from wrong, but humans do. Humans know not to feed the bears; give them Oreos to eat, or worse give them a baby to hold, but that is what humans do. Humans are stupid, yet it is the animals that pay for our stupidity. Why should we subject sharks to that same cruelty? “It’s estimated that 38 to 100 million sharks are killed each year. Not in protection, but for hunting. There exists a demand for shark fins by various countries mainly in Asia. Many sharks are caught, their fins cut off and then, they are thrown back in the water to suffer a long, painful death. Is that what we want for sharks? Feed them? Let them swim up to you and then, they come to associate us with food and “good things”. No. That just makes it easier for the animal cruelty to begin. No. That isn’t for me. Be damn the shark feeding and the businesses that thrive on it.  They can find another avenue of income. 
                    Shark finning. Sharks without fins die a slow, horrible death.
For me, the answer as to whether shark feeding should be allowed is not complicated at all. Leave the sharks alone. Sharks have been around for millions of years. They exist for a purpose. That purpose isn’t to attack humans. In fact, according the Fisheries Blog, an American has a 1.625 in 1 million chance of being injured by a shark. There’s no reason to bring them any harm. Leave them alone. Let them live. If not, one day, the only shark you’ll see is a toy stuffed one, or the remains of one on some idiot’s wall. For me, I shall continue to scuba dive, but I will never willingly put any animal in danger to have fun. It just isn’t right. It just isn’t humane. Here’s an idea though, I can get behind. How about we feed the stupid to the sharks? I’m one for the animals. Are you? http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com    is the blog I created just for the animals. But this issue isn’t just about animals. This post is about tourism and this consumer had to speak up. That is my opinion. What’s yours? Are you a scuba diver? Snorkeler? Have you ever seen a shark feeding? What do you think? Let’s talk….


Want to help protect Sharks? Contact your local government representatives and tell them to say no to Shark tourism.

Sign petitions when you can. Here's one you can add your name to. I did: Tell Congress To Ban The Trade Of Shark Fins In The U.S.
Inhumane shark finning is driving some species to the very brink of extinction.


For more information:
See the editorial that inspired this post in the March/April 2017 issue of Scuba Diving magazine pages 8 to 9.

The question of whether to participate in a shark dive is explored further in an article in the same magazine above, beginning on page 42.
                                           

The Pros and Cons of Shark-Feeding Dives:

Does Human Interaction Affect Shark Behavior?



Whale shark ecotourism: the good, the bad and the ugly

Eco-Tourism May Be Good News for Sharks

Save the Sharks By Swimming With Them
Ecotourism is helping promote shark conservation around the world—while also boosting local economies.

SHARK FEEDING: GOOD OR BAD?

Divers swim freely with great white sharks -- good or bad?

That’s it for this time. Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book. Review it. Share it. Pass it along.



Make adoption your first option when seeking a pet. Adopt. Don’t shop. Can’t adopt. Please consider fostering one. The animal will have the taste of home and the shelter will cover the expenses. Can’t foster? Make a donation or volunteer at your local shelter. Please, don’t hunt. Unless you’re starving down in a ditch somewhere, there is no logical reason to do so. Whatever you do, however you do it, please be a voice for the animals large and small. All it takes is one to make a difference, good or bad. 
 
              Together, you and I can make a difference. If you like what you see here, please consider signing up to become a follower. Please feel free to share this post with others.
          Regards,
          S.J. Francis   Writing is my passion, but animals are my world.
    In Shattered Lies: "Good and bad, it's All About Family."  Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at on-line retailers and independent booksellers. 
                                       “Some secrets should remain that way.” 
    My web page: http://www.sjfranciswriter.com  
                                     Twitter: https://twitter.com/sjfrancis419 

                  My writing Blog: http://sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com    
                                               
          A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com  
                  A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                              
One for the Animals blog: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com 

www.FightDogMeat.com, pet centric 
                 Google Plus:https://plus.google.com/u/0/104831238907682620486/about 
Good Reads:       https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j 
                                     
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.                           

Sunday, August 27, 2017

GMO Foods are everywhere But Did You Know That? I didn’t….

By now, you are aware that most of the food we are eating, in the USA anyway, is GMO, or genetically modified. Yummy. Doesn’t that sound appetizing? Genetically altered food? Not to me either , especially when I know what it is all about. The thought of altering any food genetically doesn’t make my taste buds salivate at all. Oh, I know. The government assures us it is safe. They also assured soldiers in Vietnam that Agent Orange was nothing to worry about, after they had been sprayed and came back home to America ill and dying. I, for one don’t trust anything the government says anywhere because they are always lying. How do you know when a politician is lying? When his/her mouth is open. Seriously, to me, genetically modified food isn’t a good thing. I don't like the idea of eating things that were sprayed with herbicides. Why would I want to eat something that was modified to include the chemicals in its makeup? Seriously, until just a couple of years ago, I had no idea that most of our foods are GMOs. Not a clue. Once I heard about it, I did some research. A great deal of research. I wasn't overjoyed with what I found. The result is this post.


To get a better idea of why I don’t like GMO you need to know more about it. First, what exactly is a GMO food? A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has been modified using recombinant DNA methods (also called gene splicing), gene modification or transgenic technology. “This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.” Are they safe? First, define safe. Second, most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. The U.S. and Canadian governments, though, “have approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.” Bingo. This is my point. 
                                   
Are they labelled in order for the consumer to make an informed choice when purchasing? Not in the USA they’re not despite strong support to do so. “Sixty-four countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, require genetically modified foods to be labelled 1. While a 2015 ABC News survey found that 93% of Americans believe genetically modified foods should be labelled, GMOs are not required to be labelled in the U.S. and Canada. In fact, Congress shot down the chance to mandatory label all GMO foods last year. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve. “ Did I mention that GMO foods are mixed with herbicides during the genetic process to create disease/pest resistant crops? Yummy again don’t you think?


Which foods you eat contain GMO foods? Good question and here’s the answer. More than you think. More than I like. Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. In fact, I was surprised to find that two of my favorite junk food, Lays Potato Chips and Ghiradelli chocolates both contain GMO products. Fortunately, these two companies are honest enough to let you know right on their product labels. Do these foods harm farmers and their farms? “Because GMOs are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMOs now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMOs, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMOs therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States and Canada. Nice, huh? So much for safety.” I wrote to my government representatives a few months ago about my concern about GMO foods and mandatory labeling. Of course, I received the standard answer about all the mandatory testing it went through and that is is "considered" safe. I'm willing to bet my government representative doesn't eat the stuff.


How about my health? Your Health? Are GMOs safe for our health? Those that support GMO foods say they are. As I already said, define safe. “The contention that GMOs pose no risks to human health can’t be supported by studies that have measured a time frame that is too short to determine the effects of exposure over a lifetime,” says Robert Gould, M.D., president of the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility. I concur. Not to mention that they may worsen or cause allergies. “have the potential to introduce toxins and new allergens (or increase levels of existing ones), or cause nutritional changes in foods and other unexpected effects.”  Further, “Animal studies—commonly used to help assess human health risks—have suggested that GMOs might cause damage to the immune system, liver, and kidneys. More studies are needed to determine long-term effects. And the ability of researchers to track potential health effects of GMOs in the human population is hampered by the absence of labeling.” So again, exactly how safe are they? Not safe enough for me. Take into account that when a medication is introduced to the public, it’s already undergone years for drug trials and studies. Yet, even after all that, sometimes, quite often, in fact,  the FDA has to remove them from the market because, as it turns out, those drugs weren’t really safe at all. How can we then assume that GMO foods are safe? We can’t. And if they’re so safe, why is the government and supporters so afraid to label them GMOs?


As if all of this enough, what about the effects of GMO foods on our fragile environment? What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment? “More than 80% of all GMOs grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance 5. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 16 times since GMOs were introduced 6. GM crops are also responsible for the emergence of herbicide resistant “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange) 7,8. GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.”
                                            
Genetically modified or engineered foods. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it? Doesn’t the term just make you want to go out and go get some right now? Me neither, which is why I always buy organic when given the chance, and, of course, I hope that food is organic. I do know that GMO foods taste differently, to me anyway. Organic does too. Organic foods taste better. GMO foods taste worse. GMO foods are a relatively new concept. I’m not that old, yet, but when I grew up, GMO foods weren’t in existence. They certainly weren’t on our menu. That's because they've been around for a total of about fifteen years.  As if herbicide sprayed crops, antibiotic and hormone filled animals aren’t enough to make us ill, literally, along comes GMO foods. Not for me and mine. That’s my opinion anyway, for what it’s worth. I hope this post raises your awareness about GMO foods in order that you, the consumer can make an informed choice for you and your family. What’s your view? Do you eat GMO foods? Why or why not? Do you even care that your food is genetically modified? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it.


For more information:
Here are two articles that gave me a great deal, but not all of the information I wanted to know about GMO foods:

                                    
Activists Weigh Path Forward After Congress Thwarts GMO Food Labels 


What You Need to Know about GMO Crops:

GMO foods: What you need to know
 

1.            “Center for Food Safety | Issues | GE Food Labeling | International Labeling Laws.” Center for Food Safety. N.p., n.d. Web.
2.            Langer, Gary. “Poll: Skepticism of Genetically Modified Foods.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 June 2015. Web.
                                  
3.            Fernandez-Cornejo, Jorge, and Seth James Wechsler. “USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption.” USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 09 July 2015. Web.
4.            Leader, Jessica. “Monsanto Wins Lawsuit Filed By U.S. Organic Farmers Worried About Seed Contamination.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 June 2013. Web.

                                  
5.            Duke, S.O., & Powles, S.B. (2009). “Glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds: Now and in the future.” AgBioForum, 12(3&4), 346-357.
6.            Kustin, Mary Ellen. “Glyphosate Is Spreading Like a Cancer Across the U.S.” EWG. Environmental Working Group, 07 Apr. 2015. Web.
7.            Mortensen DA, Egan JF, Maxwell BD, Ryan MR, Smith RG. “Navigating a critical juncture for sustainable weed management.” BioScience. 2012;62(1):75-84.

8.            “Newsroom.” Agent Orange: Background on Monsanto’s Involvement. N.p., n.d. Web.

                                   

 That’s it for this time. Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book. Review it. Share it. Pass it along.


Make adoption your first option when seeking a pet. Adopt. Don’t shop. Can’t adopt. Please consider fostering one. The animal will have the taste of home and the shelter will cover the expenses. Can’t foster? Make a donation or volunteer at your local shelter. Please, don’t hunt. Unless you’re starving down in a ditch somewhere, there is no logical reason to do so. Whatever you do, however you do it, please be a voice for the animals large and small. All it takes is one to make a difference, good or bad. 
 
                                    Together, you and I can make a difference. If you like what you see here, please consider signing up to become a follower. Please feel free to share this post with others.
Regards,
S.J. Francis Writing is my passion, but animals are my world.
    In Shattered Lies: "Good and bad, it's All About Family."  Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at on-line retailers and independent booksellers. 
                                                              “Some secrets should remain that way.” 
    My web page: http://www.sjfranciswriter.com  
                                     Twitter: https://twitter.com/sjfrancis419 
 Facebook fan page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325 
                  My writing Blog: http://sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com    
                                               
          A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com  
                  A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
One for the Animals blog: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com 

                                     
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.                           

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Restaurants Are Banning Children and Diners Are Ecstatic About it! Aren't You? I am!


A restaurant in North Carolina banned children and business is booming and it isn’t a wonder. For people who don’t dine out with children in tow see how wonderful it can be. I don’t know about you but when I go out to eat in a restaurant I look forward to a relaxing, quiet fine dining experience. Screaming children kicking away in their chairs, throwing food on the floor, or running around the dining room do nothing to enhance the experience. Face it, children blasting electronics and crawling under tables is not pleasant, in the least. Flat out, it is a nuisance. It ruins the dining experience. Like it or note, it annoys other diners. Fortunately, some restaurants realize this and are banning young children from their dining rooms. To that I say, Bravo! Good show!


     Unfortunately, not all restaurant goers are happy with the decision to ban children in restaurants. Sorry, folks, but as much as you love your children, not all people love your children, too. And parents of children have to hear enough of their children’s whining, why should they listen to yours when all they want to do is get a peaceful night off?  Answer: No one. If other parents can hire a babysitter to go to a restaurant, you can too. If you can’t then just stay home. No one forced you to have children. No one should be forced to endure yours.


Fortunately for restaurant patrons, it isn’t just American restaurants that have put a ban on children. A restaurant in Australia put a ban on children under seven after a couple had a misbehaving child in tow. As if screaming children aren’t enough, how about hearing that someone changed a baby’s diaper on the table you’re not sitting at. I don’t know about you but there isn’t enough disinfectant in the world to clean that table up enough for me to want to eat on it. This actually occurred in a pizza restaurant in Texas, and also at Chipotle’s. Yuck! All I can say is keep your children home. How disgusting is that? Talk about unsanitary and revolting. Not to mention inconsiderate and selfish. If there aren’t enough changing tables in the restroom, take your baby to your car. Would you want to eat on that table? Not me. How about watching the diaper change?  

And, of course, there is #babygate, that time Chef Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next, Chicago) took to Twitter to ask what to do about a crying eight-month-old in the dining room at Alinea:  https://twitter.com/Gachatz/status/422172958090489856



Children can be a wonderful thing, but not when dining out. Certainly not when it is someone else's spoiled brat. Screaming children and people chattering away on cell phones do nothing to enhance the experience and we should applaud those restaurants that put their patrons need first.  Now all we need is a ban on cell phone in use in restaurants. Another annoyance of many diners. But that is a post for another time.  That’s my opinion anyway. How do you feel about it? Do you think restaurants should ban children? Do you enjoy hearing other’s children scream?
  


 For more information:
N.C. restaurant owner's business improves after he bans young children:

Restaurant bans loud children, strollers, booster seats from dining room:

Australian Restaurant Bans Children Under Seven:

Mother Kicked Out of Restaurant After Changing Her Baby's Diaper at the Table:

Chipotle Caught in Middle of Diaper Changing Debacle:

#babygate, that time chef Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next, Chicago) took to Twitter to ask what to do about a crying eight-month-old in the dining room at Alinea. https://twitter.com/Gachatz/status/422172958090489856

Restaurant's Policy Is 'Kids Eat Not':

Five Reasons to Ban Disruptive Children From Restaurants:

Growing Number Of Restaurants Banning Children During Peak Hours Some Parents Say It's Not A Bad Idea, But Experts Say It's Walking A Fine Line:

Texas Restaurant Bans Kids after 7 P.M. After an incident with several gregarious children, one Houston restaurant has decided to put the new policy into effect:

You Know Who Hates Screaming Children In Restaurants The Most? Parents:



 That’s it for this time. Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book. Review it. Share it. Pass it along.


Make adoption your first option when seeking a pet. Adopt. Don’t shop. Can’t adopt. Please consider fostering one. The animal will have the taste of home and the shelter will cover the expenses. Can’t foster? Make a donation or volunteer at your local shelter. Please, don’t hunt. Unless you’re starving down in a ditch somewhere, there is no logical reason to do so. Whatever you do, however you do it, please be a voice for the animals large and small. All it takes is one to make a difference, good or bad. 
 
                                    Together, you and I can make a difference. If you like what you see here, please consider signing up to become a follower. Please feel free to share this post with others.
Regards,
S.J. Francis Writing is my passion, but animals are my world.
    In Shattered Lies: "Good and bad, it's All About Family."  Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at on-line retailers and independent booksellers. 
    “Some secrets should remain that way.” 
    My web page: http://www.sjfranciswriter.com  
                                     Twitter: https://twitter.com/sjfrancis419 
 Facebook fan page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325 
                  My writing Blog: http://sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com                               
          A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com  
                  A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com

One for the Animals blog: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com 
    Pinterest:   http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/


                 Google Plus:https://plus.google.com/u/0/104831238907682620486/about 
                                     
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.