Friday 14 June 2024

Ludwig the Dackel sniffs German Euro 24 win

BERLIN: 'Dackel' is short for dachshund in modern Germany. Ludwig, a cute dachshund, was, according to this Times report, enticed more by a bowl of chicken treats next to the German flag which indicated to Germans (! 🐶) a home win in their opening Euro 2024 match against Scotland. To be frank, if Germany don't beat Scotland then I would be shocked but then shock results to take place sometimes.

Ludwig the Dackel sniffs German Euro 24 win
Ludwig the soothsayer. Photo: The Times.

There is quite a nice desire by humankind to have animals select winners in sports competitions. In 2008, Paul the Octopus garnered a huge following as a sporting soothsayer. Paul also selected the winners at the 2010 World Cup. More about Paul below.

And then we have Emma the pig and Nelly the elephant. There was also Konstantin the elk and the ferrets, Snow White and Freddy. Finally, there was Lorenzo the parrot and Fedor the Tiger. I could go on but we do like to do this sort of thing.

And in line with this tradition, Germany has a prediction for Euro 24 football competition. The opening match takes place tonight and Germany will win because Ludwig says so.

He's been described as a "Dachshund Oracle". He was presented with three bowls of chicken treats. One bowl was next to the German flag. Another bowl was next to the cross of St Andrew (the Scottish flag) and a third bowl was by both flags indicating a draw.

Ludwig confidently trotted determinedly over to the German bowl said the man organising the soothsaying, Philipp Paulus, the owner of a marketing company. He said that "Ludwig believes the German team will win the opener against the Scottish team."

Ludwig is three years old and entirely unfazed by all goings-on including the photographers. He also picked the tournament winner: Portugal.

It's possible he may be asked to make more predictions. It's hoped that he will be accurate! Apparently there have been some failures which is unsurprising when you think about it.

His predecessor was Sisi, also a dachshund, who picked Byern Munich to beat Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League Final and was off the mark by a small amount because the German team lost on penalties.

Ludwig's owner has confidence in his ability and added: "He is a very relaxed even-tempered and thoughtful character especially for a dachshund".

It appears that Germany had a fascination with animal oracles which dates back to Paul the Octopus. Paul lived in the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen. He picked the winner in four of Germany's six Euro 2008 matches. He also picked all of their seven matches in the 2010 World Cup and he predicted correctly that Spain would win. Remarkable.

On each occasion Paul was offered two transparent boxes marked with a national flag and containing a mussel. The first one opened marked the winner.

He became more famous after each new successful prediction. He became so famous that he had to have guards outside his tank at the Sea Life Centre.

He became an honorary citizen of the Spanish village of Carballino. Russian reporters travelled to Oberhausen to interview him to pick the winner of the next presidential election! Comment: no point as it had to be Putin 😡.

My thanks to The Times newspaper for this story.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Tabby cat walks on stage during Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ symphony in Istanbul

The Turkish like their cats and they have a lot of stray cats probably because there is not enough spaying and neutering under TNR programs and also with domestic cats in homes. 

Here we have a cute video of a tabby cat wandering onto the stage during a concert in Istanbul. Nothing happens which is great. The musicians carry on as if nothing has happened although one of two of the ladies and the men look at the cat as he/she ambles by. They smile in recognition. Cats tend to make us smile.

Tabby cat walks on stage Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony in Istanbul

It seems that the the audience took it in their stride too. This may be because as mentioned the Turkish are used to seeing lots of stray cats. Perhaps they are integral to city life and accepted.

That's a good and bad thing. Bad because too many cats are procreating and good because they are in general well treated.


You'll see mother cats bringing their kittens into mosques for sanctuary and the iman accepts it. And you see Muslims praying in mosques and cats joining in. No one blinks an eye. 

This is the link between the Prophet Mohammad's love of cats and the Islam faith which encourages Muslims to treat cats well.

The video is embedded from TikTok and it may disappear one day. Sorry if that has happened.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Labour Party will ban imports of foie gras into UK

As you can see from the title, this isn't about cats but it's about something which concerns me all the time: animal cruelty. And the creation of foie gras, a delicacy in France, is a form of animal cruelty; no question about it. The world knows it but it continues and I'm pleased to note that in The Times today, there is a report that "Imports of foie gras will be banned under Labour".

Labour Party will ban imports of foie gras into UK
Foie gras. Looks great, right? Shame it's the product of gross animal cruelty. Image: MikeB.

The journalist, Tom Ball, says that "A Labour government would ban the importation of foie gras, in effect outlawing the sale of the French delicacy in Britain."

In the UK, production of foie gras has been bound for a decade but, regrettably to animal advocates, 200 hundred tons of the food is imported from Europe into Britain annually.

For the sake of complete clarity, the process of creating foie gras involves force-feeding ducks and geese using a foot long tube stuffed down their throats until their livers become diseased swelling up to 10 times their natural size. Cruel? It is hard to deny that it is anything but horribly cruel.

In the UK, the Animals Abroad Bill had been introduced by the Conservative party but it was thought that it had been shelved under pressure from Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and other MPs on the right of the party.

Animal advocates revolted at the dropping of the bill including high profile personalities and actors such as Mark Rylance who wrote a letter to Rishi Sunak demanding Britain end its "complicity in this appalling trade".

Competition law prevents a product being banned outright. But if Labour wins the election on July 4 they will ban the importation of any products made through the force-feeding of ducks and geese.

Labour's shadow environment secretary said: "Labour has a proud track record on animal welfare from ending the testing of animals for cosmetic products and the cruelty of fur farming. The next Labour government will build on this. We will ban the commercial import of foie gras, where ducks and geese are aggressively force-fed."

Foie gras has been a staple in the French diet since 17th-century when it was a regional delicacy in the south-west of the country and in Alsace.

Production has declined from around 19,000 tons annually about 10 years ago to 10,000 tons in 2023. The reduction is due mainly to outbreaks of bird flu but since the late 1990s, there's been a halving in the number of European countries making foie gras. In short, there's been a gradual change in attitude towards the production of foie gras which is welcome but it is too slow for many animal advocates.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Sunday 2 June 2024

90% of domestic abuse professionals say pets a barrier to victims seeking safety

The percentages from this study are mind boggling. The picture painted is that when a woman is being abused by her partner, if she is the caregiver of a cat, the cat is exposed to violence too and sometimes killed or the abuser threatens to harm the victim's cat in 90% of the cases.

Cats Protection mural at Leake Street Arches in London


Here is the story:

Nearly 90 percent of professionals aiding domestic abuse survivors consider a pet to be an obstacle to seeking safety, according to a prominent animal welfare charity. Recent data from Cats Protection reveals that numerous cat owners are hindered from exiting abusive relationships by the concern for their pets' fate if abandoned.

The study involved Cats Protection gathering data from 409 individuals employed in social care, domestic abuse agencies, and helplines.

Additionally, they discovered that nearly nine out of ten (87 percent) care professionals have encountered situations where perpetrators have threatened cats or kittens with harm.

As many as 78 percent of respondents have reported physical abuse of cats, and 39 percent have indicated that their cats have been killed. Numerous owners have stated they feel trapped in their homes, concerned for their pets' safety. Cats Protection has partnered with the charity Refuge to provide a haven from domestic abuse through the Lifeline services offered by Cats Protection. This initiative has garnered support from celebrities such as Dame Joanna Lumley and Wendy Turner-Webster, who have made urgent appeals for additional volunteer cat fosterers.

Ms. Lumley stated, "Amid the challenges faced by survivors of domestic abuse, the bond between a person and their beloved pet can be a beacon of hope and comfort."

Following the charities' collaboration, a mural by artist 7th Pencil in Waterloo's Leake Street Arche, which ensured security in the area last week, was unveiled (see picture above). It was noted that the mural "highlights the unique bond owners share with their feline companions."

Amy Hyde, National Lifeline Manager at Cats Protection told the Evening Standard newspaper: 

“We created the mural alongside Refuge to highlight that there is support out there for both people experiencing domestic abuse through services like Refuge, but also for their cats as well through life lines.

“Cases can be really emotional and we’ve also come across children going into refuge. One of the nice parts of our role is we’ll quite often receive little pictures that the children have drawn of their cat that they want to send in to show to it.

“And we also keep the family updated of how the cats getting along whilst they are in care. So we'll keep them in foster care, normally for anything between six to nine months whilst the survivor is receiving support and is finding new housing. But we have been receiving so many calls so the Lifeline service is seeing one of its busiest times right now.”

The Cats Protection Lifeline service, supported by Refuge, has expanded its reach. Last year, the service extended from the Southeast to East Anglia, Yorkshire, and the Midlands. This year, it has further expanded to include Scotland and Wales.

This expansion comes after a particularly busy period for the charity in January, when Lifeline received 104 referrals, a 74 percent increase from the previous year, with 98 of those from the Southeast of England.

For daily updates with the best stories, you can register for newsletters from The Standard.


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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Saturday 25 May 2024

Can sand cats be pets? What to know about these adorable felines

Sand cats are fascinating creatures, but unfortunately, they are not suited for domestic life. Many people love the sand cat's appearance. So like a cute, and special domestic cat which encourages the belief that they could be a nice, exotic pet. Unfortunately, this is a genuine wild cat with a wild cat temperament. They are just as wild as a Bengal tiger in the wild. 


So from an attitude perspective they are pretty hard to live with. You can tame one and make them semi-domesticated but that wouldn't do either. Not much fun for the owner. They'll be noisy and the noise they make will not be the cute meow of the domestic cat.

When people live with wild cats their lives are disturbed by the experience. Far better to leave the sand cat in the wild. And you have to consider other issues too such as where the sand cat came from? A stolen kitten from a desert to be sold on the illegal black market? That sort of thing happens.

There many stories of failed or half-failed attempts to live with the two most popular wild cat species to be considered pets: the serval and the caracal. Many escape the home as it is far to small a home range for them. If and when they escape you can guess what can happen to them: panic in the neighbourhood and not infrequently the death of the cat.

You'll see them on the internet. Of they are social media celebrities which allow the owner to become celebrities vicariously. Not good I am afraid. Exploitation comes to mind.

Lastly you just don't see sand cat pets. People understand that it does not work.

RELATED: How do sand cats adapt to their environment?

Here are some more summarised reasons provided by Bing. This section is provided by Bing's AI bot: co-pilot and it is pretty poor to be honest in terms of answering the question. But it is here because this is the sort of info you'll see on other sites! 😎 And they are worse than this one on this sort of topic.
  1. Natural Habitat: Sand cats are native to deserts across parts of Africa and Asia. They prefer dry habitats with little vegetation, living in sandy, dry plains and rocky valleys. Their range includes the Sahara Desert in Algeria, Niger, and Morocco, as well as the Arabian Peninsula and parts of central Asia such as Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. They are deeply adapted to desert living not living room living (my added comment - see link above).

  2. Legal Restrictions: Keeping a sand cat as a pet is not recommended (highly so). In the United States, 35 states have banned keeping big cats as pets. Although sand cats are smaller than cheetahs or lions, they could still fall into the “big cat” category. Additionally, they are generally considered exotic animals, which makes them off-limits for pet ownership. Only six states (Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Delaware, and Oklahoma) do not ban or regulate having big cats as pets.

  3. Conservation Programs: The appropriate place for a captive sand cat is within a conservation program. While sand cats are not endangered, ongoing efforts aim to conserve and protect the species. These programs ensure that sand cats can continue to thrive in their natural habitats where they should stay. Sorry.

In summary, while sand cats may be captivating, it’s best to appreciate them from a distance and support conservation efforts rather than attempting to keep them as pets.🙄🐈‍⬛

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