Saturday 20 April 2024

Do Muslims have to feed their cat with halal cat food?

The answer to the question in the title is probably the one you'd image: NO. As a Muslim there are no laws or rules to demand that you must feed your cat with halal pet food. The reason? All religions, including the Islamic faith, are human concepts. Animals don't worship a God. They have no knowledge whatsoever of any religion.

Not obligatory for Muslims. Image: DALLE

Non-halal meat is haram or forbidden. The only reason why is because of Islamic law. Making halal meat does not make it more acceptable in terms of taste etc. from a domestic cat's standpoint! In short halal meat is all about the Islamic faith which in turn is all about humans and a widespread belief by many hundreds of millions that there is a higher power.

You will find some Muslims in the UK running halal pet food businesses (such as Aihtsham Rashid in Leeds) and claiming that it is obligatory for Muslims to feed their cats and dogs with halal meat. I guess they would promote that idea but it is wrong. If you think I am wrong please comment and provide me with chapter and verse as to why. I need to see hard evidence please! πŸ’•πŸ˜Ž

What is halal meat?

Islamic Law (Sharia): Halal is an Arabic term that means “permissible.” Halal food adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Quran. It encompasses various aspects of life, including dietary guidelines. Muslims believe in what they see as the ethical treatment of animals, and halal practices align with this philosophy by promoting kindness, compassion, and humane treatment throughout the entire lifecycle of the animal.

Method of Slaughter: The Islamic form of slaughtering animals or poultry is called dhabiha. It involves killing through a precise cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery, and windpipe. During this process animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter. All blood is drained from the carcass. A Muslim recites a dedication known as tasmiya or shahada during the slaughter.

On this definition, halal meat is about promoting kindness to animals and yet British veterinarians say that conventional abattoir animal slaughter which starts by stunning the animal is more humane that slitting the animal's throat without stunning the animal first. 


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.

Can a resident in Ohio shoot feral cats in their backyard?

A person living in Ohio, USA, asked this question on a legal forum website: Am I able to shoot or kill these feral cats that destroy my garden and poop all over my yard and porch - there are 10?

Can a resident in Ohio shoot feral cats in their backyard?
Man in USA shooting feral cats. Image in the public domain (believed).

The very clear answer is NO. This man cannot shoot feral cats in his backyard. That is the advice of John Ashley Bell, attorney at law in Bexley, Ohio. He is an animal specialist as I understand it. He said the following: 
"YOU MAY NOT SHOOT THESE CATS!!!!!! With all due respect to my colleagues, this would be a criminal act! Under Ohio law, all cats are considered "companion animals," regardless of where they are. It is a CRIME in Ohio to "needlessly kill" any companion animal. See Ohio Revised Code section 959.131(B). Regardless of the concerns you states in your question, killing would be considered "needless" because there are many other possibilities, including the suggestion that you call Capital Area Humane (one of the finest agencies anywhere, by the way). The first cat that you kill can have you charged with a first degree misdemeanor. The next one would be a FELONY. Do not take the law into your own hands. We have plenty of other options."
Another attorney writing on that same forum said the same thing more or less.

The underlying an ever present problem with shooting feral cats in any county, city or state of the USA is that, at a distance, you don't really know if you are shooting a domestic cat or a feral cat. Or a cat in between the two such as a stray cat or a community cat. This means that when shooting a feral cat you could be shooting a domestic cat which would quite positively be a crime anywhere in the USA.

And it would be a crime to should feral cats in most states of the USA because you are committing animal cruelty. If you shoot a domestic cat, you will also be committing criminal damage. There will be a number of possible crimes when killing a domestic cat. 

These factors make it impractical the shoot feral cats and in any case it is highly immoral. It is animal cruelty. Why even ask the question? Lastly, there are many other ways to stop feral cats getting into your backyard. They need to be explored.

RELATED: An article about animal consciousness and sentience: Scientists propose that we should regard animals in general as conscious beings.

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.

Scientists propose that we should regard animals in general as conscious beings

Scientists have suggested that animals in general should be considered as conscious beings (reported in The Times today). The scientists have issued a declaration to that effect. What do they mean? The Times doesn't explain what "conscious being" means. I will presume that one aspect of this description means that the animal has the ability to be self-conscious which means that they have the ability to be aware of the fact that they are a being. The classic test is to look into a mirror and recognise the fact that you are looking at yourself.

Consciousness, according to Jonathan Birch from the London School of Economics, "gives us the ability to locate ourselves in time, to plan for the future, to remember specific events from our past, to make flexible decisions and learn from very sophisticated ways about the world around us."

On the mirror test, Tom Whipple, the science editor of The Times states that, "If you show some fish species a mirror, they will first attack it but then, when that fails, do odd things like swim upside down to see if their reflection follows."

This indicates that these fish species referred to are initially confused by the mirror image and then become aware of it indicating that they are self-conscious. They are conscious beings. It's remarkable if it's true that fish are self-conscious because we kill them in the billions in the cruellest of ways in the oceans annually. People treat fish as objects; inanimate objects actually. It's been found that this can feel pain. Another indication that they are conscious beings.

At the moment there are only a handful of animals that the scientists agree are self-conscious, which would fly in the face of this declaration, if my interpretation of what "conscious beings" means.

In another test, scientists made crayfish anxious. Then they alleviated that anxiety with a tranquilizing drug. They found it worked. So their brain responded to a mind altering drug. This proves that they have a mind.

A lot of scientists and philosophers believe that it is time to create the default position that animals are conscious.

Jonathan Birch from the London School of Economics said: "You've got all these behaviours where in the human case we would very naturally think that this was the sort of behaviour that consciousness enables". He's saying the behaviours of many animals indicate consciousness because they are similar to the behaviours of people.

Jonathan Birch is one of the organisers of "The New York Declaration". Animal sentience is bound up with animal consciousness an animal self-awareness. There's been a lot of research and subsequent information on the Internet about animal sentience. It's a great development because it drives people to an awareness that animals feel pain which in turn promotes animal welfare, the objective of hundreds of millions of animal advocates.

It said that 10 years ago the concept of animal sentience was hardly discussed and not even been founded. Things have changed.

Intelligence and sentience should not be confused as per Jeremy Bentham's argument. All we need to know is that an animal can feel pain and can suffer. If an animal can suffer it is a sentient being.
"The question is not, 'Can they reason? Nor can they talk? [But] can they suffer?
At the moment we believe that it is not possible to know for certain that an animal is conscious or self-aware. Although for mammals and birds it's almost certain that they have a "conscious experience". 

But crows, known for their intelligence, "can adaptively problem-solving, recognise people and even report their own experiences". It is possible, though, to argue that the ability to problem solve does not mean for a certainty that crows are conscious beings.

The above-mentioned declaration has been signed by 38 global experts.

"In the case of octopuses and cuttlefish and things like that, it is primarily behavioural evidence. But it's behavioural evidence pointing to remarkable abilities that no one really thought were there, to do with simulating the future, remembering specific events from the past", said Jonathan Birch.

The declaration, for me, is an indication that humans are moving in the right direction in their relationship with animals; a direction towards better animal welfare and a recognition that animals are sentient and possibly many more are self-aware than previously we thought was the case.

Even bees can be regarded as sentient and conscious beings. A recent test showed they enjoyed playing with a little ball.


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.

Friday 19 April 2024

Video of cat rescued from Dubai flood after clinging to door handle of submerged car

The cat was clinging on the door handle perhaps for a long time before rescue. Amazing. It is cute that the cat complained when the rescuer got him/her. Fear I guess. To be expected. For all we know the cat might have been feral. In which case his reaction to being grabbed was polite.

Grateful cat saved from Dubai flood while clinging to a car door handle
Cat clings to submerged car after the Dubai rains. The cat was rescued.

Here is the video from which the screenshot above was taken.

The Dubai floods of 2024 are a concerning event, but attributing them solely to global warming would require a more in-depth analysis. While we don’t have real-time data on this specific event, it is possible to provide some thoughts:

Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Global warming, caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions, contributes to changes in weather patterns and intensifies extreme events. Rising sea levels and changing precipitation patterns can lead to more frequent and severe floods in coastal areas. The weather was so extreme it is hard to disagree that climate change was the cause of partial cause.

Cloud Seeding: In that part of the world they do cloud seeding which artificially brings on rain but the cataclysmic rains were so severe and exceptional that the experts believe that cloud seeding could not be the cause.

Urban Development and Drainage Systems: Dubai’s rapid urbanization and extensive infrastructure development play a role. Urban areas with impermeable surfaces (roads, buildings) can exacerbate flooding by preventing natural water absorption.

Localized Factors

The specific causes of the 2024 floods in Dubai would require detailed analysis. Factors like heavy rainfall, inadequate drainage systems, and land use changes play a role.

Mitigation and Adaptation

Regardless of the cause, addressing flood risks involves better urban planning, improved drainage, and climate resilience measures. Adaptation strategies are crucial to minimize the impact of extreme weather events. Remember that while individual events cannot be directly attributed to global warming, the overall trend of more frequent and severe extreme weather events aligns with climate change predictions. It’s essential to continue monitoring and addressing these challenges globally. 🌍🌊

The above comes from an internet search. Personally I believe that these extreme rains were indeed caused by global warming.

This rescue makes me think of all the other animals, domestic and feral, cat and dog and others, who've not made it through this extreme event. We have no news about this aspect of the flooding. We know that 21 people have died in the floods.


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.

Gut health linked to sexual health in the panda and perhaps us?

An interesting study published online in the journal Ecology and Evolution came to the conclusion that the health of a panda's gut microbiota can affect their libido. It can affect how keen they are to have sex.

Although the scientists haven't discovered a direct causation between the type of bacteria in a panda's gut and how keen they were to have sex, there is an association according to the study. And it is tentatively proposed that a similar finding could be made in respect of humans.

It's known that in general the panda is not a very reliable stud. In general, my understanding is that they are not very keen on sex. Between male pandas, they can either be reliable studs which means 'capable of mating' or disinterested. 

They analysed the animals' gut bacteria and found that the gut bacteria of pandas in the group that were disinterested in sex was different to those who were capable of mating.

One difference was there was a low abundance of the bacterium Clostridium sensustricto. The researchers suggested that it was worth seeing whether dietary supplements alongside a wider range of bamboo might assist disinterested pandas perform to in the bedroom.

And they have further suggested that the same sort of improvements might occur in humans. In fact, a study from 2021 published in Translational Andrology and Urology use an almost identical methodology. The study looked at 60 men aged between 20 and 40 with and without erectile dysfunction.

They found that those that had problems with sex had a less diverse gut bacteria. A further study found that women with low libido had a gut bacteria "signature".

And we already know that the quality of a person's gut bacteria is very important to general well-being in various ways including supporting and enhancing their immune system to affecting hormones positively and behaviour and emotions. The scientists believe that gut bacteria can affect a person's sex drive.

The big caveat is that these studies have not proved causation meaning they have seen a pattern in terms of gut bacteria and libido in pandas but they have not found a direct causation between gut bacteria and low sex drive in pandas.


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.

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