H h

HHaddock    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Common edible sea fish.

Our definition:  Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) are marine fish who live on both sides of the North Atlantic.  They are easily recognized by a black lateral line running along their white side and a distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin.  Haddock is most commonly found at depths of 40 to 133 m (131 to 436 ft), but has a range as deep as 300 m (980 ft). It thrives in temperatures of 2 to 10°C (36 to 50°F). Juveniles prefer shallower waters and larger adults deeper water.  Generally, adult haddock do not engage in long migratory behaviour as do the younger fish, but seasonal movements have been known to occur across all ages.  Haddock feed primarily on small invertebrates, although larger members of the species may occasionally consume fish.  Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking during late March and early April. The most important spawning grounds are in the waters off middle Norway, near southwest Iceland, and Georges Bank. An average-sized female produces approximately 850,000 eggs, and larger females are capable of producing up to 3 million eggs each year.

Haggis    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Scottish dish of offal boiled in bag with oatmeal.

Our definition:  A Scottish dish consisting of a sheep’s, lamb’s or calf’s offal (the entrails and internal organs of the animal: heart, liver, lungs) mixed with suet (the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of an animal), oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag.   Traditionally the bag is made from the animal’s stomach, but in recent times an artificial casing is often used.

Ham    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1. Upper part of pig’s leg cured for food.

Our definition:  The severed leg of a slaughtered piglet (pigs are killed by the time they are six months old) which has been preserved by rubbing with dry salt or wet brine, or by smoking.

Hamburger    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Cake of minced beef, usually eaten in a soft bread roll.

Our definition:  Circular patties of the minced flesh of young cows, bullocks or castrated bulls (cows and bulls are killed when they are 1 – 2 years old) eaten in a bread roll.

Herbivore    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Plant-eating animal.

Our definition:  Herbivores are animals which are anatomically designed to live on plants.  Herbivorous mammals have well-developed facial musculature, fleshy lips, a relatively small opening into the oral cavity and a thickened, muscular tongue. The lips aid in the movement of food into the mouth and, along with the facial (cheek) musculature and tongue, assist in the chewing of food.  The lower jaw of plant-eating mammals has a pronounced sideways motion when eating. This lateral movement is necessary for the grinding motion of chewing.

The dentition of herbivores is quite varied depending on the kind of vegetation a particular species is adapted to eat. Although these animals differ in the types and numbers of teeth they posses, the various kinds of teeth when present, share common structural features. The incisors are broad, flattened and spade-like. Canines may be small as in horses, prominent as in hippos, pigs and some primates (these are thought to be used for defense) or absent altogether. The molars, in general, are squared and flattened on top to provide a grinding surface. The molars cannot vertically slide past one another in a shearing/slicing motion (as carnivores’ teeth do), but they do horizontally slide across one another to crush and grind. The surface features of the molars vary depending on the type of plant material the animal eats. The teeth of herbivorous animals are closely grouped so that the incisors form an efficient cropping/biting mechanism, and the upper and lower molars form extended platforms for crushing and grinding.

These animals carefully and methodically chew their food, pushing the food back and forth into the grinding teeth with the tongue and cheek muscles. This thorough process is necessary to mechanically disrupt plant cell walls in order to release the digestible intracellular contents and ensure thorough mixing of this material with their saliva. This is important because the saliva of plant-eating mammals often contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth.

Because of the relative difficulty with which various kinds of plant foods are broken down (due to large amounts of indigestible fibres), herbivores have significantly longer and in some cases, far more elaborate guts than carnivores. Herbivorous animals that consume plants containing a high proportion of cellulose must “ferment” (digest by bacterial enzyme action) their food to obtain the nutrient value. They are classified as either “ruminants” (foregut fermenters) or hindgut fermenters. The ruminants are the plant-eating animals with the celebrated multiple-chambered stomachs. Herbivorous animals that eat a diet of relatively soft vegetation do not need a multiple-chambered stomach. They typically have a simple stomach, and a long small intestine. These animals ferment the difficult-to-digest fibrous portions of their diets in their hindguts (colons). Many of these herbivores increase the sophistication and efficiency of their GI tracts by including carbohydrate-digesting enzymes in their saliva.

In herbivorous animals, the large intestine tends to be a highly specialized organ involved in water and electrolyte absorption, vitamin production and absorption, and/or fermentation of fibrous plant materials. The colons of herbivores are usually wider than their small intestine and are relatively long.

“Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.”

Read the rest of the in-depth article by Dr Milton Mills, which includes comparisons with carnivore and omnivore anatomy and physiology, from which this definition was taken.

Herring    noun

Oxford Definition:  N. Atlantic edible fish.

Our definition:  Herring is a shoaling fish and has the classical fish shape, and is silvery and streamlined. It has a single dorsal fin, and pelvic fins positioned slightly in front of the line of the dorsal fin. The pectoral fins, like the others on the fish, are soft and not stiff and ‘bony’ like on many other fishes. The lower jaw protrudes forward of the upper lip, and there is no visible lateral line. The body is deeper than it is wide, improving the streamlining, and the tail is deeply forked. The colouring of the body overall is silver, but closer inspection reveals that there is a darker blue iridescence over the upper half of the body, whilst the underside is paler. This colouration is called ‘countershading’, and provides a way of camouflaging the fish from attacks by its many predators from all angles.

Individuals reach maturity between the ages of three and nine years. At any month of the year, one of the many populations scattered across its vast range will be spawning. The eggs are sticky and are laid on marine vegetation or the seabed.

This species is ‘pelagic’ in its distribution throughout the ocean, in the surface waters down to a depth of about 200 metres. They stay away from the immediate coastal areas outside the spawning season. Herring avoid the deeper parts of the ocean, and are often found in vast surface shoals, covering several square kilometres of water.

The biggest threat to this species is over-harvesting by the fishing fleets of many nations. Although the herring is still a relatively numerous species, it is now feared that there more are being caught by trawlers than can reproduce annually, particularly in European waters. Domestic pressure on governments to support their fishing industries has led to overfishing, and agreed quotas being exceeded, depleting populations of herring across much of its range.

Honey    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  1.  Sweet, sticky, yellowish fluid made by bees from nectar.

Our definition:  Honey is a food made by bees for bees to feed them in the winter when there are no flowers. First worker bees go flower to flower, ingesting nectar and storing it in their honey stomachs where enzymes begin to break it down.  Then they return to the hive and regurgitate (vomit) it up for hive bees to eat.  Inside the hive bees’ bodies, the sugar in the nectar breaks down even more until it is regurgitated again into the honeycomb cells.  Then the hive bees beat their wings furiously, fanning the nectar to evaporate its remaining water content.  As the water evaporates, the sugars thicken into honey.  Once the honey is finished, the hive bee caps the beeswax cell, sealing the honey into the honeycomb for later consumption.

Hutch    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Box or cage for rabbits etc

Our definition:  Although hutches are now commonly used to house pet rabbits,  it was the Victorians who first kept rabbits in hutches as a short term storage solution before the animals went to the pot.

We’ve moved on a great deal since then, but the habit of keeping rabbits in hutches has stuck.

Rabbits are not designed to live in a confined space.  In the wild they cover an area equivalent to 30 football pitches. They’re not designed to live alone either – wild rabbits live in large social groups, foraging, grooming each other and huddling together for warmth.  Rabbits living alone experience high levels of stress.

Domestic rabbits are not fundamentally far removed from their wild cousins.  They share the same need to run, jump, explore and share companionship with their own kind,  so their accommodation must allow them to display these natural behaviours.

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