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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cattle on a pasture in Germany
Cattle on a pasture in Germany

Livestock are domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consumption, while other times it refers only to farmed ruminants, such as cattle and goats.[1]

In recent years, some organizations have also raised livestock to promote the survival of rare breeds. The breeding, maintenance, and slaughter of these animals, known as animal husbandry, is a component of modern agriculture that has been practiced in many cultures since humanity's transition to farming from hunter-gatherer lifestyles.

Animal husbandry practices have varied widely across cultures and time periods. Originally, livestock were not confined by fences or enclosures, but these practices have largely shifted to intensive animal farming, sometimes referred to as "factory farming". Now, over 99% of livestock are raised on factory farms.[2] These practices increase yield of the various commercial outputs, but have also led to negative impacts on animal welfare and the environment. Livestock production continues to play a major economic and cultural role in numerous rural communities.

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Transcription

Welcome to Top10Archive! Agriculture and the domestication of animals helped spur the human race from hunter gatherers to self sufficient land settlers. Looking through the history books, we sought to find the most beneficial animals humans have domesticated through time and the resources they provided. From the insect that generated a trade commodity to mans best friend, here are our top picks for animals domesticated by humans. 10. Silkmoth The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silk moth, Bombyx Mori, and an economically important insect as it is the primary producer of silk. The domesticated variety, compared to the wild form, has increased cocoon size, growth rate, and efficiency of its digestion. The silk moth has gained tolerance to human presence, handling, and living in crowded conditions. It can no longer fly, depending on human assistance in finding a mate, and lacks a fear of potential predators. Silkworms were first domesticated in China over 5000 years ago, and since then silk production capacity of the species has increased nearly tenfold. Silk was an important trade commodity that started in China then spread to Korea and Japan, India and later the West. 9. Cat Felis catus, or the domesticated cat has had a very long relationship with humans, but the exact domestication era is highly speculated. Most believe the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats as early as 4,000 years ago, but some evidence of a Neolithic site of Shillourokambos, shows a purposeful cat buried next to a human burial, dated between 7485 B.C. and 7185 B.C. According to archaeologist J.A. Baldwin, wild cats were most likely first attracted to human settlements to hunt rodents that fed on agricultural stores. Their skill in hunting may have earned them the affectionate attention of humans for their inherent pest control. Early Egyptians were known to worship a cat goddess, and even mummified their beloved pets for their journey to the next life with mummified mice. 8. Camel The two surviving species of camel are the dromedary, or one humped camel, which inhabits the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and the Bactrian, or the two humped camel, which inhabits Central Asia. Both species have been domesticated, providing milk, meat, hair for textiles and goods such as felt pouches, and are working animals with tasks ranging from human transport to bearing loads. Dromedaries are believed to have been domesticated by humans in Somalia and Southern Arabia around 3,000 B.C. and the Bactrian in central Asia around 2,500B.C. Around 1200 B.C., the first camel saddles appeared, allowing for easier transportation and trade, and by 500 to 100 B.C., Bactrian camels attained military use. 7. Goat Goats were among the first domesticated animals and were adapted from the wild version of Capra egregious. Beginning around 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, Neolithic farmers began keeping small herds of goats for their milk and meat, their dung for fuel, and hair, bone, skin, and sinew for clothing and tools. Archaeological data suggests that two distinct places may be where goats were first domesticated, the Euphrates river valley at Nevali Cori, Turkey, and the Zagros Mountains of Iran at Ganj Dareh, but other sites such as the Indus Basin in Pakistan and central Anatolia are also mentioned. Goats are browsing animals, not grazers like cattle and sheep, and will readily revert to the wild and become feral if given the opportunity. Today there are more than 300 breeds of goats living in climates ranging from high altitude mountains to deserts. 6. Sheep Ovis aries, or Sheep were domesticated between 11,000 and 9000 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia from the wild mouflon. Sheep were among the first to be domesticated by mankind along with the goat and dog, with their wild relatives having several ideal characteristics such as lack of aggression, a manageable size, early sexual maturity, a social nature, and high reproduction rates. Today, Ovis aries is an entirely domesticated animal that is largely dependent on man for its health and survival, although feral sheep do exist, it is only in areas devoid of large predators and not on the scale of other feral domesticated species. While rearing of sheep for secondary products began in either southwest Asia or Western Europe, initially sheep were kept solely for meat, milk, and skins. Researchers believe that the development of warmer garments from sheep allowed man to traverse into colder climates. 5. Pig The domestic pig, scientifically named Sus domesticus, is also referred to as swine or hogs. Archaeological evidence suggests that pigs were domesticated from wild boar as early as 13,000 to 12,700 B.C. in the Near East's Tigris Basin. Remains of pigs have been dated to earlier than 11,400 B.C. in Cyprus. Research also shows a separate domestication in China, which took place about 8000 years ago. The adaptable nature and omnivorous diet of the wild boar allowed early humans to domesticate it readily. Pigs were mostly used for food, but early civilization also used pig's hide for shields, bones for tools and weapons, and bristles for brushes. Domestic pigs have become feral again in many parts of the world, including New Zealand and Northern Queensland, and have caused substantial environmental damage. 4. Chicken One of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a population of more than 19 billion in 2011, Gallus domesticus, or the common Chicken, is a domesticated fowl used primarily as a source of food, both for their meat and eggs. Derived from the wild red junglefowl approximately 10,500 years ago, the bird still runs wild in most of southeast Asia. Recent research suggests however that here may be multiple origins of domestication in distinct areas of South and Southeast Asia, including North and South China, Thailand, Burma, and India. Behaviorally, domesticated chickens are less active, have fewer social interactions, are less aggressive to predators, and are less likely to go looking for foreign food sources than their wild ancestors. They also have increased adult body weight, simplified plumage, their egg production starts earlier and more frequently, and produce larger eggs. 3. Horse Perhaps the most majestic of all domesticated animals, horses appear in Paleolithic cave art as early as 30,000 B.C., but these wild horses were probably hunted for meat. How and when wild horses were domesticated is disputed, but the clearest evidence of early use was as a means of transport due to chariot burials dated to 2000 B.C. However, an increasing amount of evidence supports the hypothesis that horses were domesticated in the Eurasian Steppes approximately 3500 B.C. Regardless of the specific era of domestication, the use of horses spread rapidly across Eurasia for transportation, agricultural work, and warfare. Many populations of feral horses exist throughout the world, but are descended from domesticated animals, giving researchers a glimpse at how their prehistoric ancestors may have lived. 2. Cattle Cattle, or cows, are raised as livestock for meat, milk and other dairy products and as draft animals. Other products include leather and dung for manure or fuel. Cattle have been domesticated since the early Neolithic period, approximately 10,500 years ago from wild aurochs. There are two major places of domestication, one in the Middle East and Europe that gave us the taurine line and the second in the Indian subcontinent which resulted in the indicine line. As early as 9000 B.C., both grain and cattle were used as money or as barter, giving the seller the ability to set a fixed price. According to an estimate in 2003, there are approximately 1.3 billion cattle in the world, and in 2009, cattle became the first livestock animal to have a fully mapped genome. 1. Dog Also referred to as canines, the domestic dog, the gray wolf, and the extinct Taymyr wolf diverged at around the same time of approximately 35,000 years ago. This implies that the earliest dogs arose in the time that humans were still hunter gatherers and not agriculturists. When and where dogs were first domesticated has vexed geneticists for the past 20 years and archaeologists for many decades longer. Identifying the earliest dogs is difficult because the key morphological character that are used by zooarchaeologists to differentiate domestic dogs from their wild wolf ancestors were not fixed during the initial phases of the domestication process. Regardless, dogs top our list due to the many abilities that they offer. The old adage of "man's best friend" deserves its meaning, but other than companionship, dogs are natural hunters, great trackers, and protectors.

Contents

Etymology

This Australian road sign uses the less common term "stock" for livestock.
This Australian road sign uses the less common term "stock" for livestock.

Livestock as a word was first used between 1650 and 1660, as a merger between the words "live" and "stock".[3] In some periods, "cattle" and "livestock" have been used interchangeably. Today, the modern meaning of cattle is domesticated bovines, while livestock has a wider sense.[4]

United States federal legislation defines the term to make specified agricultural commodities eligible or ineligible for a program or activity. For example, the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-78, Title IX) defines livestock only as cattle, swine, and sheep, while the 1988 disaster assistance legislation defined the term as "cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), equine animals used for food or in the production of food, fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary."[5]

Deadstock is defined in contradistinction to livestock as "animals that have died before slaughter, sometimes from illness". It is illegal in many countries, such as Canada, to sell or process meat from dead animals for human consumption.[6]

History

Animal-rearing originated during the cultural transition to settled farming communities from hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Animals are domesticated when their breeding and living conditions are controlled by humans. Over time, the collective behaviour, lifecycle and physiology of livestock have changed radically. Many modern farm animals are unsuited to life in the wild.

The dog was domesticated early; dogs appear in Europe and the Far East from about 15,000 years ago.[7] Goats and sheep were domesticated in multiple events sometime between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago in Southwest Asia.[8] Pigs were domesticated by 8,500 BC in the Near East[9] and 6,000 BC in China.[10] Domestication of the horse dates to around 4000 BC.[11] Cattle have been domesticated since approximately 10,500 years ago.[12] Chickens and other poultry may have been domesticated around 7000 BC.[13]

Types

The term "livestock" is nebulous and may be defined narrowly or broadly. Broadly, livestock refers to any breed or population of animal kept by humans for a useful, commercial purpose. This can mean domestic animals, semidomestic animals, or captive wild animals. Semidomesticated refers to animals which are only lightly domesticated or of disputed status. These populations may also be in the process of domestication.

Animal / Type Domestication status Wild ancestor Time of first captivity, domestication Area of first captivity, domestication Current commercial uses Picture Ref
Alpaca
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Vicuña Between 5000 BC and 4000 BC Andes Alpaca fiber, meat
Corazon Full.jpg
Addax
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Addax 2500 BCE Egypt Meat, hides
Addax-1-Zachi-Evenor.jpg
Bali cattle
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Banteng Unknown Southeast Asia, Bali Meat, milk, draught
Balinese cow.JPG
Bison
Mammal, herbivore
captive (see also Beefalo) N/A Late 19th century North America Meat, leather
American bison k5680-1.jpg
Camel
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Wild dromedary and Bactrian camel Between 4000 BC and 1400 BC Asia Mount, pack animal, meat, milk, camel hair
Chameau de bactriane.JPG
Cattle
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Aurochs 6000 BC Southwest Asia, South Asia, North Africa Meat (beef, veal), milk, leather, draught
Cow female black white.jpg
Capybara
Mammal, herbivore
captive Capybara Unknown South America Meat, skins, pet
Capybara Hattiesburg Zoo (70909b-42) 2560x1600.jpg
Collared peccary
Mammal, omnivore
captive Collared peccary Unknown Brazil Meat, tusks, skins, pet
Collared peccary02 - melbourne zoo.jpg
Deer
Mammal, herbivore
captive N/A First century AD UK Meat (venison), leather, antlers, antler velvet
Silz cerf22.jpg
Donkey
Mammal, herbivore
domestic African wild ass 4000 BC Egypt Mount, pack animal, draught, meat, milk
Donkey 1 arp 750px.jpg
Eland
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Common eland, Giant eland Unknown South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, West Africa Meat, milk, leather, hides, horns
Taurotragus oryx.jpg
Elk
Mammal, herbivore
captive Elk 1990s North America Meat, antlers, leather, hides
Rocky Mountain Bull Elk.jpg
Fallow deer
Mammal, herbivore
semidomestic Fallow deer 9th century BC Mediterranean Basin Meat, antlers, hides, ornamentation
Fallow deer, Dyrham - geograph.org.uk - 1346340.jpg
Gayal
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Gaur Unknown Southeast Asia Meat, draught
Mithun.jpg
Goat
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Wild goat 8000 BC Southwest Asia Milk, meat, wool, leather, light draught
Capra, Crete 4.jpg
Guinea pig
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Cavia tschudii 5000 BC South America Meat, pet
Caviaklein.jpg
Greater cane rat
Mammal, herbivore
captive Greater cane rat Unknown West Africa Meat
Thryonomys swinderianus1.jpeg
Greater kudu
Mammal, herbivore
captive Greater kudu Unknown South Africa Meat, hides, horns, leather, pet
Male greater kudu.jpg
Horse
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Wild horse 4000 BC Eurasian Steppes Mount, draught, milk, meat, pet, pack animal
Nokota Horses cropped.jpg
Llama
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Guanaco 3500 BC Andes Pack animal, draught, meat, fiber
Pack llamas posing near Muir Trail.jpg
Mule
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Sterile Hybrid offspring of Jack donkey x mare (female horse)     Mount, pack animal, draught
09.Moriles Mula.JPG
Moose
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Moose 1940s Russia, Sweden, Finland, Alaska Meat, milk, antlers, research, draft
Moose-Gustav.jpg
Muskox
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Muskox 1960s Alaska Meat, wool, milk
Ovibos moschatus qtl3.jpg
Pig
Mammal, omnivore
domestic Wild boar 7000 BC Eastern Anatolia Meat (pork), leather, pet, mount, research
Sow with piglet.jpg
Rabbit
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Wild rabbit AD 400-900 France Meat, fur, leather, pet, research
Miniature Lop - Side View.jpg
Reindeer
Mammal, herbivore
semidomestic Reindeer 3000 BC Northern Russia Meat, leather, antlers, milk, draught
Caribou using antlers.jpg
Sika deer
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Sika deer Unknown Japan, China Meat, antlers, hides, leather, pet, tourism
Sikahjort.jpg
Scimitar oryx
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Scimitar oryx 2320-2150 BC Egypt Meat, sacrifice, horns, hides, leather
Scimitar oryx1.jpg
Sheep
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Asiatic mouflon sheep Between 11000 and 9000 BC Southwest Asia Wool, milk, leather, meat (lamb and mutton)
Pair of Icelandic Sheep.jpg
Thorold's deer
Mammal, herbivore
captive Thorold's deer Unknown China Meat, antlers
CervusAlbirostris2.jpg
White-tailed deer
Mammal, herbivore
captive White-tailed deer Unknown West Virginia, Florida, Colombia Meat, antlers, hides, pet
White-tailed deer.jpg
Water buffalo
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Wild Asian water buffalo (Arni) 4000 BC South Asia Mount, draught, meat, milk
BUFFALO159.JPG
Yak
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Wild yak 2500 BC Tibet, Nepal Meat, milk, fiber, mount, pack animal, draught
Bos grunniens - Syracuse Zoo.jpg
Zebu
Mammal, herbivore
domestic Aurochs 8000 BC India Meat, milk, draught, hides
Gray Zebu Bull.jpg

 

Farming practices

Goat family with 1-week-old kid
Goat family with 1-week-old kid
Farrowing site in a natural cave in northern Spain
Farrowing site in a natural cave in northern Spain

Traditionally, animal husbandry was part of the subsistence farmer's way of life, producing not only the food needed by the family but also the fuel, fertiliser, clothing, transport and draught power. Killing the animal for food was a secondary consideration, and wherever possible its products, such as wool, eggs, milk and blood (by the Maasai) were harvested while the animal was still alive.[14] In the traditional system of transhumance, people and livestock moved seasonally between fixed summer and winter pastures; in montane regions the summer pasture was up in the mountains, the winter pasture in the valleys.[15]

Animals can be kept extensively or intensively. Extensive systems involve animals roaming at will, or under the supervision of a herdsman, often for their protection from predators. Ranching in the Western United States involves large herds of cattle grazing widely over public and private lands.[16]Similar cattle stations are found in South America, Australia and other places with large areas of land and low rainfall. Ranching systems have been used for sheep, deer, ostrich, emu, llama and alpaca.[17] In the uplands of the United Kingdom, sheep are turned out on the fells in spring and graze the abundant mountain grasses untended, being brought to lower altitudes late in the year, with supplementary feeding being provided in winter.[18] In rural locations, pigs and poultry can obtain much of their nutrition from scavenging, and in African communities, hens may live for months without being fed, and still produce one or two eggs a week.[14] At the other extreme, in the more developed parts of the world, animals are often intensively managed; dairy cows may be kept in zero-grazing conditions with all their forage brought to them; beef cattle may be kept in high density feedlots;[19] pigs may be housed in climate-controlled buildings and never go outdoors;[20] poultry may be reared in barns and kept in cages as laying birds under lighting-controlled conditions. In between these two extremes are semi-intensive, often family run farms where livestock graze outside for much of the year, silage or hay is made to cover the times of year when the grass stops growing, and fertiliser, feed and other inputs are bought onto the farm from outside.[21]

Predation

Livestock farmers have suffered from wild animal predation and theft by rustlers. In North America, animals such as the gray wolf, grizzly bear, cougar, and coyote are sometimes considered a threat to livestock. In Eurasia and Africa, predators include the wolf, leopard, tiger, lion, dhole, Asiatic black bear, crocodile, spotted hyena, and other carnivores. In South America, feral dogs, jaguar, anacondas, and spectacled bears are threats to livestock. In Australia, the dingo, fox, and wedge-tailed eagle are common predators, with an additional threat from domestic dogs that may kill in response to a hunting instinct, leaving the carcass uneaten.[22][23]

Disease

Good husbandry, proper feeding, and hygiene are the main contributors to animal health on the farm, bringing economic benefits through maximised production. When, despite these precautions, animals still become sick, they are treated with veterinary medicines, by the farmer and the veterinarian. In the European Union, when farmers treat their own animals, they are required to follow the guidelines for treatment and to record the treatments given.[24] Animals are susceptible to a number of diseases and conditions that may affect their health. Some, like classical swine fever[25] and scrapie[26] are specific to one type of stock, while others, like foot-and-mouth disease affect all cloven-hoofed animals.[27] Where the condition is serious, governments impose regulations on import and export, on the movement of stock, quarantine restrictions and the reporting of suspected cases. Vaccines are available against certain diseases, and antibiotics are widely used where appropriate. At one time, antibiotics were routinely added to certain compound foodstuffs to promote growth, but this practice is now frowned on in many countries because of the risk that it may lead to antibiotic resistance.[28] Animals living under intensive conditions are particularly prone to internal and external parasites; increasing numbers of sea lice are affecting farmed salmon in Scotland.[29] Reducing the parasite burdens of livestock results in increased productivity and profitability.[30]

Transportation and marketing

Pigs being loaded into their transport
Pigs being loaded into their transport

Since many livestock are herd animals, they were historically driven to market "on the hoof" to a town or other central location. The method is still used in some parts of the world.[31]

Truck transport is now common in developed countries.[32]

Local and regional livestock auctions and commodity markets facilitate trade in livestock. In other areas, livestock may be bought and sold in a bazaar, such as may be found in many parts of Central Asia.

In developing countries, providing access to markets has encouraged farmers to invest in livestock, with the result being improved livelihoods. For example, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has worked in Zimbabwe to help farmers make their most of their livestock herds.[33]

In stock shows, farmers bring their best livestock to compete with one another.[34]

Environmental impact

Livestock production requires large areas of land.
Livestock production requires large areas of land.

Animal husbandry has a significant impact on the world environment. It is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world,[35] and livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth's ice-free land.[36] Livestock production is a contributing factor in species extinction, desertification,[37] and habitat destruction.[38] Animal agriculture contributes to species extinction in various ways. Habitat is destroyed by clearing forests and converting land to grow feed crops and for animal grazing, while predators and herbivores are frequently targeted and hunted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits; for example, animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region.[39] In addition, livestock produce greenhouse gases. Cows produce some 570 million cubic metres of methane per day,[40] that accounts for from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet.[41] Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.[41] As a result, ways of mitigating animal husbandry's environmental impact are being studied. Strategies include using biogas from manure.[42]

Economic and social benefits

The value of global livestock production in 2013 has been estimated at about 883 billion dollars, (constant 2005-2006 dollars).[43]

Livestock provide a variety of food and nonfood products; the latter include leather, wool, pharmaceuticals, bone products, industrial protein, and fats. For many abattoirs, very little animal biomass may be wasted at slaughter. Even intestinal contents removed at slaughter may be recovered for use as fertilizer. Livestock manure helps maintain the fertility of grazing lands. Manure is commonly collected from barns and feeding areas to fertilize cropland. In some places, animal manure is used as fuel, either directly (as in some developing countries), or indirectly (as a source of methane for heating or for generating electricity). In regions where machine power is limited, some classes of livestock are used as draft stock, not only for tillage and other on-farm use, but also for transport of people and goods. In 1997, livestock provided energy for between an estimated 25 and 64% of cultivation energy in the world's irrigated systems, and that 300 million draft animals were used globally in small-scale agriculture.[44]

Although livestock production serves as a source of income, it can provide additional economic values for rural families, often serving as a major contributor to food security and economic security. Livestock can serve as insurance against risk[45] and is an economic buffer (of income and/or food supply) in some regions and some economies (e.g., during some African droughts). However, its use as a buffer may sometimes be limited where alternatives are present,[46] which may reflect strategic maintenance of insurance in addition to a desire to retain productive assets. Even for some livestock owners in developed nations, livestock can serve as a kind of insurance.[47] Some crop growers may produce livestock as a strategy for diversification of their income sources, to reduce risks related to weather, markets and other factors.[48][49]

Many studies[which?] have found evidence of the social, as well as economic, importance of livestock in developing countries and in regions of rural poverty, and such evidence is not confined to pastoral and nomadic societies.[45][50][51][52][53]

Social values in developed countries can also be considerable. For example, in a study of livestock ranching permitted on national forest land in New Mexico, USA, it was concluded that "ranching maintains traditional values and connects families to ancestral lands and cultural heritage", and that a "sense of place, attachment to land, and the value of preserving open space were common themes". "The importance of land and animals as means of maintaining culture and way of life figured repeatedly in permittee responses, as did the subjects of responsibility and respect for land, animals, family, and community."[54]

In the US, profit tends to rank low among motivations for involvement in livestock ranching.[55] Instead, family, tradition and a desired way of life tend to be major motivators for ranch purchase, and ranchers "historically have been willing to accept low returns from livestock production."[56]

See also

References

  1. ^ "livestock". Britannica.com.
  2. ^ "NASS - Census of Agriculture - Publications - 2012". USDA. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  3. ^ "Livestock definition". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Cattle | Define Cattle at Dictionary.com". Dictionary.reference.com. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  5. ^ "Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws" (PDF). 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
  6. ^ cbc.ca: "Police launch investigation into Aylmer Meat Packers", 28 Aug 2003
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