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Livestock are the
domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that sec ...
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
s raised in an
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...

agricultural
setting to provide labor and produce
commodities In economics, a commodity is an economic goods, good, usually a resource, that has full or substantial fungibility: that is, the Market (economics), market treats instances of the good as equivalent or nearly so with no regard to who Production ...
such as
meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular respiratio ...

meat
,
egg An egg is the organic vessel containing the in which an develops until it can survive on its own, at which point the animal hatches. An egg results from of an . Most s, (excluding s), and lay eggs, although some, such as s, do not. eg ...
s,
milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

milk
,
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of glabrous skin, is covered in follicles ...

fur
,
leather Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of arti ...

leather
, and
wool Wool is the textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitti ...
. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to animals that are raised for consumption, and sometimes used to refer solely to farmed
ruminant Ruminants ( Ruminantia) are large herbivorous grazing or browsing s that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by it in a specialized prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process, which takes place in th ...
s, such as
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
and
goats The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of '' C. aegagrus'' domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of infl ...

goats
.
Horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to ...

Horse
s are considered livestock in the United States. The
USDA The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
classifies pork, veal, beef, and lamb (
mutton Lamb, hogget, and mutton, generically sheep meat, are the meat of domestic sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artio ...
) as livestock, and all livestock as
red meat In gastronomy 200px, Fine food, the principal study of gastronomy Gastronomy is a compound word that derives from the ancient Greek words γαστήρ -τρός "stomach" and -νομία "-rule". It is the study of the relationship between ...
.
Poultry Poultry () are domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable s ...

Poultry
and
fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ray-finned fish, belonging to the class , with over 95 ...

fish
are not included in the category. The breeding, maintenance, and slaughter of livestock, known as
animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long ...
, is a part of modern
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
and has been practiced in many cultures since humanity's transition to
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors suc ...

farming
from
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
lifestyles. Animal husbandry practices have varied widely across cultures and time periods. It continues to play a major economic and cultural role in numerous communities. Livestock farming practices have largely shifted to
intensive animal farming In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for form ...
. Intensive animal farming increases the yield of the various commercial outputs, but also negatively impacts
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume or ...
, the
environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with their chemical interactions that affect an organism or ...
, and
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a lis ...

public health
. In particular, livestock, especially beef, dairy and sheep stocks, are an outsized source of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.


Etymology

The word ''livestock'' was first used between 1650 and 1660, as a
compound word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most language ...
combining the words "live" and "stock". In some periods, "
cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large domestication, domesticated Cloven hoof, cloven-hooved herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae ...

cattle
" and "livestock" have been used interchangeably. Today, the modern meaning of cattle is domesticated
bovine The biological subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characte ...

bovine
s, while livestock has a wider sense. 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". ''Deadstock'' is defined in contradistinction to livestock as "animals that have died before slaughter, sometimes from illness or disease". It is illegal in many countries, such as
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
, to sell or process meat from dead animals for human consumption.


History

Animal-rearing originated during the cultural transition to settled farming communities from
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
lifestyles. Animals are domesticated when their breeding and living conditions are controlled by humans. Over time, the collective behaviour, lifecycle and
physiology Physiology (; ) is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...
of livestock have changed radically. Many modern farmed 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.
Goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of typically kept as . It was from the (''C. aegagrus'') of and . The goat is a member of the animal family and the subfamily , meaning it is closely related ...

Goat
s and sheep were domesticated in multiple events sometime between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago in Southwest Asia. Pigs were domesticated by 8,500 BC in the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
and 6,000 BC in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical and 14 different countries, the in the world after . Covering an area of ap ...

China
.
Domestication of the horse A number of hypotheses exist on many of the key issues regarding the domestication of the horse. Although horses appeared in Paleolithic cave art as early as 30,000 BCE, these were wild horses and were probably hunted for meat. How and when horse ...
dates to around 4,000 BC. Cattle have been domesticated since approximately 10,500 years ago. Chickens and other poultry may have been domesticated around 7,000 BC.


Types

The term "livestock" is indistinct 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.


Micro-livestock

''Micro-livestock'' is the term used for much-smaller animals, usually mammals. The two predominate categories are
rodents Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Ro ...
and lagomorphs (rabbits). Even-smaller animals are kept and raised, such as
crickets Crickets are Orthopteran insects which are related to Tettigoniidae, bush crickets, and, more distantly, to grasshoppers. In older literature, such as Augustus Daniel Imms, Imms,Imms AD, rev. Richards OW & Davies RG (1970) ''A General Textbook ...
and
honey bees Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some other Bee, bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretions of other insects (such as honeydew (secretion), honeydew), by reg ...

honey bees
. Micro-livestock does not generally include fish (
aquaculture Aquaculture (less commonly spelled aquiculture), also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct rel ...
) or chickens (
poultry farming Poultry farming is the form of animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding ...
).


Farming practices

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 Blood is a body fluid Body fluids, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers t ...

blood
(by the
Maasai
Maasai
) were harvested while the animal was still alive. In the traditional system of
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower val ...

transhumance
, people and livestock moved seasonally between fixed summer and winter pastures; in
montane Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area ...

montane
regions the summer pasture was up in the mountains, the winter pasture in the valleys. 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 Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (which ...

predators
.
Ranch A ranch (from es, rancho) is an area of landscape, land, including various structures, given primarily to ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle and sheep. It is a subtype of a farm. These terms are most often appl ...
ing in the
Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the ...
involves large herds of cattle grazing widely over public and private lands. 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 Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapo ...

sheep
,
deer Deer or true deer are ed s forming the Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the , including the , the (wapiti), the , and the ; and the , including the (caribou), , the , and the . Male deer of all species (except the Chinese ) as we ...

deer
,
ostrich ''Struthio'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a ...

ostrich
,
emu The emu (''Dromaius novaehollandiae'') is the second-largest living bird by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. It is endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological c ...

emu
,
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a List of meat animals, meat and pack animal by Inca empire, Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Llamas are social animals and live with othe ...

llama
and
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria ...

alpaca
. 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. In rural locations,
pig The pig (''Sus domesticus''), often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus '' Sus'', is an omnivorous An omnivore () is an animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and ani ...

pig
s and
poultry Poultry () are domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable s ...

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. 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
feedlot A feedlot or feed yard is a type of animal feeding operation (AFO) which is used in intensive animal farming, notably beef Beef is the culinary name for meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed an ...

feedlot
s; pigs may be housed in climate-controlled buildings and never go outdoors; 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.


Predation

Livestock farmers have suffered from
wild animal Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal species (biology), species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced species, introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous ...

wild animal
predation and theft by rustlers. In North America, animals such as the
gray wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large Canis, canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of Canis lupus, subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been recognized, and gray wolv ...

gray wolf
,
grizzly bear The grizzly bear (''Ursus arctos horribilis''), also known as the North American brown bear or simply grizzly, is a or of the inhabiting . In addition to the mainland grizzly (''Ursus arctos horribilis''), other morphological forms of brow ...
,
cougar The cougar (''Puma concolor'') is a large cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well a ...

cougar
, and
coyote The coyote (''Canis latrans'') is a of native to . It is smaller than its close relative, the , and slightly smaller than the closely related and . It fills much of the same as the does in . The coyote is larger and more predatory and was ...

coyote
are sometimes considered a threat to livestock. In Eurasia and Africa, predators include the wolf,
leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant in the ', a member of the cat , . It occurs in a wide range in , in some parts of and , , and on the to and . It is listed as on the because leopard populations are threatened ...

leopard
,
tiger The tiger (''Panthera tigris'') is the largest living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is ...

tiger
,
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded head, round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphic; ...

lion
,
dhole The dhole (; ''Cuon alpinus'') is a Canidae, canid native to Central Asia, Central, South Asia, South, East Asia, East, and Southeast Asia. Other English names for the species include Asian wild dog, Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling ...

dhole
,
Asiatic black bear The Asian black bear (''Ursus thibetanus''), also known as the Asiatic black bear, moon bear and white-chested bear, is a medium-sized bear Bears are carnivora Carnivora is an order of placental mammals that have specialized in primaril ...

Asiatic black bear
,
crocodile Crocodiles (family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. I ...

crocodile
,
spotted hyena The spotted hyena (''Crocuta crocuta''), also known as the laughing hyena, is a hyena species, currently classed as the sole extant member of the genus ''Crocuta'', native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN ...

spotted hyena
, and other
carnivores A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organ ...
. In South America,
feral dogs A free-ranging dog is a dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The dog descended from an ancient, extinct wolf, with the modern grey wolf being the dog's nearest living ...
,
jaguar The jaguar (''Panthera onca'') is a large cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as ...

jaguar
s,
anaconda Anacondas or water boas are a group of large snake Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote Amniotes (from Greek ἀμνίον ''a ...

anaconda
s, and
spectacled bear The spectacled bear (''Tremarctos ornatus''), also known as the Andean bear, Andean short-faced bear, or mountain bear and locally as ''jukumari'' (Aymara Aymara may refer to: Languages and people * Aymaran languages, the second most widespread ...
s are threats to livestock. In Australia, the
dingo The dingo (''Canis familiaris'', ''Canis familiaris dingo'', ''Canis dingo'', or ''Canis lupus dingo'') is an ancient (Basal (phylogenetics), basal) lineage of dog found in Australia (continent), Australia. Its taxonomic classification is deba ...

dingo
,
fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, s belonging to several of the family . They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned , and a long bushy (or ''brush''). Twelve belong to the "true foxes" group of ge ...

fox
, and
wedge-tailed eagle The wedge-tailed eagle (''Aquila audax'') is the largest bird of prey in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Aust ...
are common predators, with an additional threat from domestic dogs that may kill in response to a hunting instinct, leaving the carcass uneaten.


Disease

Good husbandry, proper feeding, and
hygiene Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmi ...

hygiene
are the main contributors to animal health on farms, bringing economic benefits through maximised production. When, despite these precautions, animals still become sick, they are treated with
veterinary medicine Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge i ...
s, by the farmer and the
veterinarian A veterinarian (vet), also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a medical professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, managing reproductive health and injuries in non-human animal ...
. 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. Animals are susceptible to a number of diseases and conditions that may affect their health. Some, like classical swine fever and
scrapie Scrapie () is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the nervous systems of sheep and goats. It is one of several transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), and as such it is thought to be caused by a prion. Scrapie has been known since ...
are specific to one type of stock, while others, like
foot-and-mouth disease Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organi ...

foot-and-mouth disease
affect all cloven-hoofed animals. Where the condition is serious, governments impose regulations on import and export, on the movement of stock,
quarantine A quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people, animals and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arr ...

quarantine
restrictions and the reporting of suspected cases.
Vaccine A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity The adaptive immune system, also referred as the acquired immune system, is a subsystem of the immune system The immune system is a network of biological process ...

Vaccine
s 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 is now considered poor practice in many countries because of the risk that it may lead to
antibiotic resistance Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) occurs when microbe A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism'' from the el, ὀργανισμός, ''organismós'', "organism"). It is usually written as a single word but is some ...

antibiotic resistance
. Animals living under intensive conditions are particularly prone to internal and external parasites; increasing numbers of sea lice are affecting farmed salmon in Scotland. Reducing the parasite burdens of livestock results in increased productivity and profitability. According to the
Special Report on Climate Change and Land The United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and ...
, Livestock diseases are expected to get worse as climate change increases temperature and precipitation variability.


Transportation and marketing

Since many livestock are herd animals, they were historically "on the hoof" to a town or other central location. The method is still used in some parts of the world.
Truck A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled vehicle, commonly wheeled, that does not operate on Track (rail transport), rails (such as trains or trams) ...
transport is now common in developed countries. Local and regional livestock
auction An auction is usually a process of buying and selling goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), d ...

auction
s and
commodity market A commodity market is a market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films ...
s facilitate trade in livestock. In Canada at the
Cargill Cargill, Incorporated is an American Privately held company, privately held global food corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, Minnetonka, Minnesota, and incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. Founded in 1865, it is the largest privately ...
slaughterhouse in
High River, Alberta High River is a town within the Calgary Metropolitan Region The Calgary Metropolitan Region (CMR), also commonly referred to as the Calgary Region, is a conglomeration of municipalities centred on Calgary, the List of cities in Alberta, largest ...
, 2,000 workers process 4,500 cattle per day, or more than one-third of Canada's capacity. It closed when some of its workers became infected with
coronavirus disease 2019 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease A contagious disease is a disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization o ...
. The Cargill plant together with the JBS plant in Brooks, Alberta and the Harmony Beef plant in Balzac, Alberta represent fully three-quarters of the Canadian beef supply. In other areas, livestock may be bought and sold in a bazaar or wet market, 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. In Agricultural show, stock shows, farmers bring their best livestock to compete with one another.


Abundance

Humans and their livestock make up more than 90% of the biomass of all terrestrial vertebrates, and almost as much as all insects combined.


Environmental impact

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, and livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of Earth's ice-free land. Livestock production is a contributing factor in species extinction, desertification, and habitat destruction. Meat is considered one of the prime factors contributing to the current Holocene extinction, sixth mass extinction. 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 (for example, animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, deforestation in the Amazon region), while predators and herbivores are frequently targeted and hunted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits. In addition, livestock produce greenhouse gases. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has estimated that agriculture (including not only livestock, but also food crop, biofuel and other production) accounted for about 10 to 12 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (expressed as 100-year carbon dioxide equivalents) in 2005 and in 2010.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2014. Climate change 2014, Mitigation of climate change. Fifth Assessment Report. Cows produce some 570 million cubic metres of methane per day, that accounts for from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. As a result, ways of mitigating animal husbandry's environmental impact are being studied. Strategies include using biogas from manure.


Economic and social benefits

The value of global livestock production in 2013 has been estimated at Orders of magnitude (currency), 883 billion dollars, (constant 2005–2006 dollars). 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. 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 riskSwanepoel, F., A. Stroebel and S. Moyo. (eds.) 2010. The role of livestock in developing communities: Enhancing multifunctionality. African Sun Media. and is an economic buffer (of income and 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, 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. 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. Many studies 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. 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, US, 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." In the US, profit tends to rank low among motivations for involvement in livestock ranching. 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".


See also

* Agribusiness * Agroecology * Amenable species * Animal husbandry * Aquaculture * Bovine spongiform encephalopathy * California Proposition 2 (2008) * Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources * Cuniculture (rabbit farming) * Leave the gate as you found it * ''Livestock's Long Shadow, Livestock's Long Shadow – Environmental Issues and Options'' (UN report) * Pen (enclosure), Pen * Ranching * Sericulture (silkworm farming) * Sheep husbandry * Western Fair * Wildlife farming


References


External links


Better Lives Through Livestock
by ILRI
Livestock
- New South Wales Government
Havana Livestock Fair (Photo Feature)
- ''Havana Times'', October 19, 2010
A Short History of Livestock Production
{{Authority control Livestock, Meat industry