A Look at the History of Livestock

Livestock submits to domesticated animals reared in an agricultural setting to manufacture products such as food, fibre, or labor. The expression "livestock" includes poultry or farmed fish; all the same the enclosure of these, especially poultry, inside the significance of "livestock" is regular.

Livestock more often than not are reared for survival or for revenue. Raising animals is called animal husbandry and it is a necessary part of modern agriculture. It has been practiced in lot of cultures as the changeover to farming from hunter-gather lifestyles.

Raising animals has its origins in the shifting of cultures to settled farming communities in preference to hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Animals are 'domesticated' when their breeding and living conditions are controlled by humans. Over the course of time, the collective behavior, life cycle, and physiology of livestock have changed radically. Many modern domestic animals are unsuited to life in the wild. Dogs were domesticated in East Asia about 15,000 years ago, Goats and sheep were domesticated around 8000 BCE in Asia. Swine or pigs were domesticated by 7000 BCE in the Middle East and China. The earliest evidence of horse domestication dates to around 4000 BCE.

Older English sources, such as the King James Version of the Bible, in relation to livestock in the main as "cattle", instead of the expression "deer", which then was employed for wild animals which were not owned. The expression cattle hails from Middle English chatel, which meant all types of movable personal property, including of course livestock, which was separated from non-movable real-estate. In later English, often times smaller livestock was called "small cattle" in that sense of movable property on land, which was not automatically bought or sold with the land. Today, the modern meaning of "cattle", without a qualifier, usually refers to domesticated bovines. Other species of the genus Bos often times are called wild cattle.

The phrase "livestock" is vague and can be defined narrowly or broadly. On a broader view, livestock refers to any breed or population of animal kept by humans for a useful, commercial purpose. This can mean livestock, semi- livestock, or captive wild animals. Semi-domesticated refers to animals which are merely gently domesticated or of disputed status. These populations can also be in the act of domestication. Some people might use the expression livestock to refer just to livestock or even just to red meat animals.

The matter of raising livestock for people's benefit raises the issue of the bond between humans and animals, relating to the rank of animals and obligations of men and women. Animal welfare is the viewpoint that animals under human care should be treated in such a manner that they don't suffer unnecessarily.

What is 'unnecessary' suffering may vary. More often than not, though, the animal welfare perspective is based on an interpretation of scientific research on farming practices. By contrast, animal rights are the viewpoint that using animals for human benefit is, by its nature, more often than not exploitation, despite the farming practices used. Animal rights activists would more often than not be vegan or vegetarian, whereas it is according to the animal welfare perspective to eat meat, depending on production processes.

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