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Cattle (colloquially cows) are the most common type of large . They are a prominent modern member of the , are the most widespread species of the , and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius. Cattle are raised as for meat ( and ), as for and other , and as draft animals ( or bullocks) (pulling , and the like). Other products include and for or . In some regions, such as parts of , . From as few as 80 progenitors domesticated in southeast Turkey about 10,500 years ago,Bollongino, Ruth & al. Molecular Biology and Evolution. " Modern Taurine Cattle descended from small number of Near-Eastern founders". 7 Mar 2012. Accessed 2 Apr 2012. Op. cit. in Wilkins, Alasdair. " DNA reveals that cows were almost impossible to domesticate". 28 Mar 2012. Accessed 2 Apr 2012. an estimated 1.3 billion cattle are in the world today. In 2009, cattle became the first livestock animal to have a fully mapped .

Cattle were originally identified as three separate species: Bos taurus, the European or "taurine" cattle (including similar types from Africa and Asia); Bos indicus, the ; and the extinct Bos primigenius, the . The aurochs is ancestral to both zebu and taurine cattle. Recently, these three have increasingly been grouped as one species, with Bos primigenius taurus, Bos primigenius indicus and Bos primigenius primigenius as the subspecies. Opinions, Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 60 (1), 2003 Complicating the matter is the ability of cattle to interbreed with other closely related species. Hybrid individuals and even breeds exist, not only between taurine cattle and zebu (such as the , Bos taurus africanus), but also between one or both of these and some other members of the (the or yattle "Yattle What?", Washington Post, August 11, 2007), , and . Hybrids such as the breed can even occur between taurine cattle and either species of , leading some authors to consider them part of the genus Bos, as well.Groves, C. P., 1981. Systematic relationships in the Bovini (Artiodactyla, Bovidae). Zeitschrift für Zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung, 4:264-278., quoted in The hybrid origin of some types may not be obvious – for example, of the breed, the only taurine-type cattle in Nepal, found them to be a mix of taurine cattle, zebu, and yak. However, cattle cannot successfully be hybridized with more distantly related bovines such as or .

The aurochs originally ranged throughout Europe, , and much of Asia. In historical times, its range became restricted to Europe, and the last known individual died in , , in about 1627.Van Vuure, C.T. 2003. De Oeros – Het spoor terug (in Dutch), Cis van Vuure, Wageningen University and Research Centrum: quoted by The Extinction Website: Bos primigenius primigenius. Breeders have attempted to recreate cattle of similar appearance to aurochs by crossing traditional types of domesticated cattle, creating the breed.

"Cattle" did not originate as the term for bovine animals. It was borrowed from catel, itself from Latin caput, head, and originally meant movable , especially livestock of any kind, as opposed to (the land, which also included wild or small free-roaming animals such as chickens — they were sold as part of the land). The word is closely related to "" (a unit of personal property) and "" in the economic sense. The term replaced earlier feoh "cattle, property", which survives today as fee (also Vieh, vee, faihu).

The word "cow" came via (plural ), from ( ) = "a bovine animal", compare gâv, go, buwch. The plural became ki or kie in Middle English, and an additional plural ending was often added, giving kine, kien, but also kies, kuin and others. This is the origin of the now archaic English plural of "kine". The singular is coo or , and the plural is "kye".

In older English sources such as the , "cattle" refers to livestock, as opposed to "deer" which refers to wildlife. "Wild cattle" may refer to cattle or to undomesticated species of the genus . Today, when used without any other qualifier, the modern meaning of "cattle" is usually restricted to domesticated bovines.

In general, the same words are used in different parts of the world, but with minor differences in the definitions. The terminology described here contrasts the differences in definition between the and other -influenced parts of world such as , , , , and the .
  • An "intact" (i.e., not ) adult male is called a bull. A wild, young, unmarked bull is known as a "micky" in Australia.Coupe, Sheena (ed.), Frontier Country, Vol. 1, Weldon Russell Publishing, Willoughby, 1989, ISBN 1-875202-01-3 An un bovine of either sex is called a "maverick" in the USA and Canada.
  • An adult female that has had a calf (or two, depending on regional usage) is a cow.
  • A young female before she has had a calf of her own and is under three years of age is called a ( ).Delbridge, Arthur, The Macquarie Dictionary, 2nd ed., Macquarie Library, North Ryde, 1991 A young female that has had only one calf is occasionally called a first-calf heifer.
  • Young cattle of both sexes are called until they are , then weaners until they are a year old in some areas; in other areas, particularly with male beef cattle, they may be known as feeder calves or simply feeders. After that, they are referred to as yearlings or stirksMcIntosh, E., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Clarendon Press, 1967 if between one and two years of age.
  • A castrated male is called a steer in the ; older steers are often called bullocks in other parts of the world,Delbridge, A, et al., Macquarie Dictionary, The Book Printer, Australia, 1991 but in North America this term refers to a young bull. Piker bullocks are micky bulls (uncastrated young male bulls) that were caught, castrated and then later lost. In Australia, the term "Japanese ox" is used for grain-fed steers in the weight range of 500 to 650 kg that are destined for the Japanese meat trade.Meat & Livestock Australia, Feedback, June/July 2008 In North America, draft cattle under four years old are called working steers. Improper or late castration on a bull results in it becoming a coarse steer known as a stag in Australia, and . In some countries, an incompletely castrated male is known also as a .
  • A castrated male (occasionally a female or in some areas a bull) kept for draft purposes is called an (plural oxen); "ox" may also be used to refer to some carcass products from any adult cattle, such as ox-hide, ox-blood, oxtail, or ox-liver.
  • A springer is a cow or heifer close to calving. FAQs: What is meant by springer cows and heifers?, Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, September 6th, 2005. Retrieved: 2010-08-12.
  • In all cattle species, a female twin of a bull usually becomes an infertile partial , and is called a .
  • Neat (horned oxen, from which is derived), beef (young ox) and beefing (young animal fit for slaughtering) are obsolete terms, although poll, pollard or are still terms in use for naturally hornless animals, or in some areas also for those that have been or .
  • Cattle raised for human consumption are called . Within the American beef cattle industry, the older term beef (plural beeves) is still used to refer to an animal of either sex. Some Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and British people use the term beast, especially for single animals when the sex is unknown. Australians Camdraft Assoc. Retrieved on 2009-7-31
  • Cattle of bred specifically for milk production are called milking or ; a cow kept to provide milk for one family may be called a or milker. A "fresh cow" is a term for a cow or first-calf heifer who has recently given birth, or "freshened."
  • The adjective applying to cattle in general is usually bovine. The terms "bull", "cow" and "calf" are also used by extension to denote the sex or age of other large animals, including , , , and .

Singular terminology issue
Cattle can only be used in the and not in the : it is a . Thus one may refer to "three cattle" or "some cattle", but not "one cattle". No universally used singular form in modern English of "cattle" exists, other than the sex- and age-specific terms such as cow, bull, steer and heifer. Historically, "ox" was not a sex-specific term for adult cattle, but generally this is now used only for , especially adult castrated males. The term is also incorporated into the names of other species, such as the and "grunting ox" (), and is used in some areas to describe certain cattle products such as ox-hide and .

"Cow" is in general use as a singular for the collective "cattle", despite the objections by those who insist it to be a female-specific term. Although the phrase "that cow is a bull" is absurd from a lexicographic standpoint, the word "cow" is easy to use when a singular is needed and the sex is unknown or irrelevant – when "there is a cow in the road", for example. Further, any herd of fully mature cattle in or near a is statistically likely to consist mostly of cows, so the term is probably accurate even in the restrictive sense. Other than the few bulls needed for breeding, the vast majority of male cattle are castrated as calves and slaughtered for meat before the age of three years. Thus, in a pastured herd, any calves or herd bulls usually are clearly distinguishable from the cows due to distinctively different sizes and clear anatomical differences. Merriam-Webster, a US dictionary, recognizes the sex-nonspecific use of "cow" as an alternate definition, whereas Collins, a UK dictionary, does not. Collins

, more general non terms may denote cattle when a singular form is needed. , and farmers use the term "beast" or "cattle beast". "Bovine" is also used in . The term "critter" is common in the western and , particularly when referring to young cattle. In some areas of the American South (particularly the Appalachian region), where both dairy and beef cattle are present, an individual animal was once called a "beef critter", though that term is becoming .

Other terminology
Cattle raised for human consumption are called "". Within the beef cattle industry in parts of the United States, the term "beef" (plural "beeves") is still used in its archaic sense to refer to an animal of either sex. Cows of certain breeds that are kept for the milk they give are called "" or "milking cows" (formerly "milch cows"). Most young male offspring of dairy cows are sold for , and may be referred to as veal calves.

The term "dogies" is used to describe orphaned calves in the context of ranch work in the , as in "Keep them dogies moving". In some places, a cow kept to provide milk for one family is called a "house cow". Other obsolete terms for cattle include "neat" (this use survives in "", extracted from the feet and legs of cattle), and "beefing" (young animal fit for ).

An term for one of the most common made by cattle is "moo" (also called lowing). There are a number of other sounds made by cattle, including calves bawling, and bulls bellowing. The makes a sound similar to a bull's territorial call.

Cattle are large with . Most breeds have , which can be as large as the or small like a . Careful genetic selection has allowed (hornless) cattle to become widespread.

Cattle are , meaning their is highly specialized to allow the use of poorly digestible plants as food. Cattle have one with four compartments, the , , , and , with the rumen being the largest compartment. Cattle are known for and re-chewing their food, known "" chewing. The reticulum, the smallest compartment, is known as the "honeycomb". Cattle sometimes consume metal objects which are deposited in the reticulum and irritation from the metal objects causes . The omasum's main function is to absorb water and nutrients from the digestible feed. The omasum is known as the "many plies". The abomasum is like the human stomach; this is why it is known as the "true stomach". The is then reswallowed and further digested by specialised in the rumen. These microbes are primarily responsible for decomposing and other into cattle use as their primary fuel. The microbes inside the rumen also synthesize from non-protein sources, such as and . As these microbes reproduce in the rumen, older generations die and their cells continue on through the digestive tract. These cells are then partially digested in the small intestines, allowing cattle to gain a high-quality protein source. These features allow cattle to thrive on and other .

Gestation and Size
The for a cow is about nine months long. A newborn calf's size can vary among breeds, but a typical calf typically weighs . Adult size and weight vary significantly among breeds and sex. The world record for the heaviest bull was , a named Donetto, when he was exhibited at the show in 1955.Friend, John B., Cattle of the World, Blandford Press, Dorset, 1978 The heaviest steer was eight-year-old ‘Old Ben’, a / cross weighing in at in 1910.McWhirter, Norris & Ross, Guinness Book of Records, Redwood Press, Trowbridge, 1968 Steers are generally killed before reaching . Breeding stock may be allowed a longer lifespan, occasionally living as long as 25 years. The oldest recorded cow, , died at the age of 48 in 1993.

A common misconception about cattle (particularly bulls) is that they are enraged by the color red (something provocative is often said to be "like a red flag to a bull"). This is incorrect, as cattle are red-green ., Longhorn information – handling. The myth arose from the use of red capes in the sport of ; in fact, two different capes are used. The is a large, flowing, magenta and yellow cape. The more famous is the smaller, red cape, used exclusively for the final, fatal segment of the fight. It is not the color of the cape that angers the bull, but rather the movement of the fabric that irritates the bull and incites it to charge.

Having two kinds of in the in their , cattle are , as are most other non-primate land mammals.Jacobs, G. H., J. F.Deegan, and J. Neitz. 1998. Photopigment basis for dichromatic in cows, goats and sheep. Vis. Neurosci. 15:581–584Perception of Color by Cattle and its Influence on Behavior C.J.C. Phillips* and C. A. Lomas†2 J. Dairy Sci. 84:807–813

A cow's contains two pairs of , creating four "quarters."

Adult weights of cattle always depend on the breed. Smaller kinds, such as Dexter and Jersey adults, range between . Large Continental breeds, such as Charolais, Marchigiana, Belgian Blue and Chianina, adults range up to . British-breeds, such as Hereford, Angus, and Shorthorn, mature between , occasionally higher, particularly with Angus and Hereford.

Bulls will always be a bit larger than cows by a few extra hundred pounds. Chianina bulls can weigh up to ; British bulls, such as Angus and Hereford, can weigh as little as to as much as .

It is difficult to generalize or average out the weight of all cattle because different kinds have different averages of weights. However, according to some sources, the average weight of all cattle is . Finishing steers in the feedlot average about ; cows about , and bulls about .

Cattle genome
In the April 24, 2009, edition of the journal Science, a team of researchers led by the National Institutes of Health and the reported having mapped the . The scientists found cattle have about 22,000 genes, and 80% of their genes are shared with humans, and they share about 1000 genes with dogs and rodents, but are not found in humans. Using this bovine "HapMap", researchers can track the differences between the breeds that affect the quality of and yields.

Domestication and husbandry
Cattle occupy a unique role in , domesticated since at least the early . Modern genetic research suggests the entire modern domestic stock may have arisen from as few as 80 tamed in the upper reaches of about 10,500 years ago near the villages of in southeastern and in northern . They are raised for (), and . They are also used as and in certain . Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, and consequently one of the earliest forms of theft.

Cattle are often raised by allowing herds to of large tracts of . Raising cattle in this manner allows the use of land that might be unsuitable for growing crops. The most common interactions with cattle involve daily , cleaning and . Many routine husbandry practices involve , , loading, , vaccinations and care, as well as training for agricultural shows and preparations. Also, some occur in working with cattle; the cattle husbandry of Fulani men rests on , whereas in Europe, cattle are controlled primarily by physical means, such as . Breeders use cattle husbandry to reduce susceptibility by and maintaining herd health to avoid concurrent disease.

Cattle are farmed for beef, veal, dairy, and leather, and they are less commonly used for , simply to maintain grassland for wildlife – for example, in , England. They are often used in some of the most wild places for livestock. Depending on the breed, cattle can survive on hill grazing, heaths, marshes, moors and semidesert. Modern cattle are more commercial than older breeds and, having become more specialized, are less versatile. For this reason, many smaller farmers still favor old breeds, such as the dairy breed. In , , and some countries, bulls are used in the activity of ; in India is a bull taming sport radically different from European bullfighting, humans are unarmed and bulls are not killed. In many other countries bullfighting is illegal. Other activities such as are seen as part of a , especially in North America. , a central ritual in culture (see ), still exists in southwestern . In modern times, cattle are also entered into . These competitions can involve live cattle or cattle carcases in hoof and hook events.

In terms of food intake by humans, consumption of cattle is less efficient than of grain or vegetables with regard to , and hence cattle grazing consumes more area than such other agricultural production when raised on grains.Edward O. Wilson, The Future of Life, 2003, Vintage Books, 256 pages ISBN 0-679-76811-4 Nonetheless, cattle and other forms of domesticated animals can sometimes help to use plant resources in areas not easily amenable to other forms of .

The average sleep time of a domestic cow is about four hours a day."40 Winks?" Jennifer S. Holland, National Geographic Vol. 220, No. 1. July 2011.

The of adult cattle is known as , and that of is . Other animal parts are also used as food products, including , , , and . Cattle also produce , and are specifically bred to produce the large quantities of milk processed and sold for human consumption. Cattle today are the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. The in beef for 2000 was over $30 billion and represented only 23% of world beef production.(Clay 2004). The production of milk, which is also made into , , , and other dairy products, is comparable in economic size to beef production, and provides an important part of the food supply for many of the world's people. Cattle hides, used for to make , and , are another widespread product. Cattle remain broadly used as draft animals in many , such as .

Environmental impact
A report from the (FAO) states that the livestock sector is "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions".Steinfeld, H. et al. 2006, Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Livestock, Environment and Development, FAO. The report concludes, unless changes are made, the damage thought to be linked to livestock may more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases. Another concern is , which if not well-managed, can lead to adverse environmental consequences. However, manure also is a valuable source of nutrients and organic matter when used as a fertilizer. Manure was used as a fertilizer on about 15.8 million acres of US cropland in 2006, with manure from cattle accounting for nearly 70% of manure applications to soybeans and about 80% or more of manure applications to corn, wheat, barley, oats and sorghum.McDonald, J. M. et al. 2009. Manure use for fertilizer and for energy. Report to Congress. USDA, AP-037. 53pp. Substitution of manure for synthetic fertilizers in crop production can be environmentally significant, as between 43 and 88 of fossil fuel energy would be used per kg of nitrogen in manufacture of synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers.Shapouri, H. et al. 2002. The energy balance of corn ethanol: an update. USDA Agricultural Economic Report 814.

One of the cited changes suggested to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is intensification of the livestock industry, since intensification leads to less land for a given level of production. This assertion is supported by studies of the US beef production system, suggesting practices prevailing in 2007 involved 8.6% less fossil fuel use, 16.3% less greenhouse gas emissions, 12.1% less water use, and 33.0% less land use, per unit mass of beef produced, than those used in 1977.Capper, J. L. 2011. The environmental impact of beef production in the United States: 1977 compared with 2007. J. Anim. Sci. 89: 4249-4261 However, these numbers included not only , but also feed production, forage-based , backgrounding before cattle enter a feedlot, and animals culled from the dairy industry.

The number of American cattle kept in confined feedlot conditions fluctuates. From January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2012, there was no significant overall upward or downward trend in the number of US cattle on feed for slaughter, which averaged about 14.046 million head over that period.USDA. 2011. Agricultural Statistics 2011. US Government Printing Office, Washington. 509 pp. Table 7.6.USDA. 2012. Cattle. Previously, the number had increased; it was 12.453 million in 1985.USDA 1994. Agricultural Statistics 1994. US Government Printing Office, Washington. 485 pp. Table 377. Cattle on feed (for slaughter) numbered about 14.121 million on January 1, 2012, i.e. about 15.5% of the estimated inventory of 90.8 million US cattle (including calves) on that date. Of the 14.121 million, US cattle on feed (for slaughter) in operations with 1000 head or more were estimated to number 11.9 million. Cattle feedlots in this size category correspond to the regulatory definition of "large" (CAFOs) for cattle other than mature dairy cows or veal calves.US Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 122.23 Significant numbers of dairy, as well as beef cattle, are confined in CAFOs, defined as "new and existing operations which stable or confine and feed or maintain for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period more than the number of animals specified" where "crops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility."US Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 122 They may be designated as small, medium and large. Such designation of cattle CAFOs is according to cattle type (mature dairy cows, veal calves or other) and cattle numbers, but medium CAFOs are so designated only if they meet certain discharge criteria, and small CAFOs are designated only on a case-by-case basis.

A CAFO that discharges pollutants is required to obtain a permit, which requires a plan to manage nutrient runoff, manure, chemicals, contaminants, and other wastewater pursuant to the .US Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 122.23, 40 CFR 122.42 The regulations involving CAFO permitting have been extensively litigated. Pork Producers Council v epa&hl=en&as_sdt=2,27&as_vis=1 See, e.g., Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2nd cir. 2005); National Pork Producers Council, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 635 F. 3d 738 (5th Cir. 2011). Commonly, CAFO wastewater and manure nutrients are applied to land at agronomic rates for use by forages or crops, and it is often assumed that various constituents of wastewater and manure, e.g. organic contaminants and pathogens, will be retained, inactivated or degraded on the land with application at such rates; however, additional evidence is needed to test reliability of such assumptions .Bradford, S. A., E. Segal, W. Zheng, Q. Wang, and S. R. Hutchins. 2008. Reuse of concentrated animal feeding operation wastewater on agricultural lands. J. Env. Qual. 37 (supplement): S97-S115. Concerns raised by opponents of CAFOs have included risks of contaminated water due to runoff, soil erosion, human and animal exposure to toxic chemicals, development of and an increase in contamination. While research suggests some of these impacts can be mitigated by developing wastewater treatment systems and planting cover crops in larger setback zones, the released a report in 2008 concluding that CAFOs are generally unsustainable and .

An estimated 935,000 cattle operations were operating in the USA in 2010.USDA. 2011. Agricultural Statistics 2011. US Government Printing Office, Washington. 509 pp. Table 7.1. In 2001, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tallied 5,990 cattle CAFOs then regulated, consisting of beef (2,200), dairy (3,150), heifer (620) and veal operations (20).EPA. 2001. Environmental and economic benefit analysis of proposed revisions to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Regulation and the effluent guidelines for concentrated animal feeding operations. US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-821-R-01-002. 157 pp. Since that time, the EPA has established CAFOs as an enforcement priority. EPA enforcement highlights for fiscal year 2010 indicated enforcement actions against 12 cattle CAFOs for violations that included failures to obtain a permit, failures to meet the terms of a permit, and discharges of contaminated water.

Grazing by cattle at low intensities can create a favourable environment for native and ; in many world regions, though, cattle are reducing due to .E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life, 2003, Vintage Books, 256 pages ISBN 067976811 A survey of refuge managers on 123 National Wildlife Refuges in the US tallied 86 species of wildlife considered positively affected and 82 considered negatively affected by refuge cattle grazing or haying.Strassman, B. I. 1987. Effects of cattle grazing and haying on wildlife conservation at National Wildlife Refuges in the United States. Environmental Mgt. 11: 35-44 . Proper management of pastures, notably and grazing at low intensities can lead to less use of fossil fuel energy, increased recapture of carbon dioxide, fewer ammonia emissions into the atmosphere, reduced soil erosion, better air quality, and less water pollution.

Some in the cattle gut carry out anaerobic process known as , which produces . Cattle and other livestock emit about 80 to 93 Tg of methane per year,IPCC. 2001. Third Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Working Group I: The Scientific Basis. Table 4.2 accounting for an estimated 37% of anthropogenic methane emissions, and additional methane is produced by anaerobic fermentation of manure in and other manure storage structures.US EPA. 2012. Inventory of U.S. greenhouse gase emissions and sinks: 1990–2010. US. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA 430-R-12-001. Section 6.2. The 100-year potential of methane, including effects on ozone and stratospheric water vapor, is 25 times as great as that of carbon dioxide.IPCC. 2007. Fourth Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Methane's effect on global warming is correlated with changes in atmospheric methane content, not with emissions. The net change in atmospheric methane content was recently about 1 Tg per year,IPCC. 2007. Fourth Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. and in some recent years there has been no increase in atmospheric methane content.Dlugokencky, E. J. et al. 2011. Global atmospheric methane: budget, changes and dangers. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. 369: 2058–2072. Mitigation options for reducing methane emission from ruminant include genetic selection, immunization, rumen defaunation, diet modification and grazing management, among others.Boadi, D. et al. 2004. Mitigation strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions from dairy cows: Update review . Can. J. Anim. Sci. 84: 319-335.Martin, C. et al. 2010. Methane mitigation in ruminants: from microbe to the farm scale. Animal 4 : pp 351-365.Eckard, R. J. et al. 2010. Options for the abatement of methane and nitrous oxide from ruminant production: A review. Livestock Science 130: 47-56. While cattle fed forage actually produce more methane than grain-fed cattle, the increase may be offset by the increased carbon recapture of pastures, which recapture three times the CO2 of cropland used for grain.

The veterinary discipline dealing with cattle and cattle diseases (bovine veterinary) is called buiatrics. Veterinarians and professionals working on cattle health issues are pooled in the World Association for Buiatrics, founded in 1960. National associations and affiliates also exist.

Cattle diseases were in the center of attention in the 1980s and 1990s when the (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, was of concern. Cattle might catch and develop various other diseases, like , , too.

In most state, as cattle health is not only a veterinarian issue, but also a public health issue, and standards and farming regulations directly affect the daily work of farmers who keep cattle. However, said rules change frequently and are often debated. For instance, in the U.K., it was proposed in 2011 that milk from -infected cattle should be allowed to enter the food chain. Internal food safety regulations might affect a country's trade policy as well. For example, the United States has just reviewed its beef import rules according to the "mad cow standards"; while Mexico forbids the entry of cattle who are older than 30 months.

is commonly used in India for internal medical purposes. It is distilled and then consumed by patients seeking treatment for a wide variety of illnesses. At present, no conclusive medical evidence shows this has any effect. However, an Indian medicine containing cow urine has already got U.S. patents.

is a non pathogenic, possibly even beneficial bacteria, that is seen naturally in soil; that was first isolated from cow dung.

Oxen (singular ox) are cattle trained as . Often they are adult, males of larger breeds, although females and are also used in some areas. Usually, an is over four years old due to the need for training and to allow it to grow to full size. Oxen are used for , , hauling cargo, grain-grinding by trampling or by powering machines, by powering pumps, and drawing. Oxen were commonly used to skid logs in forests, and sometimes still are, in low-impact, select-cut logging. Oxen are most often used in teams of two, paired, for light work such as , with additional pairs added when more power is required, sometimes up to a total of 20 or more.

An ox is a mature bovine which has learned to respond appropriately to a 's signals. These signals are given by verbal commands or by noise (whip cracks). Verbal commands vary according to dialect and local tradition. In one tradition in North America, the commands are::

  • "Back up": go backwards
  • "Gee": turn right
  • "Get up": walk forward
  • "Haw": turn left
  • "Whoa": stop
Oxen can pull harder and longer than . Though not as fast as horses, they are less prone to injury because they are more sure-footed.

Many oxen are used worldwide, especially in . About 11.3 million draft oxen are used in sub-Saharan Africa.Muruvimi, F. and J. Ellis-Jones. 1999. A farming systems approach to improving draft animal power in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Starkey, P. and P. Kaumbutho. 1999. Meeting the challenges of animal traction. Intermediate Technology Publications, London. pp. 10-19. In India, the number of draft cattle in 1998 was estimated at 65.7 million head.Phaniraja, K. L. and H. H. Panchasara. 2009. Indian draught animals power. Veterinary World 2:404-407. About half the world's crop production is thought to depend on land preparation (such as plowing) made possible by animal traction.Nicholson, C. F, R. W. Blake, R. S. Reid and J. Schelhas. 2001. Environmental impacts of livestock in the developing world. Environment 43(2): 7-17.

Religion, traditions and folklore

Hindu tradition
Cattle are venerated within the religion of . According to scriptures they are to be treated with the same respect 'as one's mother' because of the milk they provide; "The cow is my mother" () They appear in numerous stories from the and . The deity was brought up in a family of cowherders, and given the name (protector of the cows). Also, is traditionally said to ride on the back of a bull named . In ancient rural India every household had a few cows which provided a constant supply of milk and a few bulls that helped as draft animals.

Observant Hindus, though they might eat meat of other animals, almost always abstain from beef, and the slaughter of cows is considered a heinous sin in mainstream Orthodox Hinduism. Slaughter of cows (including oxen, bulls and calves) is forbidden by law in several states of the Indian Union. outlets in India do not serve any beef burgers. At one time, the death sentence was imposed for killing a cow in India. According to a news story written in the 1960s, in then contemporary an individual could serve three months in jail for killing a pedestrian, but one year for injuring a cow, and life imprisonment for killing a cow.

Other traditions
  • The Evangelist is depicted as an ox in .
  • In , as described in , the ashes of a sacrificed unblemished that has never been yoked can be used for of people who came into contact with a corpse.
  • The ox is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the related to the . See: .
  • The constellation represents a bull.
  • An apocryphal story has it that a cow started the by kicking over a lamp. Michael Ahern, the reporter who created the cow story, admitted in 1893 that he had fabricated it for more colorful copy.
  • On February 18, 1930, became the first cow to fly in an and also the first cow to be milked in an airplane.
  • The first known law requiring branding in North America was enacted on February 5, 1644, by Connecticut. It said that all cattle and pigs had to have a registered brand or earmark by May 1, 1644. ξ1
  • The red cow is a traditional toy from the region of that is thought to ward off illness.Madden, Thomas (May 1992). " Akabeko". OUTLOOK. Online copy accessed 18 January 2007.
  • The case of —involving a supposedly barren heifer that was actually pregnant—-first enunciated the concept of as a means of destroying the in law.
  • The of are the world's largest nomadic cattle-herders.
  • The of traditionally believe all cows on earth are the God-given property of the Maasai.

In heraldry
Cattle are typically represented in by the bull.
region, ]]
, ]]
, ]]

The world cattle population is estimated to be about 1.3 billion. The following table shows the cattle population in 2009[12]

, the continent of has about 231 million head of cattle, raised in both traditional and non-traditional systems, but are often an "integral" part of the culture and way of life.

! Region !! Cattle population

See also

  • Bhattacharya, S. 2003. Cattle ownership makes it a man's world. Retrieved December 26, 2006.
  • Cattle Today (CT). 2006. Website. Breeds of cattle. Cattle Today. Retrieved December 26, 2006
  • Clay, J. 2004. World Agriculture and the Environment: A Commodity-by-Commodity Guide to Impacts and Practices. Washington, D.C., USA: Island Press. ISBN 1-55963-370-0.
  • Clutton-Brock, J. 1999. A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals. Cambridge UK : Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63495-4.
  • - A visual textbook containing History/Origin, Phenotype & Statistics of 45 breeds.
  • Huffman, B. 2006. The ultimate ungulate page. Retrieved December 26, 2006.
  • Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). 2005. Bos taurus. Global Invasive Species Database.
  • Nowak, R.M. and Paradiso, J.L. 1983. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-2525-3
  • Oklahoma State University (OSU). 2006. Breeds of Cattle. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
  • Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 2004. Holy cow. PBS Nature. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
  • Rath, S. 1998. The Complete Cow. Stillwater, Minnesota, USA: Voyageur Press. ISBN 0-89658-375-9.
  • Raudiansky, S. 1992. The Covenant of the Wild. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. ISBN 0-688-09610-7.
  • Spectrum Commodities (SC). 2006. Live cattle. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
  • Voelker, W. 1986. The Natural History of Living Mammals. Medford, New Jersey, USA: Plexus Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-937548-08-1.
  • Yogananda, P. 1946. The Autobiography of a Yogi. Los Angeles, California, USA: Self Realization Fellowship. ISBN 0-87612-083-4.

    ^ (1997). 9780824209308, .

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