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Livestock is commonly defined as
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 seco ...
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and grow from a ...
s raised in an
agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
setting to produce labor and
commodities In economics, a commodity is an economic good, usually a resource, that has full or substantial fungibility: that is, the market treats instances of the good as equivalent or nearly so with no regard to who produced them. The price of a commodit ...
such as
meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, sheep, rabbits, pigs and cattle. This eventu ...
,
egg Diagram of a chicken egg in its 9th day. Membranes: allantois, chorion, amnion, and vitellus/ yolk. An egg is the organic vessel containing the zygote in which an embryo develops until it can survive on its own, at which point the animal hatch ...
s,
milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals, including breastfed human infants before they are able to digest solid food. Early-lactation milk is calle ...

milk
,
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair that covers the skin of many different animals. It is a defining characteristic of mammals. It consists of a combination of oily guard hair on top and thick underfur beneath. The guard hair keeps moisture from reach ...
,
leather Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. The most common raw material is cattle hide. It can be produced at manufacturing scales ranging from artisan to modern industrial scale. Leather making has ...

leather
, and
wool Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids. Wool consists of p ...
. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consumption, while other times it refers only to farmed
ruminant Ruminants are herbivorous mammals of the suborder Ruminantia that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process, which takes pla ...
s, such as
cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus ''Bos'', and are most commonly clas ...

cattle
,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species in the genus ''Ov ...

sheep
and
goats The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of ''C. aegagrus'' domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the animal family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae ...
.
Horses The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated odd-toed ungulate mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two extant subspecies of ''Equus ferus''. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years fr ...

Horses
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, and ...
classifies pork, veal, beef, and lamb as livestock and all livestock as
red meat In gastronomy, red meat is commonly red when raw and a dark color after it is cooked, in contrast to white meat, which is pale in color before and after cooking. In culinary terms, only flesh from mammals or fowl (not fish) is classified as red ...
.
Poultry Poultry () are domesticated birds kept by humans for their eggs, their meat or their feathers. These birds are most typically members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), especially the order Galliformes (which includes chickens, quails, and ...
and
fish Fish are aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack limbs with digits. They form a sister group to the tunicates, together forming the olfactores. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony ...
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, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, start ...
, is a component 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 human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
that 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 human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
from
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on dome ...
lifestyles. Animal husbandry practices have varied widely across cultures and time periods, and continues to play a major economic and cultural role in numerous communities. Livestock farming practices have largely shifted to
intensive animal farming Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production, also known by its opponents as factory farming, is a type of intensive agriculture, specifically an approach to animal husbandry designed to maximize production, while minimizing costs. ...
, sometimes referred to as "factory farming"; over 99% of livestock in the US are now raised in this way. Intensive animal farming increases the yield of the various commercial outputs, but has also led to negative impacts on
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animals. Formal standards of animal welfare vary between contexts, but are debated mostly by animal welfare groups, legislators, and academics. Animal welfare science uses measures such as longevity, ...
, the environment, and
public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease”, prolonging life and improving quality of life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), communities and individ ...
. In particular, livestock, especially beef, dairy and sheep stocks, have out-sized influence on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Due to these negative impacts, but also for reasons of farming
efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without ...
(see Food vs. feed), one projection argues there will be a large decline of livestock at least some animals (e.g. cattle) in certain countries by 2030, and the book ''
The End of Animal Farming ''The End of Animal Farming: How Scientists, Entrepreneurs, and Activists Are Building an Animal-Free Food System'' is a 2018 book by Jacy Reese that argues animal farming will end by the year 2100 based on effective altruism reasoning and social ...
'' argues that all animal husbandry will end by 2100.


Etymology

Livestock as a word was first used between 1650 and 1660, as a
compound word In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme (less precisely, a word or sign) that consists of more than one stem. Compounding, composition or nominal composition is the process of word formation that creates compound lexemes. That is, in familiar terms, ...
combining the words "live" and "stock". In some periods, "
cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus ''Bos'', and are most commonly clas ...

cattle
" and "livestock" have been used interchangeably. Today, the modern meaning of cattle is domesticated
bovine The biological subfamily Bovinae includes a diverse group of 10 genera of medium to large-sized ungulates, including domestic cattle, bison, African buffalo, the water buffalo, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes. The evolutionary rela ...
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 ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering , making it the world's second-largest country by total ...

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 living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on dome ...
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 study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology, physiology focuses on how organisms, organ systems, individual organs, cells, and biomolecules carry out the chemical and phys ...
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.
Goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra aegagrus hircus'') is a subspecies of ''C. aegagrus'' domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the animal family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae ...

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 (Arabic: شرق أدنى, Hebrew: המזרח הקרוב, Aramaic: ܡܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, Persian: خاور نزدیک, Turkish: Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region comprising Western A ...
and 6,000 BC in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million m ...
.
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 horses ...
dates to around 4000 BC. Cattle have been domesticated since approximately 10,500 years ago. Chickens and other poultry may have been domesticated around 7000 BC.


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.


Micro-livestock

''Micro-livestock'' is the term used for much smaller animals, usually mammals. The two predominate categories are
rodents Rodents (from Latin , 'to gnaw') are mammals of the order Rodentia (), which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents. They are native ...
and
lagomorphs The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families: the Leporidae (hares and rabbits) and the Ochotonidae (pikas). The name of the order is derived from the Ancient Greek ''lagos'' (λαγώς ...
(rabbits). Even smaller animals are kept and raised, such as
crickets Crickets are Orthopteran insects which are related to bush crickets, and, more distantly, to grasshoppers. In older literature, such as Imms,Imms AD, rev. Richards OW & Davies RG (1970) ''A General Textbook of Entomology'' 9th Ed. Methuen 886 p ...
and
honey bees A honey bee (also spelled honeybee) is a eusocial flying insect within the genus ''Apis'' of the bee clade, all native to Eurasia. They are known for their construction of perennial colonial nests from wax, the large size of their colonies, and ...
. Micro-livestock does not generally include fish (
aquaculture Aquaculture (less commonly spelled aquiculture), also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under c ...
) or chickens (
poultry farming Poultry farming is the form of animal husbandry which raises domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese to produce meat or eggs for food. It has originated from the agricultural era. Poultry – mostly chickens – are farmed i ...
).


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 in humans and other animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells. In vertebrates, it is composed of blood cells su ...
(by the 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 vall ...
, people and livestock moved seasonally between fixed summer and winter pastures; in
montane Montane ecosystems are found on the slopes of mountains. The alpine climate in these regions strongly affects the ecosystem because temperatures fall as elevation increases, causing the ecosystem to stratify. This stratification is a crucial factor ...
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 feeding behaviours that includes parasitism and micropredation (which usually do not kill the hos ...
.
Ranch A ranch (from es, rancho) is an area of land, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle and sheep. These terms are most often applied to livestock-raising ...
ing in the
Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. As American settlement in the U.S. expanded westward, the meaning of the term ''the West'' ...
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 quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species in the genus ''Ov ...

sheep
,
deer Deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the red deer, the fallow deer, and the chital; and the Capreolinae, including the ...
,
ostrich ''Struthio'' is a genus of birds in the order Struthioniformes, whose members are the ostriches. It is part of the infra-class Palaeognathae, a diverse group of flightless birds also known as ratites that includes the emus, rheas, and kiwis. There ...
,
emu The emu (''Dromaius novaehollandiae'') is the second-largest living bird by height, after its ratite relative, the ostrich. It is endemic to Australia where it is the largest native bird and the only extant member of the genus ''Dromaius''. ...
,
llama The llama (; ) (''Lama glama'') is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era. Llamas are very social animals and live with others as a herd. Their wool is ver ...
and
alpaca The alpaca (''Vicugna pacos'') is a species of South American camelid mammal. It is similar to, and often confused with, the llama. However, alpacas are often noticeably smaller than llamas. The two animals are closely related and can success ...

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 A pig is any of the animals in the genus ''Sus'', within the even-toed ungulate family Suidae. Pigs include domestic pigs and their ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar (''Sus scrofa''), along with other species. Pigs, like all suids, are nat ...
s and
poultry Poultry () are domesticated birds kept by humans for their eggs, their meat or their feathers. These birds are most typically members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), especially the order Galliformes (which includes chickens, quails, and ...
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 cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called concent ...
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 ''Wild Animal'' is the debut solo studio album by Canadian singer Vanity. It was released by Motown Records on November 10, 1984. Critical reception In a contemporary review for ''The Village Voice'', Robert Christgau gave ''Wild Animal'' a "C– ...
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 canine native to Eurasia and North America. More than thirty subspecies of ''Canis lupus'' have been recognized, and gray wolves, as colloquially understood, co ...
,
grizzly bear The grizzly bear (''Ursus arctos horribilis''), also known as the North American brown bear or simply grizzly, is a population or subspecies of the brown bear inhabiting North America. In addition to the mainland grizzly (''Ursus arctos horri ...
,
cougar The cougar (''Puma concolor'') is a large cat of the subfamily Felinae. Native to the Americas, its range spans from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes in South America and is the most widespread of any large wild terrestrial mammal in t ...

cougar
, and
coyote The coyote (''Canis latrans'') is a species of canine native to North America. It is smaller than its close relative, the wolf, and slightly smaller than the closely related eastern wolf and red wolf. It fills much of the same ecological niche ...

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 species in the genus ''Panthera'', a member of the Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western and Central Asia, a small part of European Russia ...
,
tiger The tiger (''Panthera tigris'') is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus ''Panthera''. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange-brown fur with a lighter underside. It is an apex predator, primarily p ...

tiger
,
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a species in the family Felidae and a member of the genus ''Panthera''. 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; adu ...
,
dhole The dhole (; ''Cuon alpinus'') is a canid native to Central, South, East, and Southeast Asia. Other English names for the species include Asian wild dog, Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, whistling dog, red dog, and mountain wolf. It is genetic ...

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 species native to Asia that is largely adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. It lives in the Himalayas, southea ...

Asiatic black bear
,
crocodile Crocodiles (subfamily Crocodylinae) or true crocodiles are large semiaquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Crocodylinae, all of whose members are considered true crocodiles, is classifie ...
,
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 ...
, and other
carnivores A carnivore , meaning "meat eater" (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning "meat" or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an animal whose food and energy requirements derive solely from animal tissue or meat, whether through hu ...
. In South America,
feral dogs A free-ranging dog is a dog that is not confined to a yard or house. Free-ranging dogs include street dogs, village dogs, stray dogs, feral dogs, etc., and may be owned or unowned. The global dog population is estimated to be 900 million, of w ...

feral dogs
,
jaguar The jaguar (''Panthera onca'') is a large felid species and the only living member of the genus ''Panthera'' native to the Americas. Its distinctively marked coat features pale yellow to tan colored fur covered by spots that transition to dark ...
s,
anaconda Anacondas or water boas are a group of large snakes of the genus ''Eunectes''. They are found in tropical South America. Four species are currently recognized. Description Although the name applies to a group of snakes, it is often used to ref ...

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 and Quechua), ''ukumari'' (Quechua) or ''ukuku'', is the last remaining short-faced bear (su ...
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) lineage of dog found in Australia. Its taxonomic classification is debated; as per the variety of scientific names pr ...
, fox, and
wedge-tailed eagle The wedge-tailed eagle (''Aquila audax'') is the largest bird of prey in Australia, and is also found in southern New Guinea. It has long, fairly broad wings, fully feathered legs, and an unmistakable wedge-shaped tail. The 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.


Disease

Good husbandry, proper feeding, and
hygiene Hygiene is a series of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases." Personal hygiene refe ...
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 medicine Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, disorder, and injury in animals. Along with this, it deals with animal rearing, husbandry, breeding, research on nutrition ...
s, by the farmer and the
veterinarian A veterinarian (vet), also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating diseases, disorders, and injuries in non-human animals. Description In many countries, the local ...
. 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 Same ewe as above with bare patches on rear end from scraping 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 t ...
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 that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever lasting two to six days, followed ...
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 or pests. It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing the movement of those who may have been e ...
restrictions and the reporting of suspected cases.
Vaccine A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms ...

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 practice is now frowned on in many countries because of the risk that it may lead to
antibiotic resistance Antimicrobial resistance (AMR or AR) occurs when microbes evolve mechanisms that protect them from the effects of antimicrobials. The term antibiotic resistance (AR or ABR) is a subset of AMR, as it applies to bacteria that become resistant to ant ...

antibiotic resistance
. Animals living under intensive conditions are particularly prone to internal and external parasites; increasing numbers of
sea lice A sea louse (plural sea lice, not to be confused with sea fleas), is a member of the Caligidae family of copepods (small crustaceans) within the order Siphonostomatoida. The roughly 559 species in 37 genera include around 162 ''Lepeophtheirus'' an ...
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' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL), also known as the "Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food secur ...
, Livestock diseases are expected to get worse as climate change increase 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 mining truck A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration. Smaller varieties may be mechanically similar to some automobiles. Commercial trucks can be very large and ...
transport is now common in developed countries. Local and regional livestock
auction An auction is usually a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder or buying the item from the lowest bidder. Some exceptions to this definition exist a ...

auction
s and
commodity market A commodity market is a market that trades in the primary economic sector rather than manufactured products, such as cocoa, fruit and sugar. Hard commodities are mined, such as gold and oil. Futures contracts are the oldest way of investing in c ...
s facilitate trade in livestock. In Canada at the
Cargill Cargill, Incorporated is an American privately held global food corporation based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware. Founded in 1865, it is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms ...
slaughterhouse in
High River, Alberta High River is a town within the Calgary Metropolitan Region of Alberta, Canada with a population of 13,584 (2016). It is south of the City of Calgary, at the junction of Alberta Highways 2 and 23. High River is located approximately south of do ...
, 2,000 workers process 4,500 cattle per day, or more than one-third of Canada's capacity. It closed when the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first identified in Dec ...
infected some of its workers. The Cargill plant together with the JBS plant in
Brooks, Alberta Brooks is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada, surrounded by the County of Newell. It is located on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) and the Canadian Pacific Railway, approximately southeast of Calgary, and northwest of Medicine Hat. The city has ...
and the Harmony Beef plant in
Balzac, Alberta Balzac is a hamlet in the southern portion of the Canadian province of Alberta, in Rocky View County. It is located immediately west of Queen Elizabeth II Highway, at the intersection with Highway 566, north of Calgary city centre and south of Ai ...
represent fully three-quarters of the Canadian beef supply. In other areas, livestock may be bought and sold in a
bazaar A bazaar or souk, is a permanently enclosed marketplace or street where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term bazaar originates from the Persian word ''bāzār''. The term bazaar is sometimes also used to refer to the "network of ...

bazaar
or
wet market A wet market (also called a public market or a traditional market) is a marketplace selling fresh meat, fish, produce, and other perishable goods as distinguished from "dry markets" that sell durable goods such as fabric and electronics. Not all ...
, such as may be found in many parts of
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Russian-ruled, later Soviet ...

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 The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is an international organization which conducts agricultural research for rural development, headquartered in Patancheru (Hyderabad, Telangana, India) with several reg ...
(
ICRISAT The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is an international organization which conducts agricultural research for rural development, headquartered in Patancheru (Hyderabad, Telangana, India) with several reg ...
) has worked in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozambi ...

Zimbabwe
to help farmers make their most of their livestock herds. In
stock show Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dictionary In American English, the shares are collectively known as "stock". A single share of the stock represents fra ...
s, farmers bring their best livestock to compete with one another.


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 the earth's ice-free land. Livestock production is a contributing factor in species
extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and rec ...
,
desertification Desertification is when the land is starting to degrade in drylands and it loses the biological productivity that it once had to certain accidents that happen. The land that gets affected by desertification is caused by a combination of many thi ...
, and
habitat destructionHabitat destruction (also termed habitat loss and habitat reduction) is the process by which a natural habitat becomes incapable of supporting its native species. The organisms that previously inhabited the site are displaced or dead, thereby reducin ...
. Meat is considered one of the prime factors contributing to the current
sixth mass extinction The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the sixth mass extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is an ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch (with the more recent time sometimes called Anthropocene) as a res ...
. 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. In addition, livestock produce
greenhouse gas A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor (), carbon dioxid ...
es. The IPCC (
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations that is dedicated to providing the world with objective, scientific information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of the risk of ...
) 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 The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the fifth in a series of such reports. The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nat ...
.
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 Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or nitrous, is a chemical compound, an oxide of nitrogen with the formula . At room temperature, it is a colourless non-flammable gas, with a slight metallic scent and taste. At elevated temperatu ...
. As a result, ways of mitigating animal husbandry's environmental impact are being studied. Strategies include using
biogas Biogas is the mixture of gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen (anaerobically), primarily consisting of methane and carbon dioxide. Biogas can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure ...

biogas
from manure.


Economic and social benefits

The value of global livestock production in 2013 has been estimated at about 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/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, 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, 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." 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) * Environmental effects of meat production * Fur 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