In the 21st century, the nations with the highest consumption of sheep meat are the Persian Gulf states, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, Uruguay, the United Kingdom and Ireland. These countries eat 14–40 lbs (3–18 kg) of sheep meat per capita, per annum. Sheep meat is also popular in FranceSony VAIO PCG-7171L battery, Africa (especially the Maghreb), the Caribbean, the rest of the Middle East, India, and parts of China. This often reflects a history of sheep production. In these countries in particular, dishes comprising alternative cuts and offal may be popular or traditional. Sheep testicles—called animelles or lamb fries—are considered a delicacy in many parts of the worldSony VAIO PCG-7162L battery. Perhaps the most unusual dish of sheep meat is the Scottish haggis, composed of various sheep innards cooked along with oatmeal and chopped onions inside its stomach. In comparison, countries such as the U.S. consume only a pound or less (under 0.5 kg), with Americans eating 50 pounds (22 kg) of pork and 65 pounds (29 kg) of beef. In addition, such countries rarely eat mutton, and may favor the more expensive cuts of lamb: mostly lamb chops and leg of lamb. Sony VAIO PCG-7161L battery
Though sheep's milk may be drunk rarely in fresh form, today it is used predominantly in cheese and yogurt making. Sheep have only two teats, and produce a far smaller volume of milk than cows. However, as sheep's milk contains far more fat, solids, and minerals than cow's milk, it is ideal for the cheese-making process. Sony VAIO PCG-7154L battery It also resists contamination during cooling better because of its much higher calcium content. Well-known cheeses made from sheep milk include the Feta of Bulgaria and Greece, Roquefort of France, Manchego from Spain, the Pecorino Romano (the Italian word for sheep is pecore) and Ricotta of Italy. Yogurts, especially some forms of strained yogurt, may also be made from sheep milk. Sony VAIO PCG-7153L battery Many of these products are now often made with cow's milk, especially when produced outside their country of origin. Sheep milk contains 4.8% lactose, which may affect those who are intolerant.
See also: U.S. Sheep Experiment Station
A cloned ewe named Dolly was a scientific landmark.
Sheep are generally too large and reproduce too slowly to make ideal research subjects, and thus are not a common model organism. They have, however, played an influential role in some fields of science. In particular, the Roslin Institute of Edinburgh, Scotland used sheep for genetics research that produced groundbreaking resultsSony VAIO PCG-7152L battery. In 1995, two ewes named Megan and Morag were the first mammals cloned from differentiated cells. A year later, a Finnish Dorset sheep named Dolly, dubbed "the world's most famous sheep" in Scientific American, was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Following this, Polly and Molly were the first mammals to be simultaneously cloned and transgenicSony VAIO PCG-7151L battery.
As of 2008, the sheep genome has not been fully sequenced, although a detailed genetic map has been published, and a draft version of the complete genome produced by assembling sheep DNA sequences using information given by the genomes of other mammals. In 2012, a transgenic sheep named "Peng Peng" was cloned by Chinese scientists
Sony VAIO PCG-7148L battery, who spliced his genes with that of a roundworm (C. elegans) in order to increase production of fats healthier for human consumption.
In the study of natural selection, the population of Soay sheep that remain on the island of Hirta have been used to explore the relation of body size and coloration to reproductive success. Soay sheep come in several colors, and researchers investigated why the larger, darker sheep were in declineSony VPCW21M2E/WI battery; this occurrence contradicted the rule of thumb that larger members of a population tend to be more successful reproductively. The feral Soays on Hirta are especially useful subjects because they are isolated.
Sheep are one of the few animals where the molecular basis of the diversity of male sexual preferences has been examined. However, this research has been controversial, and much publicity has been produced by a study at the Oregon Health and Science University that investigated the mechanisms that produce homosexuality in ramsSony VPCW21C7E battery. Organizations such as PETA campaigned against the study, accusing scientists of trying to cure homosexuality in the sheep. OHSU and the involved scientists vehemently denied such accusations.
A 1979 Faroese stamp by Czesław Słania. Sheep are the heraldic animal of the Faroes ("Sheep Islands")Sony VPCW12S1E/WZ battery.
Domestic sheep are sometimes used in medical research, particularly for researching cardiovascular physiology, in areas such as hypertension and heart failure. Pregnant sheep are also a useful model for human pregnancy, and have been used to investigate the effects on fetal development of malnutrition and hypoxiaSony VPCW12S1E/W battery. In behavioral sciences, sheep have been used in isolated cases for the study of facial recognition, as their mental process of recognition is qualitatively similar to humans.
See also: List of fictional sheep and Bellwether
Sheep have had a strong presence in many cultures, especially in areas where they form the most common type of livestock. In the English language, to call someone a sheep or ovine may allude that they are timid and easily led, if not outright stupid. Sony VPCW12S1E/T battery In contradiction to this image, male sheep are often used as symbols of virility and power; although the logos of the St. Louis Rams and the Dodge Ram allude specifically to males of the species bighorn sheep, ovis canadensis. Sheep are key symbols in fables and nursery rhymes like The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Little Bo Peep, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, and Mary Had a Little LambSony VPCW12S1E/P battery. Novels such as George Orwell's Animal Farm, Haruki Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase, Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd, Neil Astley's The Sheep Who Changed the World (which features a cloned sheep) and Leonie Swann's Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story utilize sheep as characters or plot devices. Poems like William Blake's "The Lamb", songs such as Pink Floyd's Sheep and Bach's aria Sheep may safely graze (Schafe können sicher weiden) Sony VPCW11S1E/W battery use sheep for metaphorical purposes. In more recent popular culture, the 2007 film Black Sheep exploits sheep for horror and comedic effect, ironically turning them into blood-thirsty killers.
The proverbial black sheep
Counting sheep is popularly said to be an aid to sleep, and some ancient systems of counting sheep persist today. Sheep also enter in colloquial sayings and idiom frequently with such phrases as "black sheep". To call an individual a black sheep implies that they are an odd or disreputable member of a group. Sony VPCW11S1E/T battery This usage derives from the recessive trait that causes an occasional black lamb to be born in to an entirely white flock. These black sheep were considered undesirable by shepherds, as black wool is not as commercially viable as white wool. Citizens who accept overbearing governments have been referred to by the Portmanteau neologism of sheeple. Somewhat differently, the adjective "sheepish" is also used to describe embarrassment. Sony VPCW11S1E/P battery
Religion and folklore
Ancient Greek red-figure ram rhyton, ca. 460-450 BC. From Anavyssos. National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
In antiquity, symbolism involving sheep cropped up in religions in the ancient Near East, the Mideast, and the Mediterranean area: Çatalhöyük, ancient Egyptian religion, the Cana'anite and Phoenician tradition, Judaism, Greek religion, and othersSony VPCYA1S1E/B battery. Religious symbolism and ritual involving sheep began with some of the first known faiths: skulls of rams (along with bulls) occupied central placement in shrines at the Çatalhöyük settlement in 8,000 BCE. In Ancient Egyptian religion, the ram was the symbol of several gods: Khnum, Heryshaf and Amun (in his incarnation as a god of fertility). Other deities occasionally shown with ram features includeSony VPCYA1V9E/B battery: the goddess Ishtar, the Phoenician god Baal-Hamon, and the Babylonian god Ea-Oannes. In Madagascar, sheep were not eaten as they were believed to be incarnations of the souls of ancestors.
There are also many ancient Greek references to sheep: that of Chrysomallos, the golden-fleeced ram, continuing to be told through into the modern era. Astrologically, Aries, the ram, is the first sign of the classical Greek zodiac and the sheep is also the eighth of the twelve animals associated with the 12-year cycle of in the Chinese zodiacSony VPCY21S1E/SI battery, related to the Chinese calendar. In Mongolia, shagai are an ancient form of dice made from the cuboid bones of sheep that are often used for fortunetelling purposes.
Sheep play an important role in all the Abrahamic faiths; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David and the Islamic prophet Muhammad were all shepherds. According to the Biblical story of the Binding of IsaacSony VPCY21S1E/L battery, a ram is sacrificed as a substitute for Isaac after an angel stays Abraham's hand (in the Islamic tradition, Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael). Eid al-Adha is a major annual festival in Islam in which sheep (or other animals) are sacrificed in remembrance of this act. Sheep are also occasionally sacrificed to commemorate important secular events in Islamic cultures. Sony VPCY21S1E/G battery Greeks and Romans also sacrificed sheep regularly in religious practice, and Judaism also once sacrificed sheep as a Korban (sacrifice), such as the Passover lamb . Ovine symbols—such as the ceremonial blowing of a shofar—still find a presence in modern Judaic traditions. Followers of Christianity are collectively often referred to as a flock, with Christ as the Good ShepherdSony VPCY11S1E/S battery, and sheep are an element in the Christian iconography of the birth of Jesus. Some Christian saints are considered patrons of shepherds, and even of sheep themselves. Christ is also portrayed as the Sacrificial lamb of God (Agnus Dei) and Easter celebrations in Greece and Romania traditionally feature a meal of Paschal lamb. In many Christian traditions, a church leader is called the pastor, which is derived from the Latin word for shepherdSony VPCY11S1E battery.
Cattle (colloquially cows) 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 classified collectively as Bos primigenius. Cattle are raised as livestock for meat (beef and veal), as dairy animals for milk and other dairy productsSony VPCZ11X9E/B battery, and as draft animals (oxen / bullocks) (pulling carts, plows and the like). Other products include leather and dung for manure or fuel. In some countries, such as India, cattle are sacred. From as few as eighty progenitors domesticated in southeast Turkey about 10,500 years ago, it is estimated that there are now 1.3 billion cattle in the world today. In 2009, cattle became the first livestock animal to have a fully mapped genomeSony VPCZ11Z9E/B battery.
Main article: Bovini
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 zebu; and the extinct Bos primigenius, the aurochs. 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. Sony VPCZ12M9E/B battery
Zubron, a cross between Wisent and cattle.
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 sanga cattle, Bos taurus africanus) but also between one or both of these and some other members of the genus Bos – yaks (the dzo or yattle) Sony VPCZ12X9E/X battery, banteng, and gaur. Hybrids such as the beefalo breed can even occur between taurine cattle and either species of bison, leading some authors to consider them part of the genus Bos as well. The hybrid origin of some types may not be obvious – for example, genetic testing of the Dwarf Lulu breed, the only taurine-type cattle in Nepal, found them to be a mix of taurine cattle, zebu, and yak. Sony VPCZ12Z9E/X battery However, cattle cannot successfully be hybridized with more distantly related bovines such as water buffalo or African buffalo.
The aurochs originally ranged throughout Europe, North Africa, and much of Asia. In historical times its range became restricted to Europe, and the last known individual died in Masovia, Poland, in about 1627. Breeders have attempted to recreate cattle of similar appearance to aurochs by crossing traditional types of domesticated cattle, creating the Heck cattle breedSony VPCZ13M9E/B battery.
Cattle did not originate as the term for bovine animals. It was borrowed from Old French catel, itself from Latin caput, head, and originally meant movable personal property, especially livestock of any kind, as opposed to real property (the land, which also included wild or small free-roaming animals such as chickens — they were sold as part of the land). Sony VPCZ13M9E/X batteryThe word is closely related to "chattel" (a unit of personal property) and "capital" in the economic sense. The term replaced earlier Old English feoh "cattle, property" (cf. German: Vieh, Gothic: faihu).
The word cow came via Anglo-Saxon cū (plural cȳ), from Common Indo-European gʷōus (genitive gʷowes) = "a bovine animal", compare Persian Gâv, Sanskrit go, Welsh buwch. The genitive plural of "cū" is "cȳna", which gave the now archaic English plural, and Scots plural, of "kine"Sony VPCZ13V9E battery.
In older English sources such as the King James Version of the Bible, "cattle" refers to livestock, as opposed to "deer" which refers to wildlife. "Wild cattle" may refer to feral cattle or to undomesticated species of the genus Bos. Today, when used without any other qualifier, the modern meaning of "cattle" is usually restricted to domesticated bovines.Sony VPCZ13V9E/X battery
Look up cattle or cow in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
A Hereford bull
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 United Kingdom and other British influenced parts of world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United States. Sony VPCZ13Z9E/X battery
An intact (i.e., not castrated) adult male is called a bull. A wild, young, unmarked bull is known as a micky in Australia. An unbranded 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 heifer ( /ˈhɛfər/ hef-ər). A young female that has had only one calf is occasionally called a first-calf heiferSony VPCZ21M9E battery.
Young cattle of both sexes are called calves until they are weaned, 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 stirks if between one and two years of age. Sony VPCZ21Q9E battery
A castrated male is called a steer in the United States; older steers are often called bullocks in other parts of the world but in North America this term refers to a young bull. Piker bullocks are micky 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. Sony VPCZ21V9E batteryIn 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, Canada and New Zealand. In some countries an incompletely castrated male is known also as a rig.
A castrated male (occasionally a female or in some areas a bull) kept for draft purposes is called an ox (plural oxen)Sony VPCEH3T9E battery; "ox" may also be used to refer to some carcass products from any adult cattle, such as ox-hide, ox-blood or ox-liver.
A springer is a cow or heifer close to calving.
In all cattle species, a female that is the twin of a bull usually becomes an infertile partial intersex, and is a freemartin.
Neat (horned oxen, from which neatsfoot oil is derived), beef (young ox) and beefing (young animal fit for slaughtering) are obsolete terms, although poll, pollard or polled cattle are still terms in use for naturally hornless animals, or in some areas also for those that have been disbuddedSony VPCEH3N6E battery.
Cattle raised for human consumption are called beef cattle. Within the beef cattle industry in parts of the United States, 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. Sony VPCEH3N1E battery
Cattle of certain breeds bred specifically for milk production are called milking or dairy cattle; a cow kept to provide milk for one family may be called a house cow or milker.
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 whales, hippopotamuses, camels, elk and elephantsSony VPCEH3D0E battery
See also: List of animal names
Singular terminology issue
A herd of Cattle
Cattle can only be used in the plural and not in the singular: it is a plurale tantum. Thus one may refer to "three cattle" or "some cattle", but not "one cattle". There is no universally used singular form in modern English of "cattle", other than the sex- and age-specific terms such as cow, bull, steer and heifer. Historically, "ox" was a non-sex-specific term for adult cattleSony VPCEH3B1E battery, but generally this is now used only for draft cattle, especially adult castrated males. The term is also incorporated into the names of other species such as the musk ox and "grunting ox" (yak), and is used in some areas to describe certain cattle products such as ox-hide and ox-tail.
A Brahman calf
"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 termSony VPCEH2Z1E battery. 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 pasture is statistically likely to consist mostly of cows, so the term is probably accurate even in the restrictive senseSony VPCEH2S9E battery. 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 U.S. dictionary, recognizes the non-sex-specific use of "cow" as an alternate definition, Sony VPCEH2Q1E battery whereas Collins, a UK dictionary, does not.
Colloquially, more general non-specific terms may denote cattle when a singular form is needed. Australian, New Zealand and British farmers use the term "beast" or "cattle beast". "Bovine" is also used in Britain. The term "critter" is common in the western United States and Canada, particularly when referring to young cattle. Sony VPCEH2P0E battery 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 archaic.
A cow's moo
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Cattle raised for human consumption are called "beef cattle". 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 sexSony VPCEH2N1E battery. Cows of certain breeds that are kept for the milk they give are called "dairy cows" or "milking cows" (formerly "milch cows"). Most young male offspring of dairy cows are sold for veal, 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 American west, as in "Keep them dogies moving". In some places, a cow kept to provide milk for one family is called a "house cow"Sony VPCEH2M9E battery. Other obsolete terms for cattle include "neat" (this use survives in "neatsfoot oil", extracted from the feet and legs of cattle), and "beefing" (young animal fit for slaughter).
An onomatopoeic term for one of the commonest sounds made by cattle is "moo", and this sound is also called lowing. There are a number of other sounds made by cattle, including calves bawling, and bulls bellowing. The bullroarer makes a sound similar to a territorial call made by bulls. Sony VPCEH2M1E battery
Cattle have one stomach with four compartments. They are the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum, with the rumen being the largest compartment. 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 hardware diseaseSony VPCEH2L9E battery. 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".
Dairy farming and the milking of cattle - once performed largely by hand, but now usually replaced by machine – exploits the cow's ruminant biology.
Cattle are ruminantsSony VPCEH2J1E battery, meaning that they have a digestive system that allows use of otherwise indigestible foods by regurgitating and rechewing them as "cud". The cud is then reswallowed and further digested by specialised microorganisms in the rumen. These microbes are primarily responsible for decomposing cellulose and other carbohydrates into volatile fatty acids that cattle use as their primary metabolic fuelSony VPCEH2H1E battery. The microbes inside the rumen are also able to synthesize amino acids from non-protein nitrogenous sources, such as urea and ammonia. As these microbes reproduce in the rumen, older generations die and their carcasses continue on through the digestive tract. These carcasses are then partially digested by the cattle, allowing them to gain a high quality protein source. These features allow cattle to thrive on grasses and other vegetationSony VPCEH2F1E battery.
The gestation period for a cow is nine months. A newborn calf weighs 25 to 45 kilograms (55 to 99 lb). The world record for the heaviest bull was 1,740 kilograms (3,840 lb), a Chianina named Donetto, when he was exhibited at the Arezzo show in 1955. The heaviest steer was eight year old ‘Old Ben’, a Shorthorn/Hereford cross weighing in at 2,140 kilograms Sony VPCEH2E0E battery (4,720 lb) in 1910. Steers are generally killed before reaching 750 kilograms (1,650 lb). Breeding stock usually live to about 15 years (occasionally as much as 25 years). The oldest recorded cow, Big Bertha, 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 color-blind. Sony VPCEH2D0E battery The myth arose from the use of red capes in the sport of bullfighting; in fact, two different capes are used. The capote is a large, flowing cape that is magenta and yellow. The more famous muleta 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 chargeSony VPCEH2C0E battery.
Having two kinds of color receptors in the cone cells in their retinas, cattle are dichromatic, as are most other non-primate land mammals.
A cow's udder contains 2 pairs of mammary glands.
Adult weights of cows always depend on the breed. Smaller kinds of cattle such as Dexter and Jersey adults range anywhere between 600 and 1000 lbs (or 272 kg to 454 kg) Sony VPCEH1Z1E battery. Large Continental breeds such as Charolais, Marchigiana, Belgian Blue and Chianina adults range up to 1400 to 2500 lbs (or 635 kg to 1134 kg). British-breed cows such as Hereford, Angus, and Shorthorn mature between 1000 to 2000 lbs (or 454 kg to 907 kg), occasionally higher particularly with Angus and HerefordSony VPCEH1S9E battery.
Bulls will always be a bit larger than cows by a few extra hundred pounds. Chianina bulls can weigh up to 3300 lbs (~1500 kg); British bulls like Angus and Hereford can weigh as little as 2000 lbs (907 kg) to as much as 3000 lbs (1361 kg).
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 1660 lbs (753 kg) Sony VPCEH1S8E battery. Finishing steers in the feedlot average out to ~1400 lbs (or around 640 kg); Cows about 1600 lbs (725 kg), and Bulls about 2400 lbs (~1090 kg).
Further information: Bovine genome
In the April 24, 2009 edition of the journal Science, it was reported that a team of researchers led by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has mapped the bovine genome. Sony VPCEH1S1E batteryThe scientists found that cattle have approximately 22,000 genes, and 80 percent of their genes are shared with humans, and they have approximately 1,000 genes they share 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 meat and milk yields. Sony VPCEH1S0E battery
Domestication and husbandry
Texas Longhorns are a U.S. breed
Cattle occupy a unique role in human history, domesticated since at least the early Neolithic. Modern genetic research suggests that the entire modern domestic stock may have arisen from as few as 80 aurochs tamed in the upper reaches of Mesopotamia about 10,500 years ago near the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja'de el-Mughara in northern Iraq. Sony VPCEH1M9E battery They are raised for meat (beef cattle), dairy products and hides. They are also used as draft animals and in certain sports. Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, and cattle raiding consequently one of the earliest forms of theft.
A Hereford being inspected for ticks; cattle are often restrained or confined in Cattle crushes when given medical attention.
This young animal has a nose ring to prevent it from suckling, which is usually to assist in weaningSony VPCEH1M1E battery.
Cattle are often raised by allowing herds to graze on the grasses of large tracts of rangeland. 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 feeding, cleaning and milking. Many routine husbandry practices involve ear tagging, dehorning, loading, medical operationsSony VPCEH1L9E battery, vaccinations and hoof care, as well as training for agricultural shows and preparations. There are also some cultural differences in working with cattle- the cattle husbandry of Fulani men rests on behavioural techniques, whereas in Europe cattle are controlled primarily by physical means like fences. Breeders use cattle husbandry to reduce M. bovis infection susceptibility by selective breeding and maintaining herd health to avoid concurrent disease. Sony VPCEH1L8E battery
Cattle are farmed for beef, veal, dairy, leather and they are less commonly used for conservation grazing, simply to maintain grassland for wildlife – for example, in Epping Forest, 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 semi desertSony VPCEH1L0E battery. Modern cows are more commercial than older breeds and, having become more specialized, are less versatile. For this reason many smaller farmers still favor old breeds, like the dairy breed of cattle Jersey.
In Portugal, Spain, Southern France and some Latin American countries, bulls are used in the activity of bullfighting; a similar activity, Jallikattu, is seen in South India; in many other countries this is illegalSony VPCEH1J8E battery. Other activities such as bull riding are seen as part of a rodeo, especially in North America. Bull-leaping, a central ritual in Bronze Age Minoan culture (see Bull (mythology)), still exists in southwestern France. In modern times, cattle are also entered into agricultural competitions. These competitions can involve live cattle or cattle carcases in hoof and hook eventsSony VPCEH1J1E battery.
In terms of food intake by humans, consumption of cattle is less efficient than of grain or vegetables with regard to land use, and hence cattle grazing consumes more area than such other agricultural production when raised on grains. Nonetheless, cattle and other forms of domesticated animals can sometimes help to use plant resources in areas not easily amenable to other forms of agricultureSony VPCEH1E1E battery.
Further information: Sleep (non-human)
The average sleep time of a domestic cow is about 4 hours a day.
Holstein cattle are the primary dairy breed, bred for high milk production.
The meat of adult cattle is known as beef, and that of calves is veal. Other animal parts are also used as food products, including blood, liver, kidney, heart and oxtail. Cattle also produce milk, and dairy cattle are specifically bred to produce large quantities of milk that is processed and sold for human consumptionSony VPCEH1AJ battery. Cattle today are the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. The international trade in beef for 2000 was over $30 billion and represented only 23 percent of world beef production. (Clay 2004). The production of milk, which is also made into cheese, butter, yogurt, 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 hidesSony VPCCA1S1E/W battery, used for leather to make shoes, couches and clothing, are another widespread product. Cattle remain broadly used as draft animals in many developing countries, such as India.
See also: Environmental effects of meat production
Cattle have been identified as a contributing factor in the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that the livestock sector is "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions".Sony VPCCA1S1E/P battery The report concludes that, unless changes are made, the damage thought to be linked to livestock may more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases. Another concerns is manure, which if not well managed can lead to adverse environmental consequence. However, manure also is a valuable source of nutrients and organic matter when used as a fertilizer. Sony VPCCA1S1E/G battery 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 percent of manure applications to soybeans and about 80 percent or more of manure applications to corn, wheat, barley, oats and sorghum. Further, substitution of manure for synthetic fertilizers in crop production can be environmentally significantSony VPCCA1S1E/D battery, as between 43 and 88 MJ of fossil fuel energy are used per kg of nitrogen in manufacture of synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers.
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 systemSony VPCCA1S1E/B battery, suggesting practices prevailing in 2007 involved 8.6 percent less fossil fuel use, 16.3 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, 12.1 percent less water use and 33.0 percent less land use, per unit mass of beef produced, than those used in 1977. However, these numbers included not only feedlots, but also feed production, forage-based cow-calf operationsSony VPCCA1S1E battery, backgrounding before cattle enter a feedlot, and animals culled from the dairy industry. The percentage of cattle kept in confined feedlot conditions is increasing. In the USA, 47.7 percent of all cattle were kept in operations of 500 head or more in 2009. Thus, based on size and regulatory definitions, A significant percentage of beef and dairy cattle are housed in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) Sony VPCCA1C5E battery. CAFOs are 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." and where there is no natural grazing of forage. They may be designated as small, medium and large, with varying requirements for handling water pollution issues. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E battery
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 Clean Water Act. The regulations involving CAFO permitting have been extensively litigated. Supporters of CAFO management state that wastewater and manure nutrients are safely applied to land at agronomic rates for use by forages or cropsSony VAIO VPCF11S1E battery. They argue that various constituents of wastewater and manure, such as organic contaminants and pathogens, are retained, inactivated or degraded on the land with application at such rates. Research to date suggests that additional evidence is needed to test reliability of such assumptions. However, the concerns raised by opponents of CAFOs have included risks of contaminated water due to feedlot runoff, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H batterysoil erosion, human and animal exposure to toxic chemicals, development of antibiotic resistant bacteria and an increase in E. coli 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 Union of Concerned Scientists released a report in 2008 concluding that CAFOs are generally unsustainable and externalize costs. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E battery
In 2009, there were an estimated 950,000 cattle operations in the USA. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) noted that  In 2001, the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) tallied 5,990 cattle CAFOs then regulated, consisting of beef (2,200), dairy (3,150), heifer (620) and veal operations (20). Since that time EPA has established CAFOs as an enforcement prioritySony VAIO VPCF21Z1E/BI battery. 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 herbs and forbs; however, in many world regions cattle are reducing biodiversity due to overgrazing. Sony VAIO VPCF21AHJ battery 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. Proper management of pastures, notably managed intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) and grazing at low intensities can lead to less use of fossil fuel energy, increased recapture of carbon dioxideSony VAIO VGN-CS33H battery, fewer ammonia emissions into the atmosphere, reduced soil erosion, better air quality and less water pollution.
Some microbes in the cattle gut carry out anaerobic process known as methanogenesis, which produces methane. Cattle and other livestock emit about 80 to 93 Tg of methane per year,, accounting for an estimated 37 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions, Sony VAIO VGN-CS33H/Z battery and additional methane is produced by anaerobic fermentation of manure in manure lagoons and other manure storage structures. The 100-year global warming potential of methane, including effects on ozone and stratospheric water vapor, is 25 times as great as that of carbon dioxide. 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, Sony VAIO VGN-CS33H/B battery and in some recent years there has been no increase in atmospheric methane content. Mitigation options for reducing methane emission from ruminant enteric fermentation include genetic selection, immunization, rumen defaunation, diet modification and grazing management, among others. While cattle fed forage actually produce more methane than grain-fed cattleSony VAIO VGN-CS31Z/Q battery, the increase may be offset by the increased carbon recapture of pastures, which recapture three times the CO2 of cropland used for grain.
Cow urine is commonly used in India for medical purposes. It is distilled and then consumed by patients seeking treatment for a wide variety of illnesses. At present, there is no conclusive medical evidence that this has any effect.Sony VAIO VGN-CS31S/W battery
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Main article: Ox
Draft Zebus in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Oxen (singular ox) are cattle trained as draft animals. Often they are adult, castrated males of larger breeds, although females and entire bulls are also used in some areas. Usually an ox is over four years old due to the need for training and to allow it to grow to full size. Oxen are used for plowing, transport, hauling cargo, grain-grinding by trampling or by powering machinesSony VAIO VGN-CS31S/V battery, irrigation by powering pumps, and wagon 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 carting, with additional pairs added when more power is required, sometimes up to a total of twenty or more.
An ox is a mature bovine who has learned to respond appropriately to a teamster's signals. These signals are given by verbal commands or by noise (whip cracks) Sony VAIO VGN-CS31S/T battery. Verbal commands vary according to dialect and local tradition. In one tradition in North America, the commands are:
Get up: walk forward
Back up: go backwards
Gee: turn right
Haw: turn left
Riding an ox in Hova, Sweden.
Oxen can pull harder and longer than horses. 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 developing countries. About 11.3 million draft oxen are used in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In India, the number of draft cattle in 1998 was estimated at 65.7 million head. Sony VAIO VGN-CS31S/R battery It has been estimated that about half the world's crop production depends on land preparation (such as plowing) made possible by animal traction.
Religion, traditions and folklore
Main article: Cattle in religion
In Hinduism, the cow is a symbol of wealth, strength, abundance, selfless giving and a full Earthly life.
Cattle are venerated within the Hindu religion of India.[clarification needed] According to Vedic 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" (Mahabharata) Sony VAIO VGN-CS31S/P batteryThey appear in numerous stories from the Puranas and Vedas. The deity Krishna was brought up in a family of cowherders, and given the name Govinda (protector of the cows). Also Shiva is traditionally said to ride on the back of a bull named Nandi. 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. Sony VAIO VGN-CS28 battery
Observant Hindus, even 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. McDonalds outlets in India do not serve any beef burgersSony VAIO VGN-CS28/Q battery. At one time the death sentence was imposed for killing a cow in India, and as late as 1960, 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.
Legend of the founding of Durham Cathedral is that monks carrying the body of Saint Cuthbert were led to the location by a milk maid who had lost her dun cow, which was found resting on the spotSony VAIO VGN-CS27 battery.
The Evangelist St. Luke is depicted as an ox in Christian art.
In Judaism, as described in Numbers 19:2, the ashes of a sacrificed unblemished red heifer that has never been yoked can be used for ritual purification of people who came into contact with a corpse.
The ox is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. See: Ox (Zodiac) Sony VAIO VGN-CS27/W battery.
The constellation Taurus represents a bull.
An apocryphal story has it that a cow started the Great Chicago Fire by kicking over a kerosene 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, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane and also the first cow to be milked in an airplaneSony VAIO VGN-CS27/R battery.
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.
The akabeko (赤べこ?, red cow) is a traditional toy from the Aizu region of Japan that is thought to ward off illness.Sony VAIO VGN-CS27/P battery
The case of Sherwood v. Walker -- involving a supposedly barren heifer that was actually pregnant—-first enunciated the concept of mutual mistake as a means of destroying the meeting of the minds in contract law.
The Maasai tribe of East Africa traditionally believe that all cows on earth are the God-given property of the MaasaiSony VAIO VGN-CS27/C battery.