HOME
TheInfoList



Cattle, or cows (female) and
bull A bull is an intact (i.e., not castrated) adult male of the species ''Bos taurus''. More muscular and aggressive than the females of the same species, the cows, bulls have long been an important symbol in many cultures, and play a significant r ...
s (male), are the most common type of large
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 ...
ungulate Ungulates (pronounced ) are members of a diverse clade of primarily large mammals with hooves. These include odd-toed ungulates such as horses, rhinoceroses and tapirs, and even-toed ungulates such as cattle, pigs, giraffes, camels, sheep, deer, ...
s. They are a prominent modern member of the
subfamily In biological classification, a subfamily (Latin: ', plural ') is an auxiliary (intermediate) taxonomic rank, next below family but more inclusive than genus. Standard nomenclature rules end subfamily botanical names with "-oideae", and zoologica ...
Bovinae 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 ...
, are the most widespread
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexe ...
of the
genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial ...
'' Bos'', and are most commonly classified collectively as ''Bos taurus''. Cattle are commonly raised as
livestock Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to those that are bred for consu ...
for meat (
beef Beef is the culinary name for meat from cattle, particularly skeletal muscle. Humans have been eating beef since prehistoric times. Beef is a source of protein and nutrients. Most beef can be used as is by merely cutting into certain parts, su ...
or
veal Veal is the meat of calves, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed; however, most veal comes from young males of dairy breeds which are not used for breeding. Generally, veal is mo ...
, see
beef cattle Beef cattle are cattle raised for meat production (as distinguished from dairy cattle, used for milk production). The meat of mature or almost mature cattle is mostly known as beef. In beef production there are three main stages: cow-calf operatio ...
), for
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
(see
dairy cattle Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are female cattle bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species ''Bos taurus''. Historically, there was little distinct ...
), and for hides, which are used to make
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
. They are used as
riding animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be pets or draft animals trained to achieve certain tasks, such as guide dogs, assistance dogs, draft horses, or logging elephants ...
s and
draft animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be pets or draft animals trained to achieve certain tasks, such as guide dogs, assistance dogs, draft horses, or logging elephants ...
s (
ox An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals easier to control. Cows (adult females) or bulls (intact m ...

ox
en or bullocks, which pull
cart A cart or dray (Aus. & NZ) is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people. It is different from the flatbed trolley also known ...
s,
plow A plough or plow (US; both ) is a farm tool for loosening or turning the soil before sowing seed or planting. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by oxen and horses, but in modern farms are drawn by tractors. A plough may have a wooden, iron or st ...
s and other implements). Another product of cattle is their dung, which can be used to create
manure Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable. Manure_is_[[organic_matter_that_is_used_as_[[organic_fertilizer_in_[[agriculture._Most_manure_consists_of_animal_[[feces;_other_sources_inclu_...
_or_[[fuel._In_some_regions,_such_as_parts_of_India,_[[Cattle_in_religion.html" ;"title="fuel.html" ;"title="stable. Manure is [[organic matter that is used as [[organic fertilizer in [[agriculture. Most manure consists of animal [[feces; other sources inclu ...
or [[fuel">stable. Manure is [[organic matter that is used as [[organic fertilizer in [[agriculture. Most manure consists of animal [[feces; other sources inclu ...
or [[fuel. In some regions, such as parts of India, [[Cattle in religion">cattle have significant religious meaning. Cattle, mostly small breeds such as the [[Miniature Zebu, are also kept as [[pets. Around 10,500 years ago, [[taurine cattle were domesticated from as few as 80 progenitors in [[Central Anatolia Region|central Anatolia, the [[Levant and [[Western Iran. Op. cit. in According to the
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it|Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency of ...
(FAO), there are approximately 1.5 billion cattle in the world as of 2018. In 2009, cattle became one of the first livestock animals to have a fully mapped
genome In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is all genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). The genome includes both the genes (the coding regions) and the noncoding DNA, as well as mitochond ...
.


Taxonomy

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 Indicine or "zebu"; and the extinct ''Bos primigenius'', the
aurochs The aurochs ( or ; pl. aurochs, or rarely aurochsen, aurochses) (''Bos primigenius''), also known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Asia, Europe, and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle. T ...
. The aurochs is ancestral to both zebu and taurine cattle. These have been reclassified as one species, ''Bos taurus'', with three subspecies: Complicating the matter is the ability of cattle to
interbreed In biology, a hybrid is the offspring resulting from combining the qualities of two organisms of different breeds, varieties, species or genera through sexual reproduction. Hybrids are not always intermediates between their parents (such as in b ...
with other closely related species. Hybrid individuals and even breeds exist, not only between taurine cattle and zebu (such as the
sanga cattle Sanga cattle is the collective name for indigenous cattle of sub-Saharan Africa. They are sometimes identified as a subspecies with the scientific name ''Bos taurus africanus''. These cattle originated in East Africa, probably the western shores o ...
, ''Bos taurus africanus''), but also between one or both of these and some other members of the
genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial ...
'' Bos'' yaks (the
dzo A dzo (Tibetan མཛོ་ mdzo) (also spelled zo, zho and dzho) is a hybrid between the yak and domestic cattle. The word dzo technically refers to a male hybrid, while a female is known as a or . In Mongolian it is called (хайнаг). Th ...
or yattle),
banteng The banteng (''Bos javanicus''; ), also known as tembadau, is a species of cattle found in Southeast Asia. The head-and-body length is between . Wild banteng are typically larger and heavier than their domesticated counterparts, but are otherwi ...
, and
gaur The gaur (''Bos gaurus''; ), also known as the Indian bison, is a bovine native to South and Southeast Asia, and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The global population was estimated at a maximum of 21,000 mature ind ...
. Hybrids such as the
beefalo Beefalo constitute a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle (''Bos taurus''), usually a male in managed breeding programs, and the American bison (''Bison bison''), usually a female in managed breeding programs. The breed was created to combi ...
breed can even occur between taurine cattle and either species of
bison Bison are large, even-toed ungulates in the genus ''Bison'' within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and six extinct species are recognised. Of the six extinct species, five became extinct in the Quaternary extinction event. ''Bison palaeosinen ...
, 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 Genetic testing, also known as DNA testing, is used to identify changes in DNA sequence or chromosome structure. Genetic testing can also include measuring the results of genetic changes, such as RNA analysis as an output of gene expression, or thr ...
of the
Dwarf Lulu The Dwarf Lulu is a breed of cattle that is native to the mountains of Central Asia. It has taurine, yak and zebu cattle genetics. Cows weigh between 68 and 153 kg,H. Fujise et al.“Breeding distribution and maternal genetic lineages in Lulu, a dw ...
breed, the only taurine-type cattle in Nepal, found them to be a mix of taurine cattle, zebu, and yak. However, cattle cannot be successfully hybridized with more distantly related bovines such as
water buffalo The water buffalo (''Bubalus bubalis''), also called the domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo is a large bovid originating in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China. Today, it is also found in Europe, Australia, North Americ ...

water buffalo
or
African buffalo The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (''Syncerus caffer'') is a large sub-Saharan African bovine. ''Syncerus caffer caffer'', the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, and the largest one, found in Southern and East Africa. ''S. c. nanus'' (the ...

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
Mazovia Mazovia or Masovia ( pl|Mazowsze) is a historical region in mid-north-eastern Poland. It spans the North European Plain, roughly between Łódź and Białystok, with Warsaw being the unofficial capital and largest city. Throughout the centuries ...
, 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 Heck cattle are a hardy breed of domestic cattle. These cattle are the result of an attempt by the Heck brothers to breed back the extinct aurochs from modern aurochs-derived cattle in the 1920s and 1930s. Controversy revolves around methodology an ...
breed.


Etymology

''Cattle'' did not originate as the term for bovine animals. It was borrowed from Anglo-Norman , itself from medieval Latin 'principal sum of money, capital', itself derived in turn from Latin 'head'. ''Cattle'' originally meant movable
personal property Personal property is property that is movable. In common law systems, personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In civil law systems, personal property is often called movable property or movables – any property that can be m ...
, especially livestock of any kind, as opposed to
real property In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called improvements or fixtures) integrated with or affixed to the land, including crops, b ...
(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 a variant of '' chattel'' (a unit of personal property) and closely related to ''
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter, an upper-case letter in any type of writing * Capital city, the area of a country, province, region, or state, regarded as enjoying primary status, usually but not always the seat of the governm ...
'' in the economic sense. The term replaced earlier
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th centur ...
'cattle, property', which survives today as ''fee'' (cf. , , ). The word "cow" came via
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited England. They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the North Sea coastlands of mainland Europe. However, the ethnogenesis ...
(plural ''cȳ''), from Common Indo-European (
genitive In grammar, the genitive case (abbreviated ), is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus, indicating an attributive relationship of one noun to the other noun. A genitive can al ...
) = "a bovine animal", compare fa|gâv|script=Latn, sa|go-|script=Latn, cy|buwch. The plural ''cȳ'' 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, "kine". The
Scots language Scots ( sco|Scots; gd|Albais/Beurla Ghallda) is a West Germanic language variety spoken in Scotland and parts of Ulster in the north of Ireland (where the local dialect is known as Ulster Scots). It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to dist ...
singular is coo or cou, and the plural is "kye". In older English sources such as the
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB), sometimes as the English version of 1611, or simply the Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, commissioned in 1604 an ...
of the Bible, "cattle" refers to livestock, as opposed to "deer" which refers to wildlife. "Wild cattle" may refer to
feral in St Kilda, Scotland A feral animal or plant (from la|fera, 'a wild beast') is one that lives in the wild but is descended from domesticated specimens. As with an introduced species, the introduction of feral animals or plants to non-nati ...
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.


Terminology

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 the world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States. * An "intact" (i.e., not
castrated Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which an individual loses use of the testicles: the male gonad. Surgical castration is bilateral orchiectomy (excision of both testicles) ...

castrated
) adult male is called a ''bull''. * 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'' ( ).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 ''
calves Calves is a hamlet in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal. It is divided between the parishes of Argivai and Beiriz and in the 2001 census it had 138 inhabitants. Tapetes de Beiriz The factory of ("Beiriz Carpets") is also located there. The operation ...
'' until they are
weaned Weaning is the process of gradually introducing an infant human or another mammal to what will be its adult diet while withdrawing the supply of its mother's milk. The process takes place only in mammals, as only mammals produce milk. The infant ...
, 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. * 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 (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. 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, 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 or riding purposes is called an ''
ox An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals easier to control. Cows (adult females) or bulls (intact m ...

ox
'' (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. * In all cattle species, a female twin of a bull usually becomes an infertile partial
intersex Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals that, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not ...
, and is called a ''
freemartin A freemartin or free-martin (sometimes martin heifer) is an infertile female mammal with masculinized behavior and non-functioning ovaries. Genetically the animal is chimeric: karyotypy of a sample of cells shows XX/XY chromosomes. The animal ori ...
''. * A wild, young, unmarked bull is known as a ''micky'' in Australia.Coupe, Sheena (ed.), Frontier Country, Vol. 1, Weldon Russell Publishing, Willoughby, 1989, * An unbranded bovine of either sex is called a ''maverick'' in the US and Canada. * Neat (horned oxen, from which
neatsfoot oil upNeatsfoot oil Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an Old English word for cattle. Neatsfoot oil is used as a conditioning, softening ...
is derived), beef (young ox) and beefing (young animal fit for slaughtering) are obsolete terms, although ''poll'', ''pollard'' and '' polled cattle'' are still terms in use for naturally hornless animals, or in some areas also for those that have been disbudded or dehorned. * Cattle raised for human consumption are called ''
beef cattle Beef cattle are cattle raised for meat production (as distinguished from dairy cattle, used for milk production). The meat of mature or almost mature cattle is mostly known as beef. In beef production there are three main stages: cow-calf operatio ...
''. 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''. * Cattle bred specifically for milk production are called ''milking'' or ''
dairy cattle Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are female cattle bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species ''Bos taurus''. Historically, there was little distinct ...
''; a cow kept to provide milk for one family may be called a ''
house cow A house cow is a cow kept to provide milk for a home kitchen. This differentiates them from dairy cows, which are farmed commercially. They can also provide manure, for use as a garden fertiliser, and their offspring can be a source of meat. House ...
'' or ''milker''. A ''fresh cow'' is a dairy 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 whales,
hippopotamus The hippopotamus ( ; ''Hippopotamus amphibius''), also called the hippo, common hippopotamus or river hippopotamus, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal and ungulate native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extant spec ...

hippopotamus
es,
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate in the genus ''Camelus'' that bears distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. Camels have long been domesticated and, as livestock, they provide food (milk and meat) and textiles (fiber and felt fr ...
s,
elk The elk (''Cervus canadensis''), also known as the wapiti, is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America, as well as Central and East Asia. It is often confused with ...

elk
and elephants.


Singular terminology issue

"Cattle" can only be used in the
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a quantity greater than the default quantity represented by that noun. This default quantit ...
and not in the
singular Singular may refer to: * Singular, the grammatical number that denotes a unit quantity, as opposed to the plural and other forms * Singular homology * SINGULAR, an open source Computer Algebra System (CAS) * Singular or sounder, a group of boar, se ...
: it is a
plurale tantum ''Plurale'' is an album by Italian singer Mina, distributed back to back with album ''Singolare''. Track listing # ''Intro'' - 2:26 - (Recording dialogues during rehearsals) # ''Moonlight Serenade'' - 4:01 - (Glenn Miller-Mitchell Parish) # ...
. Thus one may refer to "three cattle" or "some cattle", but not "one cattle". "One head of cattle" is a valid though periphrastic way to refer to one animal of indeterminate or unknown age and sex; otherwise no universally used single-word singular form of ''cattle'' exists in modern English, 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
musk ox Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. ''Mus ...

musk ox
and "grunting ox" ( yak), and is used in some areas to describe certain cattle products such as ox-hide and
oxtail Oxtail (occasionally spelled ox tail or ox-tail) is the culinary name for the tail of cattle. Formerly, it referred only to the tail of an ox. An oxtail typically weighs and is skinned and cut into short lengths for sale. Description Oxtail is ...
. ''Cow'' is in general use as a singular for the collective ''cattle.'' 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 Pasture (from the Latin ''pastus'', past participle of ''pascere'', "to feed") is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep, or swine. ...
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 are used as
ox An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals easier to control. Cows (adult females) or bulls (intact m ...

ox
en or 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 and Oxford Living Dictionaries recognize the sex-nonspecific use of ''cow'' as an alternate definition, whereas Collins and the OED do not.
Colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the linguistic style used for casual communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in conversation and other informal contexts. Colloquialism is characterized b ...
ly, more general non
specific Specific may refer to: * Specificity (disambiguation) * Specific, a cure or therapy for a specific illness Law * Specific deterrence, focussed on an individual * Specific finding, intermediate verdict used by a jury in determining the final ver ...
terms may denote cattle when a singular form is needed. ''Head of cattle'' is usually used only after a numeral. 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. 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 Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
.


Other terminology

Cattle raised for human consumption are called ''
beef cattle Beef cattle are cattle raised for meat production (as distinguished from dairy cattle, used for milk production). The meat of mature or almost mature cattle is mostly known as beef. In beef production there are three main stages: cow-calf operatio ...
''. 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 ''
dairy cow Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are female cattle bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species ''Bos taurus''. Historically, there was little distinct ...
s'' or ''milking cows'' (formerly ''milch cows''). Most young male offspring of dairy cows are sold for
veal Veal is the meat of calves, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed; however, most veal comes from young males of dairy breeds which are not used for breeding. Generally, veal is mo ...
, and may be referred to as veal calves. The term ''dogies'' is used to describe orphaned calves in the context of
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 ...
work in the
American West 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'' ...
, 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 "
neatsfoot oil upNeatsfoot oil Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an Old English word for cattle. Neatsfoot oil is used as a conditioning, softening ...
", extracted from the feet and legs of cattle), and "beefing" (young animal fit for slaughter). An
onomatopoeic Onomatopoeia is the process of creating a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. Such a word itself is also called an onomatopoeia. Common onomatopoeias include animal noises such as "oink", "meow" ...

onomatopoeic
term for one of the most common sounds made by cattle is ''moo'' (also called ''lowing''). There are a number of other sounds made by cattle, including calves ''bawling'', and bulls ''bellowing''. Bawling is most common for cows after weaning of a calf. The
bullroarer The bullroarer, ''rhombus'', or ''turndun'', is an ancient ritual musical instrument and a device historically used for communicating over great distances. It dates to the Paleolithic period, being found in Ukraine dating from 18,000 BC. Anthrop ...
makes a sound similar to a bull's territorial call.


Characteristics


Anatomy

Cattle are large
quadrupedal The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod animal uses all four limbs (legs) to weightbear, walk and run. An animal or machine that usually maintains a four-legged posture and moves using all fou ...
ungulate Ungulates (pronounced ) are members of a diverse clade of primarily large mammals with hooves. These include odd-toed ungulates such as horses, rhinoceroses and tapirs, and even-toed ungulates such as cattle, pigs, giraffes, camels, sheep, deer, ...
mammal Mammals (from Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young, a neocortex (a region ...
s with cloven hooves. Most breeds have
hornsHorns or The Horns may refer to: * The Horns (Colorado), a summit on Cheyenne Mountain * ''Horns'' (novel), a dark fantasy novel written in 2010 by Joe Hill ** ''Horns'' (film), a 2013 film adaptation of Hill's novel * "The Horns" (song), a 2015 son ...
, which can be as large as the
Texas Longhorn The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to over 100 inches (2.54 m) tip to tip for cows and bulls. They are descendants of the first cattle introduced in the New World, brought by explorer Ch ...

Texas Longhorn
or small like a
scurA scur is an incompletely developed horn growth. In cattle, scurs are not attached to the skull, whereas horns are attached and have blood vessels and nerves. Scurs may also occur in sheep. Genetic Inheritance The gene for scurs is inherited sepa ...
. Careful genetic selection has allowed polled (hornless) cattle to become widespread.


Digestive system

Cattle are
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, meaning their
digestive system The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion (the tongue, salivary glands, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder). Digestion involves the breakdown of food into smaller and smaller component ...
is highly specialized to allow the use of poorly digestible plants as food. Cattle have one
stomach The stomach is a muscular, hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other animals, including several invertebrates. The stomach has a dilated structure and functions as a vital digestive organ. In the digestive system the ...
with four compartments, the
rumen The rumen, also known as a paunch, is the largest stomach compartment in ruminants and the larger part of the reticulorumen, which is the first chamber in the alimentary canal of ruminant animals. The rumen's microbial favoring environment allows ...
,
reticulum Reticulum is a small, faint constellation in the southern sky. Its name is Latin for a small net, or reticle—a net of crosshairs at the focus of a telescope eyepiece that is used to measure star positions. The constellation is best viewed betw ...
,
omasumThe omasum, also known as the bible, the fardel, the manyplies and the psalterium, is the third compartment of the stomach in ruminants. The omasum comes after the rumen and reticulum and before the abomasum. Different ruminants have different omasu ...
, and
abomasum The ruminant digestive system The abomasum, also known as the maw,regurgitating and re-chewing their food, known as cud chewing, like most ruminants. While the animal is feeding, the food is swallowed without being chewed and goes into the rumen for storage until the animal can find a quiet place to continue the digestion process. The food is regurgitated, a mouthful at a time, back up to the mouth, where the food, now called the cud, is chewed by the molars, grinding down the coarse vegetation to small particles. The cud is then swallowed again and further digested by specialized
microorganism A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism'' from the el|ὀργανισμός, ''organismós'', "organism"). It is usually written as a single word but is sometimes hyphenated (''micro-organism''), especially in older t ...
s in the rumen. These microbes are primarily responsible for decomposing
cellulose Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to many thousands of β(1→4) linked D-glucose units. Cellulose is an important structural component of the primary cell wall of ...
and other
carbohydrate is a disaccharide found in animal milk. It consists of a molecule of D-galactose and a molecule of D-glucose bonded by beta-1-4 glycosidic linkage. A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule consisting of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) atoms, ...
s into
volatile fatty acidsShort-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are fatty acids with fewer than six carbon atoms. Derived from intestinal microbial fermentation of indigestible foods, SCFAs are the main energy source of colonocytes, making them crucial to gastrointestinal health. ...
cattle use as their primary
metabolic Metabolism (, from el|μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are: the conversion of food to energy to run cellular processes; the conve ...
fuel. The microbes inside the rumen also 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 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 [[Poaceae|grasses and other tough vegetation.


Gestation and size

The [[gestation period for a cow is about nine months long. A newborn calf's size can vary among breeds, but a typical calf weighs . Adult size and weight vary significantly among breeds and sex. 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, [[Big Bertha (cow)|Big Bertha, died at the age of 48 in 1993.


Reproduction

On farms it is very common to use [[artificial insemination (AI), a [[assisted reproductive technology|medically assisted reproduction technique consisting of the artificial deposition of [[semen in the [[Female Reproductive System|female's genital tract. It is used in cases where the [[spermatozoa can not reach the [[fallopian tubes or simply by choice of the owner of the animal. It consists of transferring, to the [[uterus|uterine cavity, spermatozoa previously collected and processed, with the selection of morphologically more normal and mobile spermatozoa. A cow's [[udder contains two pairs of [[mammary glands, (commonly referred to as ''teats'') creating four "quarters". The front ones are referred to as ''fore quarters'' and the rear ones ''rear quarters''. Synchronization of cattle [[ovulation to benefit [[dairy farming may be accomplished via [[Induced ovulation (animals)|induced ovulation techniques. Bulls become fertile at about seven months of age. Their fertility is closely related to the size of their [[testicles, and one simple test of fertility is to measure the circumference of the scrotum: a young bull is likely to be fertile once this reaches ; that of a fully adult bull may be over . A bull has a fibro-elastic penis. Given the small amount of erectile tissue, there is little enlargement after erection. The penis is quite rigid when non-erect, and becomes even more rigid during erection. Protrusion is not affected much by erection, but more by relaxation of the [[retractor penis muscle and straightening of the [[sigmoid flexure.


Weight

The weight of adult cattle varies, depending 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 from . British breeds, such as Hereford, Angus, and Shorthorn, mature at between , occasionally higher, particularly with Angus and Hereford. Bulls are larger than cows of the same breed by up to a few hundred kilograms. Chianina bulls can weigh up to ; British bulls, such as Angus and Hereford, can weigh as little as to as much as . The world record for the heaviest bull was , a [[Chianina named Donetto, when he was exhibited at the [[Arezzo show in 1955.Friend, John B., Cattle of the World, Blandford Press, Dorset, 1978 The heaviest steer was eight-year-old 'Old Ben', a [[Shorthorn/[[Hereford Cattle|Hereford cross weighing in at in 1910.McWhirter, Norris & Ross, ''Guinness Book of Records'', Redwood Press, Trowbridge, 1968 In the United States, the average weight of beef cattle has steadily increased, especially since the 1970s, requiring the building of new slaughterhouses able to handle larger carcasses. New packing plants in the 1980s stimulated a large increase in cattle weights. Before 1790 beef cattle averaged only net; and thereafter weights climbed steadily.


Cognition

In laboratory studies, young cattle are able to memorize the locations of several food sources and retain this memory for at least 8 hours, although this declined after 12 hours. Fifteen-month-old heifers learn more quickly than adult cows which have had either one or two calvings, but their longer-term memory is less stable. Mature cattle perform well in spatial learning tasks and have a good long-term memory in these tests. Cattle tested in a [[radial arm maze are able to remember the locations of high-quality food for at least 30 days. Although they initially learn to avoid low-quality food, this memory diminishes over the same duration. Under less artificial testing conditions, young cattle showed they were able to remember the location of feed for at least 48 days. Cattle can make an association between a visual stimulus and food within 1 day—memory of this association can be retained for 1 year, despite a slight decay. Calves are capable of discrimination learning and adult cattle compare favourably with small mammals in their learning ability in the [[Closed-field Test. They are also able to discriminate between familiar individuals, and among humans. Cattle can tell the difference between familiar and unfamiliar animals of the same species (conspecifics). Studies show they behave less aggressively toward familiar individuals when they are forming a new group. Calves can also discriminate between humans based on previous experience, as shown by approaching those who handled them positively and avoiding those who handled them aversively. Although cattle can discriminate between humans by their faces alone, they also use other cues such as the color of clothes when these are available. In audio play-back studies, calves prefer their own mother's vocalizations compared to the vocalizations of an unfamiliar mother. In laboratory studies using images, cattle can discriminate between images of the heads of cattle and other animal species. They are also able to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics. Furthermore, they are able to [[Categorization|categorize images as familiar and unfamiliar individuals. When mixed with other individuals, [[Cloning|cloned calves from the same donor form subgroups, indicating that kin discrimination occurs and may be a basis of grouping behaviour. It has also been shown using images of cattle that both artificially inseminated and cloned calves have similar cognitive capacities of kin and non-kin discrimination. Cattle can recognize familiar individuals. Visual individual recognition is a more complex mental process than visual discrimination. It requires the recollection of the learned idiosyncratic identity of an individual that has been previously encountered and the formation of a mental representation. By using 2-dimensional images of the heads of one cow (face, profiles, views), all the tested heifers showed individual recognition of familiar and unfamiliar individuals from their own breed. Furthermore, almost all the heifers recognized unknown individuals from different breeds, although this was achieved with greater difficulty. Individual recognition was most difficult when the visual features of the breed being tested were quite different from the breed in the image, for example, the breed being tested had no spots whereas the image was of a spotted breed. Cattle use [[Lateralization of brain function|visual/brain lateralisation in their visual scanning of novel and familiar stimuli. Domestic cattle prefer to view novel stimuli with the left eye, i.e. using the right brain hemisphere (similar to horses, Australian magpies, chicks, toads and fish) but use the right eye, i.e. using the left hemisphere, for viewing familiar stimuli.


Temperament and emotions

In cattle, temperament can affect production traits such as carcass and meat quality or milk yield as well as affecting the animal's overall health and reproduction. Cattle temperament is defined as "the consistent behavioral and physiological difference observed between individuals in response to a stressor or environmental challenge and is used to describe the relatively stable difference in the behavioral predisposition of an animal, which can be related to psychobiological mechanisms". Generally, cattle temperament is assumed to be multidimensional. Five underlying categories of temperament traits have been proposed: * shyness-boldness * exploration-avoidance * activity * [[Aggression in cattle|aggressiveness * sociability In a study on Holstein–Friesian heifers learning to press a panel to open a gate for access to a food reward, the researchers also recorded the heart rate and behavior of the heifers when moving along the race towards the food. When the heifers made clear improvements in learning, they had higher heart rates and tended to move more vigorously along the race. The researchers concluded this was an indication that cattle may react emotionally to their own learning improvement. Negative emotional states are associated with a bias toward negative responses towards ambiguous cues in judgement tasks. After separation from their mothers, Holstein calves showed such a cognitive bias indicative of low mood. A similar study showed that after hot-iron disbudding ([[dehorning), calves had a similar negative bias indicating that post-operative pain following this routine procedure results in a negative change in emotional state. In studies of visual discrimination, the position of the ears has been used as an indicator of emotional state. When cattle are stressed other cattle can tell by the chemicals released in their urine. Cattle are very [[Social animal|gregarious and even short-term isolation is considered to cause severe psychological [[Stress (biology)|stress. When [[Aubrac (cattle)|Aubrac and Friesian heifers are isolated, they increase their vocalizations and experience increased [[heart rate and plasma [[cortisol concentrations. These physiological changes are greater in Aubracs. When visual contact is re-instated, vocalizations rapidly decline, regardless of the familiarity of the returning cattle, however, heart rate decreases are greater if the returning cattle are familiar to the previously-isolated individual. Mirrors have been used to reduce stress in isolated cattle.


Senses

Cattle use all of the five widely recognized sensory modalities. These can assist in some complex behavioural patterns, for example, in grazing behaviour. Cattle eat mixed diets, but when given the opportunity, show a partial preference of approximately 70% clover and 30% grass. This preference has a diurnal pattern, with a stronger preference for clover in the morning, and the proportion of grass increasing towards the evening.


Vision

Vision is the dominant sense in cattle and they obtain almost 50% of their information visually. Cattle are a prey animal and to assist predator detection, their eyes are located on the sides of their head rather than the front. This gives them a wide field of view of 330° but limits [[binocular vision (and therefore [[stereopsis) to 30° to 50° compared to 140° in humans. This means they have a blind spot directly behind them. Cattle have good visual acuity, but compared to humans, their visual accommodation is poor. Cattle have two kinds of [[color receptors in the [[cone cells of their [[retinas. This means that cattle are [[Dichromacy|dichromatic, as are most other non-primate land mammals. There are two to three rods per cone in the [[fovea centralis but five to six near the optic papilla. Cattle can distinguish long wavelength colors (yellow, orange and red) much better than the shorter wavelengths (blue, grey and green). Calves are able to discriminate between long (red) and short (blue) or medium (green) wavelengths, but have limited ability to discriminate between the short and medium. They also approach handlers more quickly under red light. Whilst having good color sensitivity, it is not as good as humans or [[sheep. 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 a myth. In [[bullfighting, it is the movement of the red flag or cape that irritates the bull and incites it to charge.


Taste

Cattle have a well-developed sense of taste and can distinguish the four primary tastes (sweet, salty, bitter and sour). They possess around 20,000 taste buds. The strength of taste perception depends on the individual's current food requirements. They avoid bitter-tasting foods (potentially toxic) and have a marked preference for sweet (high calorific value) and salty foods ([[electrolyte balance). Their sensitivity to sour-tasting foods helps them to maintain optimal ruminal [[pH. Plants have low levels of sodium and cattle have developed the capacity of seeking salt by taste and smell. If cattle become depleted of sodium salts, they show increased locomotion directed to searching for these. To assist in their search, the olfactory and gustatory receptors able to detect minute amounts of sodium salts increase their sensitivity as biochemical disruption develops with sodium salt depletion.


Hearing

Cattle hearing ranges from 23 [[Hertz|Hz to 35 kHz. Their frequency of best sensitivity is 8 kHz and they have a lowest threshold of −21 [[Decibel|db (re 20 μN/m−2), which means their hearing is more acute than horses (lowest threshold of 7 db). Sound localization acuity thresholds are an average of 30°. This means that cattle are less able to localise sounds compared to goats (18°), dogs (8°) and humans (0.8°). Because cattle have a broad foveal fields of view covering almost the entire horizon, they may not need very accurate locus information from their auditory systems to direct their gaze to a sound source. Vocalizations are an important mode of communication amongst cattle and can provide information on the age, sex, dominance status and reproductive status of the caller. Calves can recognize their mothers using vocalizations; vocal behaviour may play a role by indicating estrus and competitive display by bulls.


Olfaction and gustation

Cattle have a range of odiferous glands over their body including [[interdigital, [[infraorbital salivary gland|infraorbital, [[wikt:inguinal|inguinal and [[sebaceous glands, indicating that olfaction probably plays a large role in their social life. Both the primary olfactory system using the [[olfactory bulbs, and the secondary olfactory system using the [[vomeronasal organ are used. This latter olfactory system is used in the [[flehmen response. There is evidence that when cattle are stressed, this can be recognised by other cattle and this is communicated by alarm substances in the urine. The odour of dog faeces induces behavioural changes prior to cattle feeding, whereas the odours of urine from either stressed or non-stressed conspecifics and blood have no effect. In the laboratory, cattle can be trained to recognise conspecific individuals using olfaction only. In general, cattle use their sense of smell to "expand" on information detected by other sensory modalities. However, in the case of social and reproductive behaviours, olfaction is a key source of information.


Touch

Cattle have tactile sensations detected mainly by [[mechanoreceptors, [[thermoreceptors and [[nociceptors in the skin and muzzle. These are used most frequently when cattle explore their environment.


Magnetoreception

There is conflicting evidence for [[magnetoreception in cattle. One study reported that resting and grazing cattle tend to align their body axes in the geomagnetic north–south (N-S) direction. In a follow-up study, cattle exposed to various magnetic fields directly beneath or in the vicinity of power lines trending in various magnetic directions exhibited distinct patterns of alignment. However, in 2011, a group of [[Czechs|Czech researchers reported their failed attempt to replicate the finding using [[Google Earth images.


Behavior

Under natural conditions, calves stay with their mother until weaning at 8 to 11 months. Heifer and bull calves are equally attached to their mothers in the first few months of life. Cattle are considered to be "hider" type animals, but in the artificial environment of small calving pens, close proximity between cow and calf is maintained by the mother at the first three calvings but this changes to being mediated by the calf after these. Primiparous dams show a higher incidence of abnormal maternal behavior. Beef-calves reared on the range suckle an average of 5.0 times every 24 hours with an average total time of 46 min spent suckling. There is a diurnal rhythm in suckling activity with peaks between 05:00–07:00, 10:00–13:00 and 17:00–21:00. Studies on the natural weaning of zebu cattle (''Bos indicus'') have shown that the cow weans her calves over a 2-week period, but after that, she continues to show strong affiliatory behavior with her offspring and preferentially chooses them for grooming and as grazing partners for at least 4–5 years.


Reproductive behavior

Semi-wild [[Highland cattle heifers first give birth at 2 or 3 years of age, and the timing of birth is synchronized with increases in natural food quality. Average calving interval is 391 days, and calving mortality within the first year of life is 5%.


Dominance and leadership

One study showed that over a 4-year period, dominance relationships within a herd of semi-wild highland cattle were very firm. There were few overt aggressive conflicts and the majority of disputes were settled by [[agonistic behavior|agonistic (non-aggressive, competitive) behaviors that involved no physical contact between opponents (e.g. threatening and spontaneous withdrawing). Such agonistic behavior reduces the risk of injury. Dominance status depended on age and sex, with older animals generally being dominant to young ones and males dominant to females. Young bulls gained superior dominance status over adult cows when they reached about 2 years of age. As with many animal dominance hierarchies, dominance-associated aggressiveness does not correlate with rank position, but is closely related to rank distance between individuals. Dominance is maintained in several ways. Cattle often engage in mock fights where they test each other's strength in a non-aggressive way. Licking is primarily performed by subordinates and received by dominant animals. Mounting is a playful behavior shown by calves of both sexes and by bulls and sometimes by cows in estrus, however, this is not a dominance related behavior as has been found in other species. The horns of cattle are "[[honest signals" used in mate selection. Furthermore, horned cattle attempt to keep greater distances between themselves and have fewer physical interactions than hornless cattle. This leads to more stable social relationships. In calves, the frequency of agonistic behavior decreases as space allowance increases, but this does not occur for changes in group size. However, in adult cattle, the number of agonistic encounters increases as the group size increases.


Grazing behavior

When grazing, cattle vary several aspects of their bite, i.e. tongue and jaw movements, depending on characteristics of the plant they are eating. Bite area decreases with the density of the plants but increases with their height. Bite area is determined by the sweep of the tongue; in one study observing steers, bite area reached a maximum of approximately . Bite depth increases with the height of the plants. By adjusting their behavior, cattle obtain heavier bites in swards that are tall and sparse compared with short, dense swards of equal mass/area. Cattle adjust other aspects of their grazing behavior in relation to the available food; foraging velocity decreases and intake rate increases in areas of abundant palatable forage. Cattle avoid grazing areas contaminated by the faeces of other cattle more strongly than they avoid areas contaminated by sheep, but they do not avoid pasture contaminated by rabbit faeces.


Genetics

On 24 April 2009, edition of the journal ''Science'', a team of researchers led by the National Institutes of Health and the [[United States Department of Agriculture|US Department of Agriculture reported having mapped the [[bovine genome. 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 meat and milk yields. Behavioral traits of cattle can be as [[Heritability|heritable as some production traits, and often, the two can be related. The heritability of fear varies markedly in cattle from low (0.1) to high (0.53); such high variation is also found in pigs and sheep, probably due to differences in the methods used. The heritability of temperament (response to isolation during handling) has been calculated as 0.36 and 0.46 for [[habituation to handling. Rangeland assessments show that the heritability of aggressiveness in cattle is around 0.36. [[Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been found for a range of production and behavioral characteristics for both dairy and beef cattle.


Domestication and husbandry

Cattle occupy a unique role in [[History of the world|human history, having been domesticated since at least the early [[neolithic age. Archaeozoological and genetic data indicate that cattle were first domesticated from wild
aurochs The aurochs ( or ; pl. aurochs, or rarely aurochsen, aurochses) (''Bos primigenius''), also known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Asia, Europe, and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle. T ...
(''Bos primigenius'') approximately 10,500 years ago. There were two major areas of domestication: one in the [[Near East (specifically [[Central Anatolia Region|central Anatolia, the [[Levant and [[Western Iran), giving rise to the taurine line, and a second in the area that is now Pakistan, resulting in the indicine line. Modern mitochondrial DNA variation indicates the taurine line may have arisen from as few as 80
aurochs The aurochs ( or ; pl. aurochs, or rarely aurochsen, aurochses) (''Bos primigenius''), also known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Asia, Europe, and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle. T ...
tamed in the upper reaches of [[Mesopotamia near the villages of [[Çayönü Tepesi in what is now southeastern Turkey and [[Dja'de el-Mughara in what is now northern [[Iraq. Although European cattle are largely descended from the taurine lineage, gene flow from African cattle (partially of indicine origin) contributed substantial genomic components to both southern European cattle breeds and their New World descendants. A study on 134 breeds showed that modern taurine cattle originated from Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and Europe. Some researchers have suggested that African taurine cattle are derived from a third independent domestication from North African aurochsen.


Usage as money

As early as 9000 BC both grain and cattle were used as money or as ''barter'' (the ''[[Ohalo|first grain remains'' found, considered to be evidence of pre-agricultural practice date to 17,000 BC). Some evidence also exists to suggest that other animals, such as [[camels and [[goats, may have been used as currency in some parts of the world. One of the advantages of using cattle as currency is that it allows the seller to set a fixed price. It even created the standard pricing. For example, two chickens were traded for one cow as cows were deemed to be more valuable than chickens.


Modern husbandry

Cattle are often raised by allowing herds to [[Grass fed beef|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 [[cattle feeding|feeding, cleaning and [[milking. Many routine husbandry practices involve [[ear tagging, [[Livestock dehorning|dehorning, loading, [[Veterinary surgery|medical operations, vaccinations and [[Cloven hoof|hoof care, as well as training for agricultural shows and preparations. Also, some [[Cultural identity|cultural differences occur in working with cattle; the cattle husbandry of [[Fula people|Fulani men rests on [[Ethology|behavioural techniques, whereas in Europe, cattle are controlled primarily by physical means, such as [[fences. Breeders use cattle husbandry to reduce [[Mycobacterium bovis|''M. bovis'' infection susceptibility by [[selective breeding and maintaining herd health to avoid concurrent disease. Cattle are farmed for beef, veal, dairy, and leather. They are less commonly used for [[conservation grazing, or simply to maintain grassland for wildlife, such as 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 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 [[Jersey cattle|Jersey dairy breed. In Portugal, Spain, [[southern France and some Latin American countries, bulls are used in the activity of [[bullfighting; ''[[Jallikattu'' 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 [[bull riding are seen as part of a [[rodeo, especially in North America. [[Bull-leaping, a central ritual in [[Bronze Age [[Minoan civilization|Minoan culture (see [[Sacred Bull), still exists in southwestern France. In modern times, cattle are also entered into [[Cattle judging|agricultural competitions. 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 [[land use, 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 Nonetheless, cattle and other forms of domesticated animals can sometimes help to use plant resources in areas not easily amenable to other forms of agriculture. Bulls are sometimes used as [[guard dog|guard animals.


Sleep

The average sleep time of a domestic cow is about 4 hours a day. Cattle do have a [[stay apparatus, but do not sleep standing up; they lie down to sleep deeply. In spite of the [[urban legend, cows cannot be tipped over by people pushing on them.


Economy

The meat of adult cattle is known as
beef Beef is the culinary name for meat from cattle, particularly skeletal muscle. Humans have been eating beef since prehistoric times. Beef is a source of protein and nutrients. Most beef can be used as is by merely cutting into certain parts, su ...
, and that of
calves Calves is a hamlet in Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal. It is divided between the parishes of Argivai and Beiriz and in the 2001 census it had 138 inhabitants. Tapetes de Beiriz The factory of ("Beiriz Carpets") is also located there. The operation ...
is
veal Veal is the meat of calves, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed; however, most veal comes from young males of dairy breeds which are not used for breeding. Generally, veal is mo ...
. Other animal parts are also used as food products, including blood, [[liver, [[kidney, [[heart and
oxtail Oxtail (occasionally spelled ox tail or ox-tail) is the culinary name for the tail of cattle. Formerly, it referred only to the tail of an ox. An oxtail typically weighs and is skinned and cut into short lengths for sale. Description Oxtail is ...
. Cattle also produce
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
, and
dairy cattle Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are female cattle bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species ''Bos taurus''. Historically, there was little distinct ...
are specifically bred to produce the large quantities of milk processed and sold for human consumption. Cattle today are the basis of a multibillion-dollar industry worldwide. The [[international trade in beef for 2000 was over $30 billion and represented only 23% of world beef production. Approximately 300 million cattle, including dairy cattle, are slaughtered each year for food. 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 hides, used for leather to make shoes, [[couches and clothing, are another widespread product. Cattle remain broadly used as draft animals in many [[Developing country|developing countries, such as India. Cattle are also used in some sporting games, including [[rodeo and [[bullfighting.


Cattle meat production

Source: Helgi Library,| Cattle Meat Production | 12 February 2014 World Bank, FAOSTAT About half the world's meat comes from cattle.


Dairy

Certain breeds of cattle, such as the [[Holstein-Friesian, are used to produce
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
, which can be processed into dairy products such as milk, [[cheese or [[yogurt. Dairy cattle are usually kept on specialized dairy farms designed for milk production. Most cows are milked twice per day, with milk processed at a dairy, which may be onsite at the farm or the milk may be shipped to a dairy plant for eventual sale of a dairy product. Lactation is induced in heifers and spayed cows by a combination of physical and psychological stimulation, by drugs, or by a combination of those methods. For mother cows to continue producing milk, they give birth to one calf per year. If the calf is male, it generally is slaughtered at a young age to produce
veal Veal is the meat of calves, in contrast to the beef from older cattle. Veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed; however, most veal comes from young males of dairy breeds which are not used for breeding. Generally, veal is mo ...
. They will continue to produce milk until three weeks before birth. Over the last fifty years, dairy farming has become more intensive to increase the yield of milk produced by each cow. The [[Holstein-Friesian is the breed of dairy cow most common in the UK, Europe and the United States. It has been bred selectively to produce the highest yields of milk of any cow. Around 22 litres per day is average in the UK.


Hides

Most cattle are not kept solely for hides, which are usually a by-product of beef production. Hides are most commonly used for leather, which can be made into a variety of product, including shoes. In 2012 India was the world's largest producer of cattle hides.


Feral cattle

[[Feral organism|Feral cattle are defined as being 'cattle that are not domesticated or cultivated'. Populations of feral cattle are known to come from and exist in: [[Australia, [[United States of America, [[Colombia, [[Argentina, [[Spain, [[France and many islands, including [[New Guinea, [[Hawaiian Islands|Hawaii, [[Galapagos, [[Juan Fernández Islands, [[Hispaniola ([[Dominican Republic and [[Haiti), [[Tristan da Cunha and [[Île Amsterdam, two islands of [[Kuchinoshima and Kazura Island next to [[Naru Island (Japan)|Naru Island in [[Japan. [[Chillingham cattle is sometimes regarded as a feral breed. [[Aleutian wild cattles can be found on [[Aleutian Islands. The "Kinmen cattle" which is dominantly found on [[Kinmen Island, [[Taiwan is mostly domesticated while smaller portion of the population is believed to live in the wild due to accidental releases. Other notable examples include cattle in the vicinity of Hong Kong (in the [[Shing Mun Country Park, among [[Sai Kung District and [[Lantau Island and on [[Grass Island, Hong Kong|Grass Island), and semi-feral animals in [[Yangmingshan, Taiwan.


Environmental impact

. [[Gut flora in cattle include [[methanogens that [[methanogenesis|produce methane as a byproduct of [[enteric fermentation, which cattle belch out. The same volume of [[atmospheric methane has a higher [[global warming potential than [[Carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere|atmospheric carbon dioxide. See Table 8.7. Methane belching from cattle can be reduced with genetic selection, immunization, rumen defaunation, diet modification, decreased antibiotic use, and grazing management, among others. A report from the
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it|Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency of ...
(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 [[IPCC estimates that cattle and other livestock emit about 80 to 93 Megatonnes of methane per year, accounting for an estimated 37% of anthropogenic methane emissions, and additional methane is produced by anaerobic fermentation of manure in [[manure lagoons and other manure storage structures. The net change in atmospheric methane content was recently about 1 Megatonne per year, and in some recent years there has been no increase in atmospheric methane content. 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. 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. The analysis took into account not only practices in [[feedlots, but also feed production (with less feed needed in more intensive production systems), forage-based cow-calf operations and back-grounding before cattle enter a feedlot (with more beef produced per head of cattle from those sources, in more intensive systems), and beef from animals derived from the dairy industry. The number of American cattle kept in confined feedlot conditions fluctuates. From 1 January 2002 through 1 January 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. Cattle on feed (for slaughter) numbered about 14.121 million on 1 January 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" [[concentrated animal feeding operations (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 "[c]rops, vegetation, forage growth, or post-harvest residues are not sustained in the normal growing season over any portion of the lot or facility." 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 [[Clean Water Act. The regulations involving CAFO permitting have been extensively litigated. 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 . Concerns raised by opponents of CAFOs have included risks of contaminated water due to [[feedlot runoff, soil 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 [[Cost externalizing|externalize costs. An estimated 935,000 cattle operations were operating in the US 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). 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. Another concern is
manure Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a [[stable. Manure is [[organic matter that is used as [[organic fertilizer in [[agriculture. Most manure consists of animal [[feces; other sources inclu ...
, 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 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. Substitution of manure for synthetic fertilizers in crop production can be environmentally significant, as between 43 and 88 [[megajoules of fossil fuel energy would be used per kg of nitrogen in manufacture of synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers. Grazing by cattle at low intensities can create a favourable environment for native herbs and [[forbs by mimicking the native grazers who they displaced; in many world regions, though, cattle are reducing [[biodiversity due to [[overgrazing. 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 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.


Health

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 [[Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, was of concern. Cattle might catch and develop various other diseases, like [[blackleg (disease)|blackleg, [[bluetongue, [[foot rot too. In most states, as cattle health is not only a veterinarian issue, but also a public health issue, [[public health and [[food safety 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 [[tuberculosis-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. [[Cow urine 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 obtained U.S. patents. [[Digital dermatitis is caused by the bacteria from the genus Treponema. It differs from foot rot and can appear under unsanitary conditions such as poor hygiene or inadequate hoof trimming, among other causes. It primarily affects dairy cattle and has been known to lower the quantity of milk produced, however the milk quality remains unaffected. Cattle are also susceptible to [[ringworm caused by the fungus, ''[[Trichophyton verrucosum'', a contagious skin disease which may be transferred to humans exposed to infected cows.


Effect of high stocking density

Stocking density refers to the number of animals within a specified area. When stocking density reaches high levels, the behavioural needs of the animals may not be met. This can negatively influence health, welfare and production performance. The effect of overstocking in cows can have a negative effect on [[Dairy|milk production and [[reproduction rates which are two very important traits for dairy farmers. Overcrowding of cows in barns has been found to reduced feeding, resting and rumination. Although they consume the same amount of dry matter within the span of a day, they consume the food at a much more rapid rate, and this behaviour in cows can lead to further complications. The feeding behaviour of cows during their post-milking period is very important as it has been proven that the longer animals can eat after milking, the longer they will be standing up and therefore causing less contamination to the teat ends. This is necessary to reduce the risk of mastitis as infection has been shown to increase the chances of [[embryonic loss. Sufficient rest is important for dairy cows because it is during this period that their resting blood flow increases up to 50%, this is directly proportionate to milk production. Each additional hour of rest can be seen to translate to 2 to 3.5 more pounds of milk per cow daily. Stocking densities of anything over 120% have been shown to decrease the amount of time cows spend lying down. [[Cortisol is an important stress hormone; its plasma concentrations increase greatly when subjected to high levels of stress.Sjaasted O.V., Howe K., Sand O., (2010) Physiology of Domestic Animals. 3rd edition. Sunderland: Sinaver Association. Inc Increased concentration levels of cortisol have been associated with significant increases in gonadotrophin levels and lowered progestin levels. Reduction of stress is important in the reproductive state of cows as an increase in [[Gonadotropin|gonadotrophin and lowered [[progesterone levels may impinge on the [[Ovulation|ovulatory and [[Luteal phase|lutenization process and to reduce the chances of successful implantation. A high cortisol level will also stimulate the degradation of fats and proteins which may make it difficult for the animal to sustain its pregnancy if implanted successfully.


Animal welfare concerns

[[Animal rights activists have criticized the treatment of cattle, claiming that common practices in cattle husbandry, [[animal slaughter|slaughter and entertainment unnecessarily cause fear, stress, and pain. They advocate for abstaining from the consumption of cattle-related animal products and cattle-based entertainment.


Livestock industry

The following husbandry practices have been criticized by animal welfare and animal rights groups: [[Livestock branding|branding, [[castration, [[Livestock dehorning|dehorning, [[ear tagging, [[Nose ring (animal)|nose ringing, [[Physical restraint|restraint, [[Docking (animal)|tail docking, the use of [[veal|veal crates, and [[cattle prods. There are concerns that the stress and negative health impacts induced by high stocking density such as in [[concentrated animal feeding operations or [[feedlots, auctions, and during transport may be detrimental to their welfare, and has also been criticized. The [[Dairy cattle#Animal welfare|treatment of dairy cows faces additional criticism. To produce milk from
dairy cattle Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are female cattle bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species ''Bos taurus''. Historically, there was little distinct ...
, most calves are separated from their mothers soon after birth and fed milk replacement in order to retain the cows' milk for human consumption. Animal welfare advocates are critical of this practice, stating that this breaks the natural bond between the mother and her calf. The [[Veal#Animal welfare|welfare of veal calves is also a concern. In order to continue [[lactation, dairy cows are bred every year, usually through [[artificial insemination. Because of this, some individuals have posited that dairy production is based on the sexual exploitation of cows. Although the natural life expectancy of cattle could be as much as twenty years, after about five years, a cow's milk production has dropped; at which point most dairy cows are sent to slaughter.


Leather

While leather is often a by-product of slaughter, in some countries, such as India and Bangladesh, cows are raised primarily for their leather. These leather industries often make their cows walk long distances across borders to be killed in neighboring provinces and countries where cattle slaughter is legal. Some cows die along the long journey, and sometimes exhausted animals are abused to keep them moving. These practices have faced backlash from various animal rights groups.


Sport

[[Animal treatment in rodeo is targeted most often at [[bull riding but also [[calf roping and [[steer roping, with the opposition saying that rodeos are unnecessary and cause stress, injury, and death to the animals. In Spain, the [[Running of the bulls#Opposition|Running of the bulls faces opposition due to the stress and injuries incurred by the bulls during the event. [[Bullfighting#Animal welfare|Bullfighting is opposed as a [[blood sport in which bulls are forced to suffer severe stress and death.


Oxen

Oxen (singular ox) are cattle trained as
draft animal A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be pets or draft animals trained to achieve certain tasks, such as guide dogs, assistance dogs, draft horses, or logging elephants ...
s. Often they are adult,
castrated Castration (also known as orchiectomy or orchidectomy) is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which an individual loses use of the testicles: the male gonad. Surgical castration is bilateral orchiectomy (excision of both testicles) ...

castrated
males of larger breeds, although females and bulls are also used in some areas. Usually, an
ox An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals easier to control. Cows (adult females) or bulls (intact m ...

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 machines, [[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
cart A cart or dray (Aus. & NZ) is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people. It is different from the flatbed trolley also known ...
ing, with additional pairs added when more power is required, sometimes up to a total of 20 or more. Oxen can be trained to respond to a [[teamster's signals. These signals are given by verbal commands or by noise (whip cracks). Verbal commands vary according to dialect and local tradition. 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 country|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. About half the world's crop production is thought to depend on land preparation (such as plowing) made possible by animal traction.


Religion, traditions and folklore


Islamic traditions

The cow is mentioned often in the Quran. The second and longest surah of the Quran is named [[Al-Baqara ("The Cow"). Out of the 286 verses of the surah, seven mention cows (Al Baqarah 67–73). The name of the surah derives from this passage in which [[Moses in Islam|Moses orders his people to sacrifice a cow in order to resurrect a man murdered by an unknown person.


Hindu tradition

Cattle are venerated within the [[Hinduism|Hindu religion of India. In the [[Historical Vedic religion|Vedic period they were a symbol of plenty and were frequently slaughtered. In later times they gradually acquired their present status. According to the ''[[Mahabharata'', they are to be treated with the same respect 'as one's mother'. In the middle of the first millennium, the consumption of beef began to be disfavoured by lawgivers. Although there has never been any cow-goddesses or temples dedicated to them, cows appear in numerous stories from the [[Vedas and [[Puranas. 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 (bull)|Nandi. Milk and milk products were used in Vedic rituals. In the postvedic period products of the cow—milk, curd, ghee, but also cow dung and urine ([[gomutra), or the combination of these five ([[panchagavya)—began to assume an increasingly important role in [[ritual purification and expiation. Veneration of the cow has become a symbol of the identity of Hindus as a community, especially since the end of the 19th century. Slaughter of cows (including oxen, bulls and calves) is forbidden by law in several states of the Indian Union. [[McDonald's outlets in India do not serve any beef burgers. In Maharaja [[Ranjit Singh's empire of the early 19th century, the killing of a cow was punishable by death.


Other traditions

[[File:Norske Folkelivsbilleder 08 - En Aften ved Sæteren (Knud Bergslien).jpg|upright=0.9| An idealized depiction of girl cow herders in 19th-century Norway by [[Knud Bergslien * The Evangelist [[St. Luke is depicted as an ox in [[Christian art. * In [[Judaism, as described in , 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). * The constellation [[Taurus (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 18 February 1930, [[Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane and also the first cow to be milked in an airplane. * The first known law requiring branding in North America was enacted on 5 February 1644, by Connecticut. It said that all cattle and pigs had to have a registered brand or earmark by 1 May 1644. * The is a traditional toy from the [[Aizu region of Japan that is thought to ward off illness. * 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 [[Fula people|Fulani of West Africa are the world's largest nomadic cattle-herders. * The [[Maasai people|Maasai tribe of East Africa traditionally believe their god [[Engai entitled them to divine rights to the ownership of all cattle on earth.Patrick Mendis 2007. Glocalization: The Human Side of Globalization.. p160


In heraldry

Cattle are typically represented in [[heraldry by the bull. File:Coat of arms of the Azores.svg|[[Coat of arms of the Azores|Arms of the Azores File:Mecklenburg Arms.svg|Arms of [[Mecklenburg region, Germany File:Turin coat of arms.svg|Arms of [[Turin, Italy File:Coat of arms of Kaunas.svg|Arms of [[Kaunas, Lithuania File:POL Bielsk Podlaski COA.svg|Arms of [[Bielsk Podlaski, Poland File:POL COA Ciołek.svg|[[Ciołek coat of arms|Arms of Ciołek, Poland File:POL Turek COA PioM.svg|Arms of [[Turek, Poland


Population

For 2013, the FAO estimated global cattle numbers at 1.47 billion.FAOSTAT. [Agricultural statistics database] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. Regionally, the FAO estimate for 2013 includes: Asia 497 million; South America 350 million; Africa 307 million; Europe 122 million; North America 102 million; Central America 47 million; Oceania 40 million; and Caribbean 9 million.


Gallery

Didactic model of Bovine-FMVZ USP-23.jpeg|[[Educational toy|Didactic model of Bovine Modelo didático bovino (fundo branco).jpg|Bovine anatomical model Didactic model of a bovine muscular system-FMVZ USP-24.jpeg|Didactic model of a bovine muscular system


See also

* [[1966 anti-cow slaughter agitation * [[:Category:Individual cattle * [[Cattle Health Initiative|British Cattle Health Initiative * [[Bull-baiting * [[Bullocky * [[Bulls and Cows (game) * [[Cattle age determination * [[Cowboy * [[Intensive animal farming * [[List of cattle breeds * [[List of domesticated animals


References


Further reading

* Bhattacharya, S. 2003
Cattle ownership makes it a man's world
''Newscientist.com''. Retrieved 26 December 2006. * Cattle Today (CT). 2006. Website
Breeds of cattle
''Cattle Today''. Retrieved 26 December 2006 * Clay, J. 2004. ''World Agriculture and the Environment: A Commodity-by-Commodity Guide to Impacts and Practices''. Washington, DC: Island Press. . * Clutton-Brock, J. 1999. ''A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. . * – A visual textbook containing History/Origin, Phenotype & Statistics of 45 breeds. * Huffman, B. 2006
''The ultimate ungulate page''
''UltimateUngulate.com''. Retrieved 26 December 2006. * Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). 2005
''Bos taurus''
''Global Invasive Species Database''. * Johns, Catherine. 2011 ''Cattle: History, Myth, Art''. London: The British Museum Press. 978-0-7141-5084-0 * Nowak, R.M. and Paradiso, J.L. 1983. ''Walker's Mammals of the World''. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. * Oklahoma State University (OSU). 2006
''Breeds of Cattle''
Retrieved 5 January 2007. * Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 2004

''PBS Nature''. Retrieved 5 January 2007. * Rath, S. 1998. ''The Complete Cow''. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press. . * Raudiansky, S. 1992. ''The Covenant of the Wild''. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. . * Spectrum Commodities (SC). 2006

''Spectrumcommodities.com''. Retrieved 5 January 2007. * Voelker, W. 1986. ''The Natural History of Living Mammals''. Medford, NJ: Plexus Publishing, Inc. . * Yogananda, P. 1946. ''The Autobiography of a Yogi''. Los Angeles: Self Realization Fellowship. . {{Authority control [[Category:Cattle| [[Category:Mammals described in 1758 [[Category:Herbivorous mammals [[Category:Articles containing video clips [[Category:Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus [[Category:Cosmopolitan vertebrates [[Category:Cosmopolitan mammals