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{{Other uses}}{{Redirect|Cow}}{{Pp-semi|small=yes}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{Use dmy dates|date=April 2019}}{{speciesbox| name = Cattle| image = CH cow 2 cropped.jpg| image_upright = 1.1| image_caption = A Swiss Braunvieh cow wearing a cowbell| status = DOM| genus = Bos| species = taurus
Carl Linnaeus>Linnaeus, 1758| subdivision_ranks = Subspecies| subdivision = }}Cattle—colloquially cows—are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos taurus.Cattle are commonly raised as livestock for meat (beef or veal, see beef cattle), for milk (see dairy cattle), and for hides, which are used to make leather. They are used as riding animals and draft animals (oxen or (wikt:bullock|bullocks), which pull carts, plows and other implements). Another product of cattle is dung, which can be used to create manure or fuel. In some regions, such as parts of India, cattle have significant religious meaning. Cattle, mostly small breeds such as the Miniature Zebu, are also kept as pets.Around 10,500 years ago, cattle were domesticated from as few as 80 progenitors in central Anatolia, the Levant and Western Iran.JOURNAL, Bollongino, R., Burger, J., Powell, A., Mashkour, M., Vigne, J.-D., Thomas, M. G., 2012, Modern taurine cattle descended from small number of Near-Eastern founders, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 29, 9, 2101–2104,weblink 10.1093/molbev/mss092, 22422765, live,weblink" title="">weblink 31 March 2012, Op. cit. in NEWS, Wilkins, Alasdair, io9,weblink DNA reveals that cows were almost impossible to domesticate, 28 March 2012, 2 April 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 May 2012, According to an estimate from 2011, there are 1.4 billion cattle in the world.JOURNAL,weblink Counting Chickens, The Economist, 27 July 2011, 6 July 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 July 2016, In 2009, cattle became one of the first livestock animals to have a fully mapped genome.NEWS,weblink Scientists Unravel Genome of the Cow, The Washington Post, 23 April 2009, 23 April 2009, David, Brown, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, and cattle raiding consequently one of the earliest forms of theft.


{{See also|Bos|Bovinae}}File:Zubron2.jpg|thumb|Żubroń, a wisent and cattle hybrid]]Cattle were originally identified as three separate species: Bos taurus, the European or "taurine" cattle (including similar types from Africa and Asia); Bos indicus, the zebu; and the extinct Bos primigenius, the aurochs. The aurochs is ancestral to both zebu and taurine cattle.JOURNAL,weblink On the origin of cattle: How aurochs became domestic and colonized the world, Evolutionary Anthropology, 19, 148–157, 3 December 2017, live,weblink 4 December 2017, January 2010, Ajmone-Marsan, Paolo, Garcia, J.F, Lenstra, Johannes, 10.1002/evan.20267, These have been reclassified as one species, Bos taurus, with three subspecies: Bos taurus primigenius, Bos taurus indicus, and Bos taurus taurus.{{MSW3|id=14200687|heading=Bos taurus}}{{ITIS|ID=183838|taxon=Bos taurus|accessdate=9 May 2015}}Complicating the matter is the ability of cattle to interbreed with other closely related species. Hybrid individuals and even breeds exist, not only between taurine cattle and zebu (such as the sanga cattle, Bos taurus africanus), but also between one or both of these and some other members of the genus Bos{{spaced ndash}}yaks (the dzo or yattle"Yattle What?" {{webarchive|url= |date=1 July 2017 }}, The Washington Post, 11 August 2007), banteng, and gaur. Hybrids such as the beefalo breed can even occur between taurine cattle and either species of bison, leading some authors to consider them part of the genus Bos, as well.Groves, C. P., 1981. Systematic relationships in the Bovini (Artiodactyla, Bovidae). Zeitschrift für Zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung, 4:264–278., quoted in {{MSW3 Artiodactyla|id=14200668|heading= Genus Bison}} The hybrid origin of some types may not be obvious – for example, genetic testing of the Dwarf Lulu breed, the only taurine-type cattle in Nepal, found them to be a mix of taurine cattle, zebu, and yak.JOURNAL, Takeda, Kumiko, Mitochondrial DNA analysis of Nepalese domestic dwarf cattle Lulu, Animal Science Journal, 75, 2, 103–110, April 2004, 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2004.00163.x, etal, However, cattle cannot be successfully hybridized with more distantly related bovines such as water buffalo or African buffalo.The aurochs originally ranged throughout Europe, North Africa, and much of Asia. In historical times, its range became restricted to Europe, and the last known individual died in Mazovia, Poland, in about 1627.Van Vuure, C.T. 2003. De Oeros – Het spoor terug (in Dutch), Cis van Vuure, Wageningen University and Research Centrum: quoted by The Extinction Website: Bos primigenius primigenius. {{webarchive |url= |date=20 April 2009 }} Breeders have attempted to recreate cattle of similar appearance to aurochs by crossing traditional types of domesticated cattle, creating the Heck cattle breed.


The noun cattle (which is treated as a plural and has no singular) encompasses both sexes. The singular, cow, technically means the female, the male being bull. The plural form cows is sometimes used colloquially to refer to both sexes collectively, as e.g. in a herd, but that usage can be misleading as the speaker's intent may indeed be just the females. The bovine species per se is clearly dimorphic.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, especially livestock of any kind, as opposed to real property (the land, which also included wild or small free-roaming animals such as chickens—they were sold as part of the land).WEB,weblink Cattle, 13 June 2007, Harper, Douglas, 2001, Online Etymological Dictionary, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2007, ; "cattle, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 6 December 2014. The word is a variant of chattel (a unit of personal property) and closely related to capital in the economic sense.WEB,weblink Chattel, 13 June 2007, Harper, Douglas, 2001, Online Etymological Dictionary, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2007, ; WEB,weblink Capital, 13 June 2007, Harper, Douglas, 2001, Online Etymological Dictionary, live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2007, ; "cattle, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 6 December 2014. The term replaced earlier Old English 'cattle, property', which survives today as fee (cf. , , ).The word "cow" came via Anglo-Saxon (plural cȳ), from Common Indo-European {{PIE|gʷōus}} (genitive {{PIE|gʷowés}}) = "a bovine animal", compare , , ."cow, n.1." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 6 December 2014. 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 singular is coo or (:sco:Cou|cou), and the plural is "kye".In older English sources such as the King James Version of the Bible, "cattle" refers to livestock, as opposed to "deer" which refers to wildlife. "Wild cattle" may refer to feral cattle or to undomesticated species of the genus Bos. Today, when used without any other qualifier, the modern meaning of "cattle" is usually restricted to domesticated bovines."cattle, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 6 December 2014


{{Wiktionary|cattle|cow}}File:The Ongole Bull of Moses.jpg|thumb|An Ongole bull]]File:Hereford bull large.jpg|thumb|A Hereford bull]]In general, the same words are used in different parts of the world, but with minor differences in the definitions. The terminology described here contrasts the differences in definition between the United Kingdom and other British-influenced parts of the world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States.WEB,weblink Cattle Terminology,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 April 2008,
  • {{anchor|bull}}An "intact" (i.e., not castrated) adult male is called a bull. A wild, young, unmarked bull is known as a micky in Australia.Coupe, Sheena (ed.), Frontier Country, Vol. 1, Weldon Russell Publishing, Willoughby, 1989, {{ISBN|1-875202-01-3}} An unbranded bovine of either sex is called a maverick in the US and Canada.
  • An adult female that has had a calf (or two, depending on regional usage) is a cow.
  • {{anchor|heifer}}A young female before she has had a calf of her ownWEB,weblink Definition of heifer, 29 November 2006, Merriam-Webster, live,weblink" title="">weblink 22 August 2007, and is under three years of age is called a (:wikt:heifer|heifer) ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|h|É›|f|É™r}} {{respell|HEF|É™r}}).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 until they are weaned, then weaners until they are a year old in some areas; in other areas, particularly with male beef cattle, they may be known as feeder calves or simply feeders. After that, they are referred to as yearlings or stirksMcIntosh, E., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, Clarendon Press, 1967 if between one and two years of age.WEB, Warren, Andrea, Pioneer Girl: Growing Up on the Prairie, Lexile,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 5 February 2004, 29 November 2006,
  • A castrated male is called a steer in the United States; older steers are often called bullocks in other parts of the world,Delbridge, A, et al., Macquarie Dictionary, The Book Printer, Australia, 1991 but in North America this term refers to a young bull. Piker bullocks are micky bulls (uncastrated young male bulls) that were caught, castrated and then later lost. In Australia, the term Japanese ox is used for grain-fed steers in the weight range of 500 to 650 kg that are destined for the Japanese meat trade.Meat & Livestock Australia, Feedback, June/July 2008 In North America, draft cattle under four years old are called working steers. Improper or late castration on a bull results in it becoming a coarse steer known as a stag in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.WEB,weblink Sure Ways to Lose Money on Your Cattle,, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2014, 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 (plural oxen); ox may also be used to refer to some carcass products from any adult cattle, such as ox-hide, ox-blood, oxtail, or ox-liver.
  • A springer is a cow or heifer close to calving.FAQs: What is meant by springer cows and heifers? {{webarchive|url= |date=7 July 2010 }}, Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 6 September 2005. Retrieved: 12 August 2010.
  • In all cattle species, a female twin of a bull usually becomes an infertile partial intersex, and is called a freemartin.
  • Neat (horned oxen, from which neatsfoot oil is derived), beef (young ox) and beefing (young animal fit for slaughtering) are obsolete terms, although poll, pollard 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. 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.UK Daily Mirror article 5 Jan 2015 {{webarchive|url= |date=7 November 2016 }} Retrieved on 6 November 2016
  • Cattle bred specifically for milk production are called milking or dairy cattle; a cow kept to provide milk for one family may be called a house cow or milker. 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, hippopotamuses, camels, elk and elephants.
{{See also|List of animal names}}

Singular terminology issue

"Cattle" can only be used in the plural and not in the singular: it is a plurale tantum.{{OED|Cattle (5, 6)}} 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 working cattle, especially adult castrated males. The term is also incorporated into the names of other species, such as the musk ox and "grunting ox" (yak), and is used in some areas to describe certain cattle products such as ox-hide and oxtail.{{OED|Ox (1, 2)}}File:Brahman Baby.jpg|thumb|A Brahman calf]]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 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 oxen 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,WEB,weblink Merriam Webster Online,, 31 August 2012, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 October 2013, WEB,weblink Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford Dictionaries, 12 September 2018, whereas Collins and the OED do not.Colloquially, more general nonspecific 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.WEB,weblink "Critter," definition 2,, 15 October 2013, 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.

Other terminology

{{listen |filename=Mudchute cow 1.ogg |title=A cow's moo }}Cattle raised for human consumption are called beef cattle. Within the beef cattle industry in parts of the United States, the term beef (plural beeves) is still used in its archaic sense to refer to an animal of either sex. Cows of certain breeds that are kept for the milk they give are called dairy cows or milking cows (formerly milch cows). Most young male offspring of dairy cows are sold for veal, and may be referred to as veal calves.The term dogies is used to describe orphaned calves in the context of ranch work in the American West, as in "Keep them dogies moving".WEB,weblink Keep Those Dogies Movin!, 28 June 2008, Beales, Terry, 1999, Texas Animal Health Commission News Release,weblink" title="">weblink 2 June 2008, 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", extracted from the feet and legs of cattle), and "beefing" (young animal fit for slaughter).An 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 makes a sound similar to a bull's territorial call.WEB,weblink$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/faq10691, Bawling in Cattle, 5 May 2015,weblink" title="">weblink$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/faq10691, 26 March 2015,



(File:Скелет домашней коровы.jpg|alt=Bones are mounted on a black board|thumb|Displayed skeleton of a domestic cow)Cattle are large quadrupedal ungulate mammals with cloven hooves. Most breeds have horns, which can be as large as the Texas Longhorn or small like a scur. Careful genetic selection has allowed polled (hornless) cattle to become widespread.(File:Modelo didatico bovino correto.jpg|thumb|right|Anatomy model of a cow)

Digestive system

Cattle are ruminants, meaning their digestive system is highly specialized to allow the use of poorly digestible plants as food. Cattle have one stomach with four compartments, the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum, with the rumen being the largest compartment.The reticulum, the smallest compartment, is known as the "honeycomb". The omasum's main function is to absorb water and nutrients from the digestible feed. The omasum is known as the "many plies". The abomasum is like the human stomach; this is why it is known as the "true stomach".Cattle are known for 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 microorganisms in the rumen. These microbes are primarily responsible for decomposing cellulose and other carbohydrates into volatile fatty acids cattle use as their primary metabolic 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 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 between {{convert|25|to|45|kg|lb|0|abbr=on}}. Adult size and weight vary significantly among breeds and sex. Steers are generally killed before reaching {{convert|750|kg|lb|-1|abbr=on}}. Breeding stock may be allowed a longer lifespan, occasionally living as long as 25 years. The oldest recorded cow, Big Bertha, died at the age of 48 in 1993.


(File:Bovine reproductive system.jpg|thumb|upright=0.65|Reproductive system of a bovine female)(File:Ox testis- FMVZ USP-14.jpg|thumb|upright=0.65|Ox testis)On farms it is very common to use artificial insemination (AI), a medically assisted reproduction technique consisting of the artificial deposition of semen in the female's genital tract.BOOK, Richard M. Hopper, Bovine Reproduction,weblink 18 August 2014, Wiley, 978-1-118-47085-5, 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 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".BOOK, The Family Cow Handbook, Hasheider, Phillip, 978-0-7603-4067-7, 25 June 2011, The front ones are referred to as fore quarters and the rear ones rear quarters.WEB,weblink Udder Structure & Disease, 6 May 2015, UVM, dead,weblink 18 May 2015, {{further|Bull#Reproductive anatomy}}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 {{convert|28|cm|in|0}}; that of a fully adult bull may be over {{convert|40|cm|in|0}}.WEB,weblink G Jayawardhana (2006), Testicle Size – A Fertility Indicator in Bulls, Australian Government Agnote K44., 6 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 November 2012, WEB,weblink A P Carter, P D P Wood and Penelope A Wright (1980), Association between scrotal circumference, live weight and sperm output in cattle, Journal of Reproductive Fertility, 59, pp. 447–451., 6 August 2012, {{Dead link|date=May 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}Bulls have 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.BOOK, Sarkar, A., Sexual Behaviour In Animals, Discovery Publishing House, 2003,weblink 978-81-7141-746-9, BOOK, William O. Reece, Functional Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals,weblink 2009, John Wiley & Sons, 978-0-8138-1451-3, BOOK, James R. Gillespie, Frank Flanders, Modern Livestock & Poultry Production,weblink 2009, Cengage Learning, 978-1-4283-1808-3, Induced ovulation can be manipulated to produce farming benefits. For example, to synchronise ovulation of the cattle to benefit dairy farming.


The weight of adult cattle varies, depending on the breed. Smaller kinds, such as Dexter and Jersey adults, range between {{convert|272|to|454|kg|lb|abbr=on|-1}}. Large Continental breeds, such as Charolais, Marchigiana, Belgian Blue and Chianina, adults range from {{convert|635|to|1134|kg|lb|abbr=on}}. British breeds, such as Hereford, Angus, and Shorthorn, mature between {{convert|454|to|907|kg|lb|abbr=on|-1}}, occasionally higher, particularly with Angus and Hereford.WEB,weblink Hereford cattle weight, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 January 2015, Bulls are larger than cows of the same breed by up to a few hundred kilograms. Chianina bulls can weigh up to {{convert|1500|kg|lb|abbr=on}}; British bulls, such as Angus and Hereford, can weigh as little as {{convert|907|kg|lb|abbr=on}} to as much as {{convert|1361|kg|lb|abbr=on}}.{{citation needed|date=December 2014}}The world record for the heaviest bull was {{convert|1740|kg|lb|-1|abbr=on}}, 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 cross weighing in at {{convert|2140|kg|lb|-1|abbr=on}} in 1910.McWhirter, Norris & Ross, Guinness Book of Records, Redwood Press, Trowbridge, 1968In 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.Kenneth H. Mathews – 1999 – U.S. Beef Industry: Cattle Cycles, Price Spreads, and Packer concentration. Page 6 Before 1790 beef cattle averaged only {{convert|350|lb|order=flip|abbr=on}} net; and thereafter weights climbed steadily.American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, Robert E. Gallman, John Joseph Wallis. 2007 p. 248WEB,weblink Cattle increasing in size, 5 May 2015, Beef Magazine, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 May 2015, February 2009,


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.JOURNAL, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 23, 4, 1989, 331–340, Characteristics of spatial memory in cattle, Bailey, D.W., Rittenhouse, L.R., Hart, R.H., Richards, R.W, 10.1016/0168-1591(89)90101-9,weblink 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.JOURNAL, Kovalčik, K., Kovalčik, M., 1986, Learning ability and memory testing in cattle of different ages, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 15, 1, 27–29, 10.1016/0168-1591(86)90019-5, 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.BOOK, Mendl, M., Nicol, C.J., Chapter 5: Learning and cognition, 61–63, Jensen, P., 2009, The Ethology of Domestic Animals: An Introductory Text, CABI, Under less artificial testing conditions, young cattle showed they were able to remember the location of feed for at least 48 days.JOURNAL, Ksiksi, T., Laca, E.A., 2002, Cattle do remember locations of preferred food over extended periods, Asian Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 15, 6, 900–904, 10.5713/ajas.2002.900, 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.JOURNAL, Hirata, M., Takeno, N., 2014, Do cattle (Bos taurus) retain an association of a visual cue with a food reward for a year?, Animal Science Journal, 85, 6, 729–734, 10.1111/asj.12210, 24798642, Calves are capable of discrimination learningJOURNAL, Schaeffer, R.G., Sikes, J.D., Discrimination learning in dairy calves, Journal of Dairy Science, 1971, 54, 6, 893–896, 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(71)85937-4, 5141440, and adult cattle compare favourably with small mammals in their learning ability in the Closed-field Test.JOURNAL, Kilgour, R., Use of the Hebb–Williams closed-field test to study the learning ability of Jersey cows, Animal Behaviour, 1981, 29, 3, 850–860, 10.1016/s0003-3472(81)80020-6, 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.JOURNAL, de Passille, A.M., Rushen, J., Ladewig, J., Petherick, C., Dairy calves' discrimination of people based on previous handling, 1996, 74, 5, 969–974, Journal of Animal Science, 10.2527/1996.745969x, 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.BOOK, Mendl, M., Nicol, C.J., Chapter 5: Learning and cognition, 144, Jensen, P., 2009, The Ethology of Domestic Animals: An Introductory Text, CABI, In audio play-back studies, calves prefer their own mother's vocalizations compared to the vocalizations of an unfamiliar mother.JOURNAL, Barfield, C.H., Tang‐Martinez, Z., Trainer, J.M., 1994, Domestic calves (Bos taurus) recognize their own mothers by auditory cues, Ethology, 97, 4, 257–264, 10.1111/j.1439-0310.1994.tb01045.x, In laboratory studies using images, cattle can discriminate between images of the heads of cattle and other animal species.BOOK, Coulon, M., Deputte, B.L., Heyman, Y., Delatouche, L., Richard, C., Baudoin, C., 2007, Social cognition and welfare in cattle: capacities of visual species discrimination, 14 èmes Recontres autour des recherches sur les ruminants, Paris, les 5 et 6 Décembre 2007, 297–300, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), fr, They are also able to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics. Furthermore, they are able to categorize images as familiar and unfamiliar individuals.JOURNAL, Coulon, M., Baudoin, C., Heyman, Y., Deputte, B.L., 2011, Cattle discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics by using only head visual cues, Animal Cognition, 14, 2, 279–290, 10.1007/s10071-010-0361-6, 21132446, When mixed with other individuals, 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.JOURNAL, Coulon, M., Baudoin, C., Abdi, H., Heyman, Y., Deputte, B.L., 2010, Social behavior and kin discrimination in a mixed group of cloned and non cloned heifers (Bos taurus), Theriogenology, 74, 9, 1596–1603, 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2010.06.031, 20708240, 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.JOURNAL, Hagen, K., Broom, D.M., 2003, Cattle discriminate between individual familiar herd members in a learning experiment., Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 82, 1, 13–28, 10.1016/s0168-1591(03)00053-4, By using 2-dimensional images of the heads of one cow (face, profiles, {{frac|3|4}} 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.JOURNAL, Coulon, M., Deputte, B.L., Heyman, Y., Baudoin, C., 2009, Individual recognition in domestic cattle (Bos taurus): evidence from 2D-images of heads from different breeds, PLOS ONE, 4, 2, 4441, 10.1371/journal.pone.0004441, 19212439, 2636880, 2009PLoSO...4.4441C, Cattle use visual/brain lateralisation in their visual scanning of novel and familiar stimuli.JOURNAL, Phillips, C.J.C., Oevermans, H., Syrett, K.L., Jespersen, A.Y., Pearce, G.P., 2015, Lateralization of behavior in dairy cows in response to conspecifics and novel persons, Journal of Dairy Science, 98, 4, 2389–2400, 10.3168/jds.2014-8648, 25648820,weblink 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.JOURNAL, Robins, A., Phillips, C., 2010, Lateralised visual processing in domestic cattle herds responding to novel and familiar stimuli, Laterality, 15, 5, 514–534, 10.1080/13576500903049324, 19629847,

Temperament and emotions

File:CowPosture 20150612.jpg|thumb|right|Ear postures of cows are studied as indicators of their emotional state and overall animal welfareanimal welfareIn 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".JOURNAL, Brand, B., Hadlich, F., Brandt, B., Schauer, N., Graunke, K.L., Langbein, J., ... and Schwerin, M., 2015, Temperament type specific metabolite profiles of the prefrontal cortex and serum in cattle., 10.1371/journal.pone.0125044, PLOS ONE, 10, 4, e0125044, 25927228, 4416037, Generally, cattle temperament is assumed to be multidimensional. Five underlying categories of temperament traits have been proposed:JOURNAL, Réale, D., Reader, S.M., Sol, D., McDougall, P.T., Dingemanse, N.J., Integrating animal temperament within ecology and evolution, Biol. Rev. Camb. Philos. Soc., 2007, 82, 2, 291–318, 10.1111/j.1469-185x.2007.00010.x, 17437562, 1874/25732,
  • shyness-boldness
  • exploration-avoidance
  • activity
  • 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.JOURNAL, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2004, Emotional reactions to learning in cattle, 85, 3–4, 203–213, Hagen, K., Broom, D.,weblink 10.1016/j.applanim.2003.11.007, 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.JOURNAL, Daros, R.R., Costa, J.H., von Keyserlingk, M.A., Hötzel, M.J., Weary, D.M., 2014, Separation from the dam causes negative judgement bias in dairy calves, PLOS ONE, 9, 5, e98429, 10.1371/journal.pone.0098429, 24848635, 4029834, 2014PLoSO...998429D, 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.JOURNAL, Neave, H.W., Daros, R.R., Costa, J.H.C., von Keyserlingk, M.A.G., Weary, D.M., 2013, Pain and pessimism: Dairy calves exhibit negative judgement bias following hot-iron disbudding, PLOS ONE, 8, 12, e80556, 10.1371/journal.pone.0080556, 24324609, 3851165, 2013PLoSO...880556N, 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 gregarious and even short-term isolation is considered to cause severe psychological stress. When 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, vocalisations 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.JOURNAL, Boissy, A., Le Neindre, P., 1997, Behavioral, cardiac and cortisol responses to brief peer separation and reunion in cattle, Physiology & Behavior, 61, 5, 693–699, 10.1016/s0031-9384(96)00521-5, Mirrors have been used to reduce stress in isolated cattle.JOURNAL, Kay, R., Hall, C., 2009, The use of a mirror reduces isolation stress in horses being transported by trailer., Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 116, 2, 237–243, 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.08.013,weblink


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.JOURNAL, Rutter, S.M., 2006, Diet preference for grass and legumes in free-ranging domestic sheep and cattle: current theory and future application., Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 97, 1, 17–35, 10.1016/j.applanim.2005.11.016,


Vision is the dominant sense in cattle and they obtain almost 50% of their information visually.JOURNAL, Adamczyk, K., Górecka-Bruzda, A., Nowicki, J., Gumułka, M., Molik, E., Schwarz, T., Klocek, C., Perception of environment in farm animals – A review, Annals of Animal Science, 15, 3, 565–589, 2015, 10.1515/aoas-2015-0031, 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.BOOK, Phillips, C., 2008, Cattle Behaviour and Welfare., John Wiley and Sons., This means they have a blind spot directly behind them. Cattle have good visual acuity, but compared to humans, their visual accommodation is poor.{{clarify|date=August 2019}}Cattle have two kinds of color receptors in the cone cells of their retinas. This means that cattle are dichromatic, as are most other non-primate land mammals.JOURNAL, Jacobs, G.H., Deegan, J.F., Neitz, J., 1998, Photopigment basis for dichromatic color vision in cows, goats and sheep, Vis. Neurosci., 15, 3, 581–584, 10.1017/s0952523898153154, JOURNAL, Perception of color by cattle and its influence on behavior, 2001, Phillips, C.J.C., Lomas, C.A., Journal of Dairy Science, 84, 4, 807–813, 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(01)74537-7, 11352156, 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.JOURNAL, Phillips, C.J.C., Lomas, C.A., 2001, The perception of color by cattle and its influence on behavior, Journal of Dairy Science, 84, 4, 807–813, 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(01)74537-7, 11352156, 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.WEB,weblink Why Do Bulls Charge When they See Red?, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2015,


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.JOURNAL, Bell, F.R., Sly, J., 1983, The olfactory detection of sodium and lithium salts by sodium deficient cattle., Physiology and Behavior, 31, 3, 307–312, 10.1016/0031-9384(83)90193-2, JOURNAL, Bell, F. R., 1984, Aspects of ingestive behavior in cattle, Journal of Animal Science, 59, 5, 1369–1372, 10.2527/jas1984.5951369x,


Cattle hearing ranges from 23 Hz to 35 kHz. Their frequency of best sensitivity is 8 kHz and they have a lowest threshold of −21 db (re 20 μN/m−2), which means their hearing is more acute than horses (lowest threshold of 7 db).JOURNAL, Heffner, R.S., Heffner, H.E., 1983, Hearing in large mammals: Horses (Equus caballus) and cattle (Bos taurus), Behavioral Neuroscience, 97, 2, 299–309, 10.1037/0735-7044.97.2.299, 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°).JOURNAL, Heffner, R.S., Heffner, H.E., 1992, Hearing in large mammals: sound-localization acuity in cattle (Bos taurus) and goats (Capra hircus), Journal of Comparative Psychology, 106, 2, 107–113, 10.1037/0735-7036.106.2.107, 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.Vocalisations 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.JOURNAL, Watts, J.M., Stookey, J.M., 2000, Vocal behaviour in cattle: the animal's commentary on its biological processes and welfare, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 67, 1, 15–33, 10.1016/S0168-1591(99)00108-2,

Olfaction and gustation

(File:New born Frisian red white calf.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.15|Several senses are used in social relationships among cattle)Cattle have a range of odiferous glands over their body including interdigital, 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.BOOK, Keeling, L., Gonyou, H., 2001, The Social Behaviour of Cattle 5., Social Behavior in Farm Animals, Bouissou, M.F., Boissy, A., Le Niendre, P., Vessier, I., CABI Publishing, 113–133, 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.JOURNAL, Boissy, A., Terlouw, C., Le Neindre, P., 1998, Presence of cues from stressed conspecifics increases reactivity to aversive events in cattle: evidence for the existence of alarm substances in urine, Physiology and Behavior, 63, 4, 489–495, 10.1016/s0031-9384(97)00466-6, 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.JOURNAL, Terlouw, E.C., Boissy, A., Blinet, P., 1998, Behavioural responses of cattle to the odours of blood and urine from conspecifics and to the odour of faeces from carnivores., Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 57, 1, 9–21, 10.1016/s0168-1591(97)00122-6, 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.


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.


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.JOURNAL, Begall, S., Cerveny, J., Neef, J., Vojtech, O., Burda, H., 2008, Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting cattle and deer, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 105, 36, 13451–13455, 10.1073/pnas.0803650105, 18725629, 2008PNAS..10513451B, 2533210, 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.JOURNAL, Burda, H., Begalla, S., Červený, J., Neefa, J., Němecd, P., 2009, Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields disrupt magnetic alignment of ruminants, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 106, 14, 5708–5713, 10.1073/pnas.0811194106, 19299504, 2667019, 2009PNAS..106.5708B, However, in 2011, a group of Czech researchers reported their failed attempt to replicate the finding using Google Earth images.JOURNAL, Hert, J, Jelinek, L, Pekarek, L, Pavlicek, A, 2011, No alignment of cattle along geomagnetic field lines found, Journal of Comparative Physiology, 197, 6, 677–682, harv, 10.1007/s00359-011-0628-7, 21318402, 1101.5263, 2011arXiv1101.5263H,


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.JOURNAL, Johnsen, J.F., Ellingsen, K., Grøndahl, A.M., Bøe, K.E., Lidfors, L., Mejdell, C.M., 2015, The effect of physical contact between dairy cows and calves during separation on their post-separation behavioural, Applied Animal Behaviour Science,weblink 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.03.002, 166, 11–19, live,weblink 7 July 2017, Cattle are considered to be "hider" type animals,{{clarify|date=August 2019}} 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.JOURNAL, Edwards, S.A., Broom, D.M., 1982, Behavioural interactions of dairy cows with their newborn calves and the effects of parity, Animal Behaviour, 30, 2, 525–535, 10.1016/s0003-3472(82)80065-1, (File:Calf suckling at a meadow near Vrachesh, Bulgaria.webm|thumb|Video of a calf suckling)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.JOURNAL, Odde, K. G., Kiracofe, G.H., Schalles, R.R., 1985, Suckling behavior in range beef calves, Journal of Animal Science, 61, 2, 307–309, 10.2527/jas1985.612307x, 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.JOURNAL, Reinhardt, V., Reinhardt, A., 1981, Cohesive relationships in a cattle herd (Bos indicus), Behaviour, 77, 3, 121–150, 10.1163/156853981X00194,

Reproductive behavior

(File:Cow giving birth, in Laos (step by step).jpg|alt=Nine sequential photos showing the calf being born|thumb|A cow giving birth)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%.JOURNAL, Reinhardt, C., Reinhardt, A., Reinhardt, V., 1986, Social behaviour and reproductive performance in semi-wild Scottish Highland cattle, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 15, 2, 125–136, 10.1016/0168-1591(86)90058-4,

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 (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,WEB,weblink Signs of Heat (Heat Detection and Timing of Insemination for Cattle), Heat Detection and Timing of Insemination for Cattle (Penn State Extension), live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 November 2016, 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.JOURNAL, Knierim, U., Irrgang, N., Roth, B.A., 2015, To be or not to be horned–consequences in cattle, Livestock Science, 10.1016/j.livsci.2015.05.014, 179, 29–37, 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.JOURNAL, Kondo, S., Sekine, J., Okubo, M., Asahida, Y., 1989, The effect of group size and space allowance on the agonistic and spacing behavior of cattle., Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 24, 2, 127–135, 10.1016/0168-1591(89)90040-3,

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 {{convert|750|kg|adj=on}} steers, bite area reached a maximum of approximately {{convert|170|cm2|sigfig=1|abbr=on}}. 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.JOURNAL, Laca, E.A., Ungar, E.D., Seligman, N., Demment, M.W., 1992, Effects of sward height and bulk density on bite dimensions of cattle grazing homogeneous swards, Grass and Forage Science, 47, 1, 91–102, 10.1111/j.1365-2494.1992.tb02251.x, 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.JOURNAL, Bailey, D.W., Gross, J.E., Laca, E.A., Rittenhouse, L.R., Coughenour, M.B., Swift, D.M., Sims, P.L., 1996, Mechanisms that result in large herbivore grazing distribution patterns, Journal of Range Management, 49, 5, 386–400, 10.2307/4002919, 4002919, Cattle avoid grazing areas contaminated by the faeces of other cattle more strongly than they avoid areas contaminated by sheep,JOURNAL, Forbes, T.D.A., Hodgson, J., 1985, The reaction of grazing sheep and cattle to the presence of dung from the same or the other species, Grass and Forage Science, 40, 2, 177–182, 10.1111/j.1365-2494.1985.tb01735.x, but they do not avoid pasture contaminated by rabbit faeces.JOURNAL, Daniels, M.J., Ball, N., Hutchings, M.R., Greig, A., 2001, The grazing response of cattle to pasture contaminated with rabbit faeces and the implications for the transmission of paratuberculosis, The Veterinary Journal, 161, 3, 306–313, 10.1053/tvjl.2000.0550, 11352488,


{{Further|Bovine genome}}In 24 April 2009, edition of the journal Science, a team of researchers led by the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture reported having mapped the bovine genome.NEWS,weblink Cow genome unraveled in bid to improve meat, milk, Associated Press, 23 April 2009, 23 April 2009,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2009, 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.NEWS, Gill, Victoria,weblink BBC: Cow genome 'to transform farming', BBC News, 23 April 2009, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 17 October 2013, Behavioral traits of cattle can be as heritable as some production traits, and often, the two can be related.JOURNAL, Canario, L., Mignon-Grasteau, S., Dupont-Nivet, M., Phocas, F., 2013, Genetics of behavioural adaptation of livestock to farming conditions, Animal, 7, 3, 357–377, 10.1017/S1751731112001978, 23127553, 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.BOOK, 111, Jensen, P., 2009, The Ethology of Domestic Animals: An Introductory Text, CABI, The heritability of temperament (response to isolation during handling) has been calculated as 0.36 and 0.46 for habituation to handling.JOURNAL, Schmutz, S. M., Stookey, J. M., Winkelman-Sim, D. C., Waltz, C. S., Plante, Y., Buchanan, F. C., 2001, A QTL study of cattle behavioral traits in embryo transfer families, Journal of Heredity, 92, 3, 290–292, 10.1093/jhered/92.3.290, Rangeland assessments show that the heritability of aggressiveness in cattle is around 0.36.JOURNAL, 2013, 7, 3, 357–377, 10.1017/S1751731112001978, 23127553, Animal, Genetics of behavioural adaptation of livestock to farming conditions, Canario, L., Mignon-Grasteau, S., Dupont-Nivet, M., Phocas, F., Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been found for a range of production and behavioral characteristics for both dairy and beef cattle.JOURNAL, Friedrich, J., Brand, B., Schwerin, M., 2015, Genetics of cattle temperament and its impact on livestock production and breeding – a review, Archives Animal Breeding, 58, 13–21,weblink 10.5194/aab-58-13-2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2015,

Domestication and husbandry

File:Texas Longhorn.jpg|thumb|Texas LonghornTexas LonghornCattle occupy a unique role in human history, having been domesticated since at least the early neolithic age.Archeozoological and genetic data indicate that cattle were first domesticated from wild aurochs (Bos primigenius) approximately 10,500 years ago. There were two major areas of domestication: one in the Near East (specifically 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.JOURNAL, McTavish, E.J., Decker, J.E., Schnabel, R.D., Taylor, J.F., Hillis, D.M.year=2013, New World cattle show ancestry from multiple independent domestication events, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 110, 15, E1398–1406, 10.1073/pnas.1303367110, 23530234, 3625352, 2013, 2013PNAS..110E1398M, Modern mitochondrial DNA variation indicates the taurine line may have arisen from as few as 80 aurochs 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.JOURNAL, Decker, J.E., McKay, S.D., Rolf, M.M., Kim, J., Molina Alcalá, A., Sonstegard, T.S., 2014, Worldwide patterns of ancestry, divergence, and admixture in domesticated cattle., PLoS Genet., 10, 3, e1004254, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004254, etal, 24675901, 3967955, 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 first grain remains found, considered to be evidence of pre-agricultural practice date to 17,000 BC).BOOK, Gustavo A Slafer, Jose Luis Molina-Cano, Roxana Savin, Jose Luis Araus, Ignacio Romagosa, Barley Science: Recent Advances from Molecular Biology to Agronomy of Yield and Quality,weblink 2002, CRC Press, 978-1-56022-910-0, 1, BOOK, Glyn Davies, Julian Hodge Bank, A history of money: from ancient times to the present day,weblink 2002, University of Wales Press, 978-0-7083-1717-4, BOOK, Jesús Huerta de Soto, Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles,weblink 2006, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 978-1-61016-388-0, 51, 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.WEB,weblink A History of Money, 19 May 2015, live,weblink 21 May 2015, 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

File:Cattle inspected for ticks.jpg|thumb|This Hereford is being inspected for ticks. Cattle are often restrained or confined in cattle crushcattle crushFile:Anneau anti tetee P1190486.jpg|thumb|This young bovine has a nose ring to prevent it from suckling, which is usually to assist in weaningweaningCattle are often raised by allowing herds to graze on the grasses of large tracts of rangeland. Raising cattle in this manner allows the use of land that might be unsuitable for growing crops. The most common interactions with cattle involve daily feeding, cleaning and milking. Many routine husbandry practices involve ear tagging, dehorning, loading, medical operations, vaccinations and hoof care, as well as training for agricultural shows and preparations. Also, some cultural differences occur in working with cattle; the cattle husbandry of Fulani men rests on behavioural techniques, whereas in Europe, cattle are controlled primarily by physical means, such as fences.JOURNAL, Lott, Dale F., Hart, Benjamin L., Applied ethology in a nomadic cattle culture, Applied Animal Ethology, 5, 4, 309–319, October 1979, 10.1016/0304-3762(79)90102-0, Breeders use cattle husbandry to reduce M. bovis infection susceptibility by selective breeding and maintaining herd health to avoid concurrent disease.JOURNAL, Krebs JR, Anderson T, Clutton-Brock WT, Bovine tuberculosis in cattle and badgers: an independent scientific review, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1997,weblink 4 September 2006,weblink" title="">weblink 22 July 2004, etal, Cattle are farmed for beef, veal, dairy, and leather, and they are less commonly used for conservation grazing, simply to maintain grassland for wildlife—for example, in Epping Forest, England. They are often used in some of the most wild places for livestock. Depending on the breed, cattle can survive on hill grazing, heaths, marshes, moors and 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 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 culture (see Sacred Bull), still exists in southwestern France. In modern times, cattle are also entered into agricultural competitions. These competitions can involve live cattle or cattle carcases in hoof and hook 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 {{ISBN|0-679-76811-4}} Nonetheless, cattle and other forms of domesticated animals can sometimes help to use plant resources in areas not easily amenable to other forms of agriculture. Bulls are sometimes used as guard animals.WEB, Cailey Rizzo, Junkyard Owner Replaces Guard Dogs With Two Fighting Bulls Because It's Spain,weblink, en, WEB, Govan, Fiona, Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia,weblink, 26 October 2016,


{{further|Sleep in non-human animals|Cow tipping}}The average sleep time of a domestic cow is about 4 hours a day."40 Winks?" Jennifer S. Holland, National Geographic Vol. 220, No. 1. July 2011. Cattle do have a stay apparatus,BOOK, Asprea, Lori, Sturtz, Robin, Anatomy and physiology for veterinary technicians and nurses a clinical approach., 2012, 109, Iowa State University Pre, Chichester, 978-1-118-40584-0,weblink but do not sleep standing up,WEB,weblink Animal MythBusters – Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 April 2016, they lie down to sleep deeply.NEWS,weblink Cow tipping myth dispelled, Nick, Collins, The Daily Telegraph, 6 September 2013, 18 May 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 April 2016, In spite of the urban legend, cows cannot be tipped over by people pushing on them.NEWS, Haines, Lester, Boffins debunk cow-tipping myth, The Register UK, 9 November 2005, 30 November 2012,weblink live,weblink" title="">weblink 31 October 2012,


File:Cow female black white.jpg|thumb|Holstein cattle are the primary dairy breed, bred for high milk production.]]The meat of adult cattle is known as beef, and that of calves is veal. Other animal parts are also used as food products, including blood, liver, kidney, heart and oxtail. Cattle also produce milk, and dairy cattle are specifically bred to produce 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.(Clay 2004). The production of milk, which is also made into cheese, butter, yogurt, and other dairy products, is comparable in economic size to beef production, and provides an important part of the food supply for many of the world's people. Cattle hides, used for leather to make shoes, couches and clothing, are another widespread product. Cattle remain broadly used as draft animals in many developing countries, such as India. Cattle are also used in some sporting games, including rodeo and bullfighting.

Cattle meat production

{| class="wikitable sortable"|+Cattle meat production (kt)! Country !! 2008 !! 2009 !! 2010 !! 2011
| 2497
| 2420
| 9030
| 6182
| 1170
| 500
| 11988
Source: Helgi Library,| WEB,weblink HelgiLibrary – Cattle Meat Production, 12 February 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 April 2014, Cattle Meat Production | 12 February 2014 World Bank, FAOSTATAbout half the world's meat comes from cattle.Rickard, G., & Book, I. (1999). Bovids:useful ruminants. In Investigating God's world (3rd ed.). Pensacola, Fla.: A Beka Book.


File:Hand milking a cow at Cobbes Farm Museum.jpg|thumb|upright|Dairy farming and the milking of cattle was once performed largely by hand, but is now usually replaced by machine ]]Certain breeds of cattle, such as the Holstein-Friesian, are used to produce milk,WEB,weblink UK Dairy Cows, 7 May 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2015, 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.JOURNAL,weblink Milking 3 Times per day, Journal of Dairy Science, 62, 12, 1941–1950, 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(79)83526-2, 541464, 1979, Pearson, R.E., Fulton, L.A., Thompson, P.D., Smith, J.W., For dairy cattle to continue producing milk, they must give birth to one calf per year. If the calf is male, it generally is slaughtered at a young age to produce veal.WEB,weblink Veal and the Dairy Industry, 9 May 2015, Compassion in World Farming, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2015, They will continue to produce milk until three weeks before birth.WEB,weblink Compassion in World Farming: Dairy Cattle, 7 May 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2015, 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.


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.WEB,weblink FAO – Cattle Hides, 16 May 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 January 2015,

Feral cattle

Feral cattle are defined as being 'cattle that are not domesticated or cultivated'.WEB,weblink Definition of Feral cattle, 4 May 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 September 2015, Populations of feral cattle are known to come from and exist in: Australia, United States of America,WEB, Sahagun, Louis, Feral cattle terrorize hikers and devour native plants in a California national monument,weblink, Colombia, Argentina, Spain, France and many islands, including New Guinea, Hawaii, Galapagos, Juan Fernández Islands, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), Tristan da Cunha and Île Amsterdam, two islands of KuchinoshimaWEB,weblink NGRC Bos taurus,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 February 2016, and Kazura Island next to Naru Island in Japan.WEB,weblink Archived copy, 12 April 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 April 2016, WEB,weblink 葛島(野生化した和牛のいる島) – 奈留島港レンタカー,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 July 2016, Chillingham cattle is sometimes regarded as a feral breed.WEB,weblink Science – Chillingham Wild Cattle,, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 May 2016, Aleutian wild cattles can be found on Aleutian Islands.NEWS, Alaska Isle a Corral For Feral Cattle Herd; U.S. Wants to Trade Cows for Birds,weblink The Washington Post, 23 October 2005, 26 April 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 October 2012, dmy-all, 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.WEB,weblink 牛ばかりいる台湾の孤島・金門島 / 牛による牛のためのモーモーパラダイスだったことが判明, 世界を旅するガイドブック Photrip フォトリップ, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 May 2016, Other notable examples include cattle in the vicinity of Hong Kong (in the Shing Mun Country Park,城門水塘融和歷史 {{webarchive|url= |date=1 April 2016 }}. Retrieved on 8 May 2017 among Sai Kung District2015. 郊野香港,野牛與人和諧共處. The New York Times. Retrieved on 8 May 2017 and Lantau Island2014. 西貢流浪牛被逼遷大嶼山 漁護署:牛隻健康年中再檢討 {{webarchive|url= |date=22 October 2017 }}. Retrieved on 8 May 2017 and on Grass Island陳漢榮. 陳盛臣. 2003. 短線遊:跟住牛屎遊塔門 {{webarchive|url= |date=22 October 2017 }}. Retrieved on 8 May 2017), and semi-feral animals in Yangmingshan, Taiwan.太厲害!擎天崗的牛 乖乖跟「他」走! {{webarchive|url= |date=22 October 2017 }}. The Liberty Times. Retrieved on 8 May 2017

Environmental impact

{{See also|Environmental effects of meat production}}{| class="wikitable" style="float:right; clear:left; margin:0 0 0.5em 1em;"|+Estimated virtual water requirementsfor various foods (m³ water/ton)WEB,weblink Virtual Water Trade,, 2015-03-30, ||Hoekstra& Hung(2003)| Chapagain& Hoekstra(2003)|Zimmer& Renault(2003)|Okiet al.(2003)|Average|Beef||15,977|13,500|20,700|16,730|Pork||5,906|4,600|5,900|5,470|Cheese||5,288|||5,290|Poultry||2,828|4,100|4,500|3,810|Eggs||4,657|2,700|3,200|3,520|Rice|2,656||1,400|3,600|2,550|Soybeans|2,300||2,750|2,500|2,520|Wheat|1,150||1,160|2,000|1,440|Maize|450||710|1,900|1,020|Milk||865|790|560|740|Potatoes|160||105||130{{Bar chart|title=Mean greenhouse gas emissions for different food typesJOURNAL, Michael Clark, Tilman, David, November 2014, Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health,weblink Nature, 515, 7528, 518–522, 10.1038/nature13959, 1476-4687, |float=right|label_type=Food Types|data_type=Greenhouse Gas Emissions (g CO2-Ceq per g protein)|bar_width=20|width_units=em|data_max=50|label1=Ruminant Meat|data1=62|label2=Recirculating Aquaculture|data2=30|label3=Trawling Fishery|data3=26|label4=Non-recirculating Aquaculture|data4=12|label5=Pork|data5=10|label6=Poultry|data6=10|label7=Dairy|data7=9.1|label8=Non-trawling Fishery|data8=8.6|label9=Eggs|data9=6.8|label10=Starchy Roots|data10=1.7|label11=Wheat|data11=1.2|label12=Maize|data12=1.2|label13=Legumes|data13=0.25}}{{Bar chart|title=Mean land use of different foodsJOURNAL, Nemecek, T., Poore, J., 2018-06-01, Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers,weblink Science, 360, 6392, 987–992, 10.1126/science.aaq0216, 0036-8075, 29853680, |float=right|label_type=Food Types|data_type=Land Use (m2year per 100g protein)|bar_width=20|width_units=em|data_max=185|label1=Lamb and Mutton|data1=185|label2=Beef|data2=164|label3=Cheese|data3=41|label4=Pork|data4=11|label5=Poultry|data5=7.1|label6=Eggs|data6=5.7|label7=Farmed Fish|data7=3.7|label8=Groundnuts|data8=3.5|label9=Peas|data9=3.4|label10=Tofu|data10=2.2|label11=|data11=|label12=|data12=|label13=|data13=}}{{Bar chart|title=Mean acidifying emissions (air pollution) of different foods per 100g of proteinJOURNAL, Nemecek, T., Poore, J., 2018-06-01, Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers,weblink Science, 360, 6392, 987–992, 10.1126/science.aaq0216, 0036-8075, 29853680, |float=right|label_type=Food Types|data_type=Acidifying Emissions (g SO2eq per 100g protein)|bar_width=20|width_units=em|data_max=300.6|label1=Beef|data1=343.6|label2=Cheese|data2=165.5|label3=Pork|data3=142.7|label4=Lamb and Mutton|data4=139.0|label5=Farmed Crustaceans|data5=133.1|label6=Poultry|data6=102.4|label7=Farmed Fish|data7=65.9|label8=Eggs|data8=53.7|label9=Groundnuts|data9=22.6|label10=Peas|data10=8.5|label11=Tofu|data11=6.7|label12=|data12=|label13=|data13=}}{{Bar chart|title=Mean eutrophying emissions (water pollution) of different foods per 100g of proteinJOURNAL, Nemecek, T., Poore, J., 2018-06-01, Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers,weblink Science, 360, 6392, 987–992, 10.1126/science.aaq0216, 0036-8075, 29853680, |float=right|label_type=Food Types|data_type=Eutrophying Emissions (g PO43-eq per 100g protein)|bar_width=20|width_units=em|data_max=300|label1=Beef|data1=365.3|label2=Farmed Fish|data2=235.1|label3=Farmed Crustaceans|data3=227.2|label4=Cheese|data4=98.4|label5=Lamb and Mutton|data5=97.1|label6=Pork|data6=76.4|label7=Poultry|data7=48.7|label8=Eggs|data8=21.8|label9=Groundnuts|data9=14.1|label10=Peas|data10=7.5|label11=Tofu|data11=6.2|label12=|data12=|label13=|data13=}}File:CSIRO ScienceImage 1672 Cattle in dry landscape.jpg|thumb|upright|Cattle in dry landscape north of Alice SpringsAlice SpringsFile:2013-06-28 15 48 26 Cattle along Deeth-Charleston Road (Elko County Route 747) at the Bruneau River, about 38.6 miles north of Deeth in Elko County, Nevada.jpg|thumb|Cattle near the Bruneau River in Elko County, NevadaElko County, NevadaFile:Cows in Norway2.jpg|thumb|Cattle freely roam in the Norwegian mountains in summer, here in OppdalOppdalGut flora in cattle include methanogens that 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 atmospheric carbon dioxide.{{citation |first1=Gunnar |last1=Myhre |title=Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing |work=Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change |publisher=Cambridge University Press |year=2013 |location=Cambridge and New York |url= |accessdate=22 December 2016 |postscript=. |url-status=live |archiveurl= |archivedate=6 February 2017 }} See Table 8.7.IPCC. 2007. Fourth Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Methane belching from cattle can be reduced with genetic selection, immunization, rumen defaunation, diet modification and grazing management, among others.JOURNAL, Boadi, D., Benchaar, C., Chiquette, J., Massé, D., 2004, Mitigation strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions from dairy cows: Update review, Can. J. Anim. Sci., 84, 3, 319–335, 10.4141/a03-109, JOURNAL, Martin, C., Morgavi, D.P., Doreau, M., 2010, Methane mitigation in ruminants: from microbe to the farm scale, Animal, 4, 3, 351–365, 10.1017/s1751731109990620, 22443940, JOURNAL, Eckard, R. J., Grainger, C., de Klein, C.A.M., 2010, Options for the abatement of methane and nitrous oxide from ruminant production: A review, Livestock Science, 130, 1–3, 47–56, 10.1016/j.livsci.2010.02.010, A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (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,IPCC. 2001. Third Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Working Group I: The Scientific Basis. Table 4.2 accounting for an estimated 37% of anthropogenic methane emissions, and additional methane is produced by anaerobic fermentation of manure in manure lagoons and other manure storage structures.US EPA. 2012. Inventory of U.S. greenhouse gase emissions and sinks: 1990–2010. US. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA 430-R-12-001. Section 6.2. The net change in atmospheric methane content was recently about 1 Megatonne per year,IPCC. 2007. Fourth Assessment Report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. and in some recent years there has been no increase in atmospheric methane content.JOURNAL, Dlugokencky, E. J., Nisbet, E.G., Fisher, R., Lowry, D., 2011, Global atmospheric methane: budget, changes and dangers, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., 369, 1943, 2058–2072, 10.1098/rsta.2010.0341, 21502176, 2011RSPTA.369.2058D, 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.JOURNAL, Capper, J. L., 2011, The environmental impact of beef production in the United States: 1977 compared with 2007, J. Anim. Sci., 89, 12, 4249–4261, 10.2527/jas.2010-3784, 21803973, 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. WEB,weblink Archived copy, 18 July 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 June 2012, Previously, the number had increased; it was 12.453 million in 1985.USDA 1994. Agricultural Statistics 1994. US Government Printing Office, Washington. 485 pp. Table 377. Cattle on feed (for slaughter) numbered about 14.121 million on 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"WEB,weblink "What is a Factory Farm?" Sustainable Table,, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 June 2012, 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."US Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 122 They may be designated as small, medium and large. Such designation of cattle CAFOs is according to cattle type (mature dairy cows, veal calves or other) and cattle numbers, but medium CAFOs are so designated only if they meet certain discharge criteria, and small CAFOs are designated only on a case-by-case basis.WEB,weblink "Regulatory Definitions of Large CAFOs, Medium CAFO, and Small CAFOs." Environmental Protection Agency Fact Sheet., 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2015, 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.US Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 122.23, 40 CFR 122.42 The regulations involving CAFO permitting have been extensively litigated.See, e.g., Waterkeeper Alliance et al. v. EPA, 399 F.3d 486 (2nd cir. 2005); National Pork Producers Council, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 635 F. 3d 738 (5th Cir. 2011).Commonly, CAFO wastewater and manure nutrients are applied to land at agronomic rates for use by forages or crops, and it is often assumed that various constituents of wastewater and manure, e.g. organic contaminants and pathogens, will be retained, inactivated or degraded on the land with application at such rates; however, additional evidence is needed to test reliability of such assumptions.Bradford, S. A., E. Segal, W. Zheng, Q. Wang, and S. R. Hutchins. 2008. Reuse of concentrated animal feeding operation wastewater on agricultural lands. J. Env. Qual. 37 (supplement): S97-S115. Concerns raised by opponents of CAFOs have included risks of contaminated water due to feedlot runoff,WEB,weblink Applying Alternative Technologies to CAFOs: A Case Study, Richard Koelsch, Carol Balvanz, John George, Dan Meyer, John Nienaber, Gene Tinker, 16 January 2018, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 October 2013, soil erosion, human and animal exposure to toxic chemicals, development of antibiotic resistant bacteria and an increase in E. coli contamination.WEB,weblink Ikerd, John. The Economics of CAFOs & Sustainable Alternatives,, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 August 2014, While research suggests some of these impacts can be mitigated by developing wastewater treatment systems and planting cover crops in larger setback zones,WEB,weblink Hansen, Dave, Nelson, Jennifer and Volk, Jennifer. Setback Standards and Alternative Compliance Practices to Satisfy CAFO Requirements: An assessment for the DEF-AG group, 15 October 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 May 2012, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report in 2008 concluding that CAFOs are generally unsustainable and externalize costs.WEB,weblink Gurian-Sherman, Doug. CAFOs Uncovered: The Untold Costs of Confined Animal Feeding Operations, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 January 2013, 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).EPA. 2001. Environmental and economic benefit analysis of proposed revisions to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Regulation and the effluent guidelines for concentrated animal feeding operations. US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-821-R-01-002. 157 pp. Since that time, the EPA has established CAFOs as an enforcement priority. EPA enforcement highlights for fiscal year 2010 indicated enforcement actions against 12 cattle CAFOs for violations that included failures to obtain a permit, failures to meet the terms of a permit, and discharges of contaminated water.WEB,weblink Clean Water Act (CWA) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations National Enforcement Initiative,, 15 October 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 15 November 2013, File:Cattle at Velika Planina, Slovenia.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Cattle grazing in a high-elevation environment at the Big Pasture PlateauBig Pasture PlateauAnother concern is manure, 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.WEB,weblink Manure management,, 15 October 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 September 2013, Manure was used as a fertilizer on about 15.8 million acres of US cropland in 2006, with manure from cattle accounting for nearly 70% of manure applications to soybeans and about 80% or more of manure applications to corn, wheat, barley, oats and sorghum.McDonald, J. M. et al. 2009. Manure use for fertilizer and for energy. Report to Congress. USDA, AP-037. 53pp. Substitution of manure for synthetic fertilizers in crop production can be environmentally significant, as between 43 and 88 megajoules of fossil fuel energy would be used per kg of nitrogen in manufacture of synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers.Shapouri, H. et al. 2002. The energy balance of corn ethanol: an update. USDA Agricultural Economic Report 814.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.E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life, 2003, Vintage Books, 256 pages {{ISBN|0-679-76811-4}} A survey of refuge managers on 123 National Wildlife Refuges in the US tallied 86 species of wildlife considered positively affected and 82 considered negatively affected by refuge cattle grazing or haying.Strassman, B. I. 1987. Effects of cattle grazing and haying on wildlife conservation at National Wildlife Refuges in the United States. Environmental Mgt. 11: 35–44 . Proper management of pastures, notably 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.


The veterinary discipline dealing with cattle and cattle diseases (bovine veterinary) is called buiatrics.WEB, Buatrics,weblink 19 November 2013, Veterinarians and professionals working on cattle health issues are pooled in the World Association for Buiatrics, founded in 1960.WEB, World Association for Buiatrics,weblink 4 December 2013, {{dead link|date=June 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} National associations and affiliates also exist.WEB, List of Countries 2012,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 18 September 2018, 4 December 2013, 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, bluetongue, foot rot too.WEB, Common and important diseases of cattle,weblink 17 November 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 December 2013, NEWS, Identification of new cattle virus will help rule out mad cow disease,weblink 17 November 2013, WEB, Cattle Diseases,weblink 4 December 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 November 2013, 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.WEB, Cattle Disease Guide,weblink 4 December 2013, 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.NEWS, Harvey, Fiona, Easing of farming regulations could allow milk from TB-infected cattle into food chain,weblink 4 December 2013, The Guardian, 17 May 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 February 2014, 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.NEWS, U.S. aligns beef rules with global mad cow standards,weblink 4 December 2013, Reuters, 2 November 2013, Charles, Abbott, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 December 2013, Cow urine is commonly used in India for internal medical purposes.NEWS, West, Julian, A gift from the gods: bottled cow's urine,weblink The Telegraph, 4 December 2013, London, 2 September 2001, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 August 2014, NEWS, Cow Urine as Medicine,weblink WSJ, 4 December 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 July 2014, It is distilled and then consumed by patients seeking treatment for a wide variety of illnesses.NEWS, Esterbrook, John, Cow Urine As Panacea?,weblink CBS News, 4 December 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 30 December 2014, At present, no conclusive medical evidence shows this has any effect.NEWS,weblink (video) Indian Doctors Use Cow Urine As Medicine, The Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2010, 27 November 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 30 December 2014, However, an Indian medicine containing cow urine has already obtained U.S. patents.NEWS, Cow urine drug developed by RSS body gets US patent,weblink 4 December 2013, The Indian Express, 17 June 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 November 2013, 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.BOOK, Beneke, E., Rogers, A., Medical Mycology and Human Mycoses, 1996, Star, California, 978-0-89863-175-3, 85–90,

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.WEB,weblink Taking advantage of natural behavior improves dairy cow performance, Grant, R., 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2016, The effect of overstocking in cows can have a negative effect on 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.JOURNAL, Huzzey, J., Keyserlingk, M., Overton, T., 2012, The behaviour and physiological consequences of overstocking dairy cattle, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, 92,weblink 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.JOURNAL, Tyler, J.W, Fox, L.K., Parish, S.M., Swain, J., Johnson, D.J., Grassechi, H.A., 1997, Effect of feed availability on post-milking standing time in dairy cows, Journal of Dairy Research, 64, 4, 617–620, 10.1017/s0022029997002501, This is necessary to reduce the risk of mastitis as infection has been shown to increase the chances of embryonic loss.JOURNAL, Schefers, J.M., Weigel, K.A., Rawson, C.L., Zwald, N.R., Cook, N.B., 2010, Management practices associated with conception rate and service rate of lactating Holstein cows in large, commercial dairy herds, J. Dairy Sci., 93, 4, 1459–1467, 20338423, 10.3168/jds.2009-2015, 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.Krawczel, P. 2012. Improving animal well-being through facilities management. Southern Dairy Conference, 24 January 2012. Slides available at WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2 December 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 October 2015, . Accessed 16 November 2016Cortisol 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 gonadotrophin and lowered progesterone levels may impinge on the ovulatory and lutenization process and to reduce the chances of successful implantation.JOURNAL, Nepomnaschy, B. England, Welch, P., McConnell, K., Strassman, D., 2004, Stress and female reproductive function: a study of daily variations in cortisol, gonadotrophins, and gonadal steroids in a rural Mayan population, American Journal of Human Biology, 16, 5, 523–532, 10.1002/ajhb.20057, 15368600, 2027.42/35107,weblink 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 cruelty concerns

Animal rights activists have criticized the treatment of cattle, claiming that common practices in cattle husbandry, slaughter, and entertainment unnecessarily cause cattle fear, stress, and pain. They advocate for abstaining from the consumption of cattle-related animal products (such as beef, cow’s milk, veal, and leather) and cattle-based entertainment (such as rodeos and bullfighting) in order to end one’s participation in the cruelty, claiming that the animals are only treated this way due to market forces and popular demand.

Beef cattle

{{further|Cruelty to animals#Welfare concerns of farm animals|Animal slaughter}}The following practices have been criticized by animal welfare and animal rights groups:WEB,weblink Cattle,, 2019-05-31, branding,JOURNAL, Schwartzkopf-Genswein, K. S., Stookey, J. M., Welford, R., 1 August 1997, Behavior of cattle during hot-iron and freeze branding and the effects on subsequent handling ease, Journal of Animal Science, 75, 8, 2064–2072, 0021-8812, 9263052, 10.2527/1997.7582064x, castration,BOOK,weblink Pain Management, An Issue of Veterinary Clinics: Food Animal Practice, Coetzee, Hans, 19 May 2013, Elsevier Health Sciences, 978-1455773763, en, dehorning,WEB,weblink Welfare Implications of Dehorning and Disbudding Cattle,, en-us, 5 April 2017, live,weblink 23 June 2017, ear tagging,NEWS,weblink Ear-Tagging Proposal May Mean Fewer Branded Cattle, Goode, Erica, 25 January 2012, The New York Times, 5 April 2017, 0362-4331, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 April 2017, nose ringing,BOOK,weblink Improving Animal Welfare, 2 Edition: A Practical Approach, Grandin, Temple, 21 July 2015, CABI, 9781780644677, en, restraint,WEB,weblink Restraint of Livestock,, 5 April 2017, live,weblink" title="">weblink 13 December 2017, tail docking,BOOK,weblink Cow Talk: Understanding Dairy Cow Behaviour to Improve Their Welfare on Asian Farms, Doyle, Rebecca, Moran, John, 3 February 2015, Csiro Publishing, 9781486301621, en, the use of veal crates,WEB, The case against the veal crate: An examination of the scientific evidence that led to the banning of the veal crate system in the EU and of the alternative group housed systems that are better for calves, farmers and consumers, McKenna, C., Compassion in World Farming, 2001, April 19, 2016,weblink and cattle prods.WEB,weblink Using Prods and Persuaders Properly to Handle Cattle, Pigs, and Sheep,, 2019-05-31, Further, the stress induced by high stocking density (such as in feedlots, auctions, and during transport) is known to negatively affect the health of cattle,WEB,weblink Taking advantage of natural behavior improves dairy cow performance, Grant, R., 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2016, live, JOURNAL, Grandin, Temple, 2016-12-01, Evaluation of the welfare of cattle housed in outdoor feedlot pens, Veterinary and Animal Science, 1-2, 23–28, 10.1016/j.vas.2016.11.001, 2451-943X, and has also been criticized.WEB,weblink The Beef Industry, PETA, en-US, 2019-05-31, WEB,weblink Animal Cruelty - Beef,, 2019-05-31,

Dairy cows

{{Further|Dairy cattle#Animal welfare|Veal#Animal welfare}}While the treatment of dairy cows is similar to that of beef cattle, especially towards the end of their life, it has faced additional criticism.WEB,weblink Dairy Investigation {{!, Mercy For Animals||access-date=2019-05-31}} To produce milk from dairy cattle, most calves are separated from their mothers soon after birth and fed milk replacement in order to retain the cows' milk for human consumption.WEB,weblink Dairy Cows & Welfare, Vegetarian Society, Vegetarian Society, 31 May 2019, Animal welfare advocates point out that this breaks the natural bond between the mother and her calf. Unwanted male calves are either slaughtered at birth or sent for veal production. To prolong lactation, dairy cows are almost permanently kept pregnant through artificial insemination. Because of this, some feminists state that dairy production is based on the sexual exploitation of cows.WEB,weblink Dairy is a Feminist Issue, Adams, Carol J., 2012-09-21, Carol J. Adams, 2019-05-31, JOURNAL, 2015, The Sexual Politics of Meat, The Sexual Politics of Meat, 10.5040/, 9781501312861, Adams, Carol J., Although cows' natural life expectancy is about twenty years,BOOK,weblink Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, Erik Marcus, 2000, 9781590133446, after about five years the cows' milk production has dropped; they are then considered "spent" and are sent to slaughter, which is considered cruel by some.BOOK,weblink Vache à lait : dix mythes de l'industrie laitière, Desaulniers, Élise, 2013, Editions Stanké, Québec, French, Élise Desaulniers, 19 May 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 21 September 2013, dead, Wolfson, D. J. (1996). Beyond the law: Agribusiness and the systemic abuse of animals raised for food or food production Animal L., 2, 123. {{dead link|date=July 2016|bot=InternetArchiveBot|fix-attempted=yes}}


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 exhausted animals are often beaten and have chili and tobacco rubbed into their eyes to make them keep walking.WEB,weblink How India's sacred cows are beaten, abused and poisoned to make, 2000-02-14, The Independent, en, 2019-05-31, These practices have faced backlash from various animal rights groups.WEB,weblink Why do some people choose not to wear leather?,, en, 2019-05-31, WEB,weblink The Leather Industry, PETA, en-US, 2019-05-31,


{{Further|Animal treatment in rodeo|Rodeo#Animal treatment controversies}}There has been a long history of protests against rodeos,Westermeier: 436 with the opposition saying that rodeos are unnecessary and cause stress, injury, and death to the animals.WEB,weblink Rodeos, PETA, en-US, 2019-05-31, WEB,weblink Animal rights group targets popular rodeo, AP, Michael Smith /, 2008-07-17,, en, 2019-05-31,

Running of the bulls

{{further|Running of the bulls#Opposition}}The running of the bulls faces opposition due to the stress and injuries incurred by the bulls during the event.WEB,weblink Running of the Bulls: Bulls Tortured, Stabbed to Death, PETA, en-US, 2019-05-31,


{{further|Bullfighting#Animal welfare|Spanish-style bullfighting#Anti-bullfighting movement}}Bullfighting is considered by many people, including animal rights and animal welfare advocates, to be a cruel, barbaric blood sport in which bulls are forced to suffer severe stress and a slow, torturous death.WEB,weblink What is bullfighting?, League Against Cruel Sports,weblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2011, dead, dmy,
  • WEB,weblink ICABS calls on Vodafone to drop bullfighting from ad,,
  • WEB,weblink The suffering of bullfighting bulls,,weblink" title="">weblink 26 January 2009, dead, dmy-all, A number of animal rights and animal welfare groups are involved in anti-bullfighting activities. WEB,weblink Running of the Bulls Factsheet, PETA,,


File:India.Mumbai.04.jpg|thumb|Draft Zebus in MumbaiMumbaiOxen (singular ox) are cattle trained as draft animals. Often they are adult, castrated males of larger breeds, although females and bulls are also used in some areas. Usually, an ox is over four years old due to the need for training and to allow it to grow to full size. Oxen are used for plowing, transport, hauling cargo, grain-grinding by trampling or by powering 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 carting, with additional pairs added when more power is required, sometimes up to a total of 20 or more.File:Traditional ploughing - Karnataka.jpg|thumb|Oxen used in traditional ploughing – KarnatakaKarnatakaOxen 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.File:Sixten.jpg|right|thumb|Riding an ox in Hova, SwedenHova, SwedenMany oxen are used worldwide, especially in developing countries. About 11.3 million draft oxen are used in sub-Saharan Africa.Muruvimi, F. and J. Ellis-Jones. 1999. A farming systems approach to improving draft animal power in Sub-Saharan Africa. In: Starkey, P. and P. Kaumbutho. 1999. Meeting the challenges of animal traction. Intermediate Technology Publications, London. pp. 10–19. In India, the number of draft cattle in 1998 was estimated at 65.7 million head.Phaniraja, K. L. and H. H. Panchasara. 2009. Indian draught animals power. Veterinary World 2:404–407. About half the world's crop production is thought to depend on land preparation (such as plowing) made possible by animal traction.Nicholson, C. F, R. W. Blake, R. S. Reid and J. Schelhas. 2001. Environmental impacts of livestock in the developing world. Environment 43(2): 7–17.File:OftheOX.jpg|thumb|The "Ure-Ox" (Aurochs) by Edward TopsellEdward Topsell

Religion, traditions and folklore

Islamic traditions

{{Further|Animals in Islam}}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).BOOK,weblink Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice, Diane Morgan, ABC-CLIO, 2010, 27, 9780313360251, BOOK,weblink Dictionary of Islam, Thomas Hughes, Asian Educational Services, 1995, first published in 1885, 364, 9788120606722, Thomas Hughes (priest), The name of the surah derives from this passage in which Moses orders his people to sacrifice a cow in order to resurrect a man murdered by an unknown person.BOOK,weblink Constructing the Image of Muhammad in Europe, Avinoam Shalem, Walter de Gruyter, 2013, 127, 9783110300864, .

Hindu tradition

{{further|Cattle slaughter in India}}Cattle are venerated within the Hindu religion of India. In the Vedic period they were a symbol of plenty BOOK, Verso, 978-1-85984-676-6, Jha, D. N., The myth of the holy cow, London, 2002, 130, {{rp|130}} 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'.WEB,weblink Mahabharata, Book 13-Anusasana Parva, Section LXXVI,, 15 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 October 2013, In the middle of the first millennium, the consumption of beef began to be disfavoured by lawgivers.{{rp|144}} Although there has never been any cow-goddesses or temples dedicated to them,{{rp|146}} 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.Hinduism considers cows as divine and satvik (with pure virtues) and they are worshipped as goddesses. Medical science stresses the importance of the cow for her milk, her urine as well as her excreta in our day-to-day life. Govidyapeetham, India aims to revive reproduction methodologies undertaken by Balram (brother of Lord Krishna, a deity in Hinduism) combining with modern technology.WEB,weblink Govidyapitham – Shree Aniruddha Upasana Foundation, 28 January 2018, (File: Govidyapeetham2.jpg|thumb|Ancient cattle reproduction methodologies revived at Govidyapeetham, India)Milk and milk products were used in Vedic rituals.{{rp|130}} 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.{{rp|130–131}}Veneration of the cow has become a symbol of the identity of Hindus as a community,{{rp|20}} 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.WEB,weblink Save the cow, save earth, Express Buzz, Subramanian, Swamy, 19 January 2016, 19 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 September 2016,

Other traditions

File:UK Durham Dun-Cow.jpg|thumb|upright|Legend of the founding of Durham Cathedral is that monks carrying the body of Saint Cuthbert were led to the location by a milk maid who had lost her dun cowdun cowFile:Norske Folkelivsbilleder 08 - En Aften ved Sæteren (Knud Bergslien).jpg|thumb|upright=0.9| An idealized depiction of girl cow herders in 19th-century Norway by Knud BergslienKnud Bergslien
  • The Evangelist St. Luke is depicted as an ox in Christian art.
  • In Judaism, as described in {{bibleverse||Numbers|19:2|HE}}, 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 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.BOOK, Kane, J., Anzovin, S., Podell, J., 1997, Famous First Facts, New York, NY, H. W. Wilson Company, 978-0-8242-0930-8, 5, Famous First Facts,
  • The {{Nihongo|akabeko|赤べこ||red cow}} is a traditional toy from the Aizu region of Japan that is thought to ward off illness.Madden, Thomas (May 1992). "Akabeko {{webarchive|url= |date=21 February 2007 }}". OUTLOOK. Online copy accessed 18 January 2007.
  • 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. {{citation needed|date=June 2007}}
  • The Fulani of West Africa are the world's largest nomadic cattle-herders.
  • The 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:Azr.png|Arms of the AzoresFile:Mecklenburg Arms.svg|Arms of Mecklenburg region, GermanyFile:Turin coat of arms.svg|Arms of Turin, ItalyFile:Coat of arms of Kaunas.svg|Arms of Kaunas, LithuaniaFile:POL Bielsk Podlaski COA.svg|Arms of Bielsk Podlaski, PolandFile:POL COA Ciołek.svg|Arms of Ciołek, PolandFile:POL Turek COA PioM.svg|Arms of Turek, Poland


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. WEB,weblink Faostat, 13 January 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 January 2016, 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.{| class="wikitable sortable"|+ Cattle population! Region !! 2009WEB, Live Animals,weblink FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 4 November 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 30 October 2018, live, !! 2013 !! 2016Brazil}} 205,308,000 186,646,205 218,225,177India}} 195,815,000 194,655,285 185,987,136United States}} 94,721,00096,956,461 91,918,000European Union}} 90,685,000 88,001,000 90,057,000China}} 82,625,000 102,668,900 84,523,418Argentina}} 54,464,000 52,509,049 52,636,778Pakistan}} 33,029,000 26,007,848 42,800,000Mexico}} 32,307,000 31,222,196 33,918,906Australia}} 27,907,000 27,249,291 24,971,349Bangladesh}} 22,976,000 22,844,190 23,785,000Russia}} 21,038,000 28,685,315 18,991,955South Africa}} 13,761,000 13,526,296 13,400,272Canada}} 13,030,000 13,287,866 12,035,000Others>| 624,438,000


Didactic model of Bovine-FMVZ USP-23.jpeg|Didactic model of BovineModelo didatico bovino correto.jpg|Bovine anatomical modelDidactic model of a bovine muscular system-FMVZ USP-24.jpeg|Didactic model of a bovine muscular system

See also

{{colbegin|colwidth=20em}} {{colend}}{{Clear right}}


{{Reflist |colwidth=30em |refs={{MSW3 Artiodactyla|id=14200687|heading=Bos taurus}}}}

Further reading

{{Wikispecies}}{{Commons|Bos taurus}}{{Commons|Bull|Bull (cattle)}}
  • Bhattacharya, S. 2003. Cattle ownership makes it a man's world. 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. {{ISBN|1-55963-370-0}}.
  • Clutton-Brock, J. 1999. A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|0-521-63495-4}}.
  • BOOK, Herman R., Purdy, R. John Dawes, Dr. Robert Hough,weblink Breeds Of Cattle, 2nd, 2008, – A visual textbook containing History/Origin, Phenotype & Statistics of 45 breeds.
  • Huffman, B. 2006. weblink" title="">The ultimate ungulate page. 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. {{ISBN|0-8018-2525-3}}
  • Oklahoma State University (OSU). 2006. Breeds of Cattle. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  • Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 2004. Holy cow. PBS Nature. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  • Rath, S. 1998. The Complete Cow. Stillwater, MN: Voyageur Press. {{ISBN|0-89658-375-9}}.
  • Raudiansky, S. 1992. The Covenant of the Wild. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. {{ISBN|0-688-09610-7}}.
  • Spectrum Commodities (SC). 2006. weblink" title="">Live cattle. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
  • Voelker, W. 1986. The Natural History of Living Mammals. Medford, NJ: Plexus Publishing, Inc. {{ISBN|0-937548-08-1}}.
  • Yogananda, P. 1946. The Autobiography of a Yogi. Los Angeles: Self Realization Fellowship. {{ISBN|0-87612-083-4}}.
{{Artiodactyla|R.4}}{{Heraldic creatures}}{{Living things in culture}}{{Taxonbar|from=Q830}}{{Authority control}}

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