Cattles are humans' best friends and ultimate supporters from an early age. Most importantly, they are like a family member who provides livelihood, food, and protection to humans. From early to now, cattle are counted as an asset to the person or family. Therefore, farming cattle had become a necessity for humans in day-to-day life.
Cattle farming is the essential part of animal husbandry as if animal husbandry had started from cattle farming, but later fishery, apiculture, and poultry had been added to it.
Rearing and raising of livestock like sheep, goat, cow, buffaloes etc. for food consumption and earning is called as cattle farming.
Cattle farming is also known as cattle ranching where cattles are brought up for various agriculture purpose.
Cattle farming is the management and rearing of cattle for dairy products. There are two types of animals categories involved in cattle farming.
- Milch/ dairy animals include animals like goats, buffaloes, cows, sheep, etc., that fulfill food requirements (milk- dairy products).
- Draught animals - Here, animals ox, donkey, horses, cows, buffaloes are used for labor purposes like plowing and irrigation.
In cattle farming, animals are cared for and bred for milk; therefore, we need to improve milk production to meet the day-to-day requirements of the population. It's a business aimed at raising cows, buffaloes, bulls, oxen, calves used for dairy, beef, and leather. Besides all these, cattle breeding (the crossbreeding of different species of cattle) is also conducted where high-yielding and disease-free breeds are developed.
Dairy cattle:- Cows and buffaloes can give birth to babies and produce milk for them. Continue lactating is necessary for castles to improve milk production and keep it constant. This is possible after insemination of the cattle every year through artificial insemination (sperm of bull or ox is implanted in the cows or buffaloes for profitable offspring). In the case of cows, their calves hardly taste their milk (they put on soy milk formula). Calves also went through the same cycle as their mother; productive calves are kept for dairy production, and those who cannot produce are used in other industries.
Beef cattle: Cows that are not fit for dairy and bulls are raised to be killed for meat. Most calves turn to veal, having a death in 2-3 hours of birth or after 2-days, and remaining are to be raised to be fattened for the beef. Beef cattle are bred with dairy cows to help produce and sell different commodities like leaner meat. In the U.S, these beef cattle are kept in unsanitary conditions where a small percentage is given access to pasture them.
By-product:- After consuming milk and meat, a by-product is left in cattle farming, i.e., leather. It has become a prominent source of profit for cattle farming. Leather is made from the skin of buffaloes, cows, bulls, or calves (especially young calves killed for soft and unmarked skin). This by-product runs an industry named the leather industry, and it is of two types:-
Original leather - Get from the cattle (cattle skin).
Synthetic leather - Made from chemicals and synthetic material.
Different cattle breeds are brought up to improve milk and meat production in cattle farming. Generally in local cattle breeds are classified into three types:-
- Desi breed is called desi because it has the local type of cattle.
- Foreign breed - This breed consist of cattle from different part of the world.
- Hybrid breed - This breed has the cattle came in existence from the artificial insemination of two different types of breed.
|Exotic breed of cattle
|Jersy, Holstein Friesian, Brown Swiss, Red Dane, Ayrshire, Guemsey
|Jersey cross, Holstein Friesian Cross
To fulfill the human requirement, it becomes necessary to take proper care and good management of livestock.
- Shelter management
Shelter provide a roof to the cattles that need to be maintained at regular interval of time. Proper hygiene of shed and animals should be maintained. Animals must be kept neat by brushing them and removing dirt and bugs from their bodies. She must have a proper drainage system (good sanitation). Sheds protect animals from rain, heat, and cold; therefore, they should be well ventilated and roofed.
- Food management
Food is important for health for every living being; therefore, it should be of good quality and enriched with nutrients. For high yielding and disease resistance, breed cattle are provided with healthy, nutrient-rich fodder. The factor regarding the food of cattle are:-
Food must be healthy fulfill the farming requirement. It must include high fiber content (roughage), high protein, and high nutrients (concentrates). A proper diet is containing micronutrients is provided to animals.
- Disease management
Animal suffers from many diseases that affect their health and productivity (even the reason for death). In normal life, every living being suffers from some disease; therefore, disease management is necessary. There are various diseases of animals, but the main villains are parasites, viruses, and bacteria. They affect them internally and externally, and vaccination is the only solution to protect these animals. Veterinary doctors and hospitals are established for them.
Cattle farming benefits
- It's a life savior for unemployed people from an early age.
- It is a private as well as a government business.
- It employs a large scale of people.
- Many small or big businesses depend on the production of milk. For example oil and ghee industry, sweet makers, etc.
- It improves the living standard of the farmers.
- Increase the overall revenue of the farmers and country, too, as India is the second-largest milk producer country in the world.
- India is the second-largest milk producer with cows, buffaloes, and other species; it is the world's largest milk producer with 60.6 billion kilograms.
- In cattle farming, draught cattle are used for carting and irrigation purposes.
- The waste product of the cattles in cattle farming is used as manure for soil enrichment (fertilizer) and as a source of biofuel.
Maintaining cattle farming involves grazing, fly control, reproduction, and handling. For better results in cattle farming, it should be maintained and handled at regular intervals by various means. Maintaining require pastures for early feeding (feedlots).
- The housing of cattles - Cattle farms are the house of several cattles where they live, eat and grow together. It showcases their life to death journey; therefore, housing is necessary to fulfill proper ventilation, cleanliness, and personal space requirement of cattles, but these are not provided to the cattles. Instead, cattle suffer crowding (due to low space), suffocation, and unsanitary conditions. Dairy and beef cattle live a life of confinement amidst their feces and are forced to inhale toxic fumes. People kept cattles in their homes in a small space with them, creating a problem for them. Cattles just become the use of a thing of humans.
- Insect control - As cattles had to live in an unsanitary condition that arises lots of diseases due to flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. In day-to-day life, insanitation and overcrowding increase the number of flies (carry lots of diseases that is susceptible for cattle), mosquitoes can bite them, and other insect stick to the skin of animals (sometimes require doctors medicine). Maximum use of insecticides and pesticides in farms contaminate the surroundings. It also contaminates the air, cattle food, affects cattle health and milk. Cattle farms are the hotspot of the bioaccumulation of the substance within animals (this problem has persisted for a long time).
- Reproduction in cattles- Cattles must reproduce every year for a better quality of genes. Therefore, cattle farm management uses an artificial insemination process with good genes to ensure the best and continuous supply of meat, milk, and other products of humans. If reproduction is left on cattle, they will rarely get pregnant because continuous pregnancy gives mental and physical stress to the cattles. After 5-6 years of continuous birth, they are sent to be slaughtered. In a few countries, cattles are not slaughtered. It's a crime. Therefore they are left on the streets where they die from diseases, eating plastic, and other reasons.
- Grazing of cattles - Eating food(grass) by cattles called grazing. Cattles need proper food or grazing field to fulfill their need. Calves and young cows were sent to the feedlot to be fattened for meat. Diet given to the cattle focus on producing milk or better meat, not on the health of cattles. Instead of sending to feedlots, cattles left free to graze on grassland called grass-fed. Quality doesn't matter only the quantity of food that affects the cattle.
- Handling of cattles - cattles becomes a part of the family. Therefore, they should be treated and cared for like a member that prevents stress and injury and ensure their well-being. But the situation is totally in cattle farms as cattle have to be stationed on the concrete platforms for a long time that causes sore joints, and damage their hooves. Handling of cattles breaks their families by separating calves from their mother( lactating cows from their babies) to use milk for dairy and babies for meat purposes. For the milk extraction from cattles, farmers use machines that result in mastitis (which leads to pus formation in milk).
Bad impact of cattle farming on the environment.
Being the backbone of farmers with all the advantages, Cattle farming has various bad effects on the environment.
- Climate change - Cattle- farming is the major cause of climate change because it contributes a lot to the greenhouse. Cattle dung is used as a major biofuel that exerts gases, increases pollution levels that affect the greenhouse. U.N's food and agriculture organization stated that the cattle farming industry emits most power gases (methane and ammonia) that lead to an increase in global warming. These gases are produced due to enteric fermentation during digestion (break down of food into soluble components exert many harmful gases).
- Misuse of land- Local communities, hold a large land area for cattle farming. Texture and fertility of land effect due to this.
- Biodiversity - It clears the land of forest (habitat of many animals) because of numerous grazing by cattles that threaten biodiversity.
- Water - It pollutes the water as the cow produces 37 kilos of the face every day; therefore, imagine how much waste is produced by 80-100 cows in a cattle farm. All the waste is dumped on land or in water bodies. All the cattle waste contains a lot of nitrogen that contaminates the water around the farms. In the rainy season, mud mixed with cattle waste creates numerous problems like increment in flies and mosquitoes. Continuous use of insecticides and pesticides exacerbates the problem in cattle farms because they contaminate a major water source.
- Overuse of antibiotics - For better dairy and beef production. Antibiotics decrease the immunity level, and overuse of them leads to the evolution of bacteria. It has a detrimental effect on the environment as antibiotics boost methane production in cattle (waste releases high intensity of harmful gases).
Conclusion: Rather, cattle farming is necessary to meet the dairy, beef, and leather needs, but the exploitation of animals is becoming a curse. People's insane behavior towards cattle raises the question of whether cattle farming is worth it. The government has made various rules and regulations for protecting cattles, but they are not followed by people who had made cattle farming their business. Therefore, it is necessary to take strict action toward it. People should opt for different businesses like plant-based farming to protect animals, the environment, land, water, etc. It will also improve the climate conditions. As customers, we should focus on how much we demand, not only what we demand. Sustainable solutions to be made to meet the dairy beef and leather needs in favor of animals, the environment, and humanity. We should protect our species because cattle farming is not viable in the long run.