The State of World Agriculture
How does this affect meat production?
The domesticated versions of these once wild animals have, through animal husbandry, become "transformed into something that is more useful to humans." (Diamond 108) Compared to their wild ancestors, these domesticated animals are different in size, intelligence, and their usefulness in food production. Now, these domesticated animals account for 28% of the world's food production, so it can safely be said that animal husbandry has done its work well. (Encarta. “Animal Husbandry”) Of the cows which support nearly the entire dairy industry, hybridization has led to only 5% remaining purebred. (Logsdon 25) The hybrid species are, through animal husbandry, bred to yield more milk to supply the large demand on the market.
Besides cows, pigs are main animals of importance in the agricultural market. Unique among most domesticated animals for their status as omnivores- most domesticated animals, including the others among the major 5, are herbivores- pigs are "well adapted for the production of meat because they grow and mature rapidly." (Logsdon 79) These natural characteristics may explain why pigs were among the first animals domesticated, at a date of approximately 8000 BC in China and Southwestern Asia. (Diamond 98) However, had pigs been purely carnivorous in their diet choice, it is likely they would not have been domesticated at all- raising small herbivores to feed them would have required far more meat being put into the pig than coming out in the end, which certainly would have limited their usefulness. (Diamond 112) Thus, many characteristics influenced both the domestication and breeding of these animals, including rate of growth and diet.
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