domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor

Livestock are domestic animals that are kept by people. Their uses are for meat, milking, wool, leather, or labor. Taking care of livestock is animal husbandry. Some types of livestock are: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens. Chickens produce eggs; pigs produce meat; cattle, goats and sheep create milk, and sheep also create wool.[1] Horses, cattle, camels, llamas, water buffalo, and other large animals do work for people, such as pulling wagons and other vehicles.

A sheep dog is guarding a flock of sheep. Sheep are commonly kept as livestock.

The breeding, keeping alive, and killing of livestock is called animal husbandry. Animal husbandry have been practiced by humans for a long time. There are different animal husbandry practices used by different cultures. It is an important part of the economy and culture of many countries.

Intensive animal farming, which is sometimes called "factory farming" is mostly used today. 99% of livestock in the US are now raised with intensive animal farming.[2] Intensive animal farming increases the amount of things we can get from the livestock but it has also led to bad effects on animal welfare, the environment, and public health.[3]


This Australian road sign uses "stock" for livestock.

Livestock as a word was first used between 1650 and 1660.[4] Today, cattle means domesticated bovines, while livestock now means domesticated animals.[5]


Animal husbandry started when humans stopped hunting and gathering and settled in farming communities. Animals are domesticated when the way they breed and live are controlled by humans. After a long time, the way they act and the way they look like changes. Today, many farm animals cannot live in the wild.

The dog was domesticated in Europe and the Far East from about 15,000 years ago.[6] Goats and sheep were domesticated between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago in Southwest Asia.[7] Pigs were domesticated by 8,500 BC in the Near East and 6,000 BC in China.[8][9] Domestication of the horse dates to around 4000 BC.[10] Cattle have been domesticated since approximately 10,500 years ago.[11] Chickens and other poultry may have been domesticated around 7000 BC.[12]

Some common livestockEdit

Image Animal Wild ancestor Where it was domesticated Uses
Horse Tarpan Mongolia For riding, racing, carrying and pulling heavy things, meat, milk
Donkey African wild ass Africa For carrying people and goods and working on the farm
Cattle Eurasian auroch Eurasia For meat, milk and working on the farm
Zebu Indian auroch Eurasia For meat, milk and working on the farm
Bali cattle Banteng Southeast Asia For meat, milk and working on the farm
Yak Wild yak Tibet For carrying goods, milk, meat and hide
Water buffalo Wild water buffalo India and Southeast Asia For meat, milk and carrying people and their goods
Gayal Gaur India and Malaysia For carrying people and goods and working on the farm
Sheep Mouflon Iran and Asia minor For meat, milk and fleece
Goat Bezoar ibex Greece and Pakistan For meat, milk and fleece
Reindeer Reindeer Eurasia For working on the farm, milk, flesh and hide
Bactrian camel Wild bactrian camel Central Asia For carrying people and their goods, milk, meat and racing
Arabian camel Thomas's camel North Africa and Southwest Asia For carrying people and their goods, milk, meat and racing
Llama Guanaco Andes For carrying goods and fleece
Alpaca Guanaco Andes For fleece
Domestic pig Wild boar Eurasia Meat
Rabbit European rabbit Europe As a pet and for meat
Guinea pig Montane guinea pig Andes As a pet and for meat


  1. "livestock | Definition, Examples, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-07-18.
  2. "USDA - National Agricultural Statistics Service - 2012 Census of Agriculture - List of Reports and Publications". Retrieved 2021-07-18.
  3. Anomaly, J. (2015-11-01). "What's Wrong With Factory Farming?". Public Health Ethics. 8 (3): 246–254. doi:10.1093/phe/phu001. ISSN 1754-9973.
  4. "Definition of livestock |". Retrieved 2021-07-18.
  5. "Definition of LIVESTOCK". Retrieved 2021-07-18.
  6. Larson, Greger; Bradley, Daniel G. (2014-01-16). Andersson, Leif (ed.). "How Much Is That in Dog Years? The Advent of Canine Population Genomics". PLoS Genetics. 10 (1): e1004093. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004093. ISSN 1553-7404. PMC 3894154. PMID 24453989.CS1 maint: PMC format (link)
  7. Chessa, B.; Pereira, F.; Arnaud, F.; Amorim, A.; Goyache, F.; Mainland, I.; Kao, R. R.; Pemberton, J. M.; Beraldi, D. (2009-04-24). "Revealing the History of Sheep Domestication Using Retrovirus Integrations". Science. 324 (5926): 532–536. doi:10.1126/science.1170587. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 3145132. PMID 19390051.CS1 maint: PMC format (link)
  8. Vigne, J.-D.; Zazzo, A.; Saliege, J.-F.; Poplin, F.; Guilaine, J.; Simmons, A. (2009-09-22). "Pre-Neolithic wild boar management and introduction to Cyprus more than 11,400 years ago". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106 (38): 16135–16138. doi:10.1073/pnas.0905015106. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 2752532. PMID 19706455.CS1 maint: PMC format (link)
  9. Larson, Greger; Liu, Ranran; Zhao, Xingbo; Yuan, Jing; Fuller, Dorian; Barton, Loukas; Dobney, Keith; Fan, Qipeng; Gu, Zhiliang (2010-04-27). "Patterns of East Asian pig domestication, migration, and turnover revealed by modern and ancient DNA". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (17): 7686–7691. doi:10.1073/pnas.0912264107. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 2867865. PMID 20404179.CS1 maint: PMC format (link)
  10. "Breeds of Livestock - Oklahoma State University — Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science". Retrieved 2021-07-18.
  11. McTavish, E. J.; Decker, J. E.; Schnabel, R. D.; Taylor, J. F.; Hillis, D. M. (2013-04-09). "New World cattle show ancestry from multiple independent domestication events". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (15): E1398–E1406. doi:10.1073/pnas.1303367110. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 3625352. PMID 23530234.CS1 maint: PMC format (link)
  12. Carr, Karen (2017-06-12). "Chicken history - Where are chickens from? India and China". Study Guides. Retrieved 2021-07-18.