LET'S TALK ABOUT FARM ANIMALS!
What is Livestock?
Livestock is another word for Farm Animals that are raised for food:
- Cows or cattle provide meat called beef which is a source of protein and iron. Milk and milk products like butter, sour cream or cheese also come from cows and provide calcium and protein.
- Sheep provide meat called mutton and also wool. Wool is a fiber used for fabric and yarn.
- Lamb meat is also rich in protein and lamb's wool is another fiber.
- Pigs produce bacon, sausage, and ham as well as pork chops and roasts.
- Goats provide both meat and milk. Goat milk is often used for specialty cheeses or to drink. The proteins in goat milk can be easier for some people to digest, particularly babies and children or those with milk allergies. Goat meat is not widely consumed in the United States, but it's actually the most widely consumed meat world-wide.
- Chickens provide eggs and meat to our diets.
- Farm animals also provide some of the ingredients for items such as glue, plastic, paint brush bristles, cosmetics, lotions, and much more.
How do we care for Farm Animals?
- While humans need clean or purified water Farm Animals can drink from streams, ponds, and other natural water sources and generally be un-affected by microorganisms that may make a human sick.
- Both animals and humans require healthy food for their diet.
- Most farm animals thrive on feed that humans cannot digest. For example, cows, goats, and sheep have a multi-compartment stomach which allows them to break down and use the energy and nutrients found in grass and hay. These farm animals then convert their energy into food humans can eat, such as meat and milk.
- Animals and humans both need shelter from harsh elements—heat in the cold and cool air in extreme heat. Humans regulate body temperature with their physical environment. We generally live in heated houses to protect ourselves from the cold and use blankets and sweaters to keep warm.
- Animals have natural defenses. Thick hair or wool on livestock provides insulation from cold temperatures. In some climates, farmers provide enclosed barns or covered areas for warmth in the cold and shade in the heat.
How did Farm Animals become a primary food source for humans?
- Long ago people had to hunt and gather their own food to feed their families. They ate some combination of plants and animals, whichever was available. Families moved around a lot in order to find enough food.
- A farm or permanent place to raise animals for food marked a major turning point for humans: the beginning of an agricultural way of life and more permanent civilizations.
- By raising animals on a farm humans no longer had to wander to hunt animals and gather plants for their food supplies.
- Agriculture or the cultivating of animals (and plants) allowed farmers to provide food for everyone.
- Today more than 9 billionland animals are raised for food in the U.S. each year.
Do humans eat too many Farm Animals?
- Here are some things to consider as your family discusses whether or how much animal products to eat:
- Animal meat, dairy and eggs are a rich source of protein.
- Raising so many Farm Animals or Animal agriculture is hard on our environment.
- The Animal Agriculture industry has grown so big that they have often failed to be kind to the animals they raise and had the power to limit laws that protect the animals.
- Factory farms means raising a large number of animals outside of their traditional environment. One example of this is when farms keep animals indoors or in cages instead of letting them roam outdoors or graze in a pasture. There are cases of unkind living conditions for animals that have occurred at some factory farms.
What can we do to help the Farm Animals?
- Whatever you eat, you can improve the lives of Farm Animals by seeking out brands bearing the welfare certification labels which indicate more humane and transparent farming practices.
- Remember that every food purchase is a vote for how animals should be raised, and we as consumers have the power to show there is no market for farm animal cruelty.
- Reduce your overall consumption of animal products and eat more plant-based foods such as beans, grains and vegetables.
- Support local and family Animal Farms, those with a high standard of love and care for the livestock they raise.
Go to the Farm Animals Learning Day Activities now!