chapter  1
20 Pages

Biological types of cattle: carcass and meat quality M. A. Price, University of Alberta, Canada

Cattle have always held a very important place in human society; the word ‘cattle’ itself comes from the same Latin stem as words like ‘capital’ and ‘chattel’, referring to wealth and headship. Cattle have been used for many purposes around the world and throughout recorded history, the most important probably being as a source of draught power, with leather, beef and offal meats as valuable by-products. However, during their lives, in addition to draught power, their milk and blood have been harvested for food and their dung used for manure, as a building material and as a fuel source. The list of by-products from cattle would fill many pages (e.g. Kinsman, 1994; Ockerman and Basu, 2014); they contribute to practically every aspect of the lives of humans from glues, oils, lubricants and soaps to ornaments, fine china, pharmaceuticals, explosives and chew toys for dogs. It is little wonder that peoples around the world treasured cattle and developed their own particular types, with specific identifying traits, naturally adapted and suited to their local environments.