Animals: use or exploitation?

For human beings, fauna has always been an important vital resource. Hunting and fishing were the only means that primitive men had at their disposal to eat and clothe themselves. Then, when men left their nomadic lives to settle permanently in a given area, they began to tame animals. Cattle breeding increased the availability of food, such as meat, milk, eggs, honey; in addition, animals also supplied such raw materials as wool and hides. It should not be forgotten, then, that before the internal combustion engine was discovered the most important source of energy and power were just animals. Animals were used in farming as well as to carry goods and people. With the coming of mechanisation in the late nineteenth century, the old cattle breeding practices used in the country essentially disappeared. The increasing demand for food from a strongly increasing population across the world and the increase and spreading of welfare caused today’s farms to become more and more like “factories” in order to increase production and meet the demand. Lately, though, this trend seems to have reversed, since consumers are giving more and more priority to quality over quantity. In many cases, therefore cattle breeding is gong back to more “traditional” methods, more respectful of the animals’ needs.

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