A State or Nation depends largely on its economic sectors, which in turn are divided into several types. One of these is the livestock sector which is located in the primary sector of the economy. It is also part of the agricultural sector and is considered one of the oldest activities of humanity.

What is livestock?

Livestock is a type of economic activity that is based on the raising of animals considered as domestic to later generate products for human consumption such as milk, meat, wool, etc.

  • What does it consist of
  • Characteristics of livestock
  • History
  • Types of livestock
  • Advantage
  • Disadvantages
  • Livestock in the world
  • Importance
  • Livestock books
  • Examples

What does it consist of

Livestock is a very old activity that consists of raising a group of animals so that later they can be used in the production of different products necessary for humans. It is a primary activity that also treats and reproduces animals with the aim of obtaining different types of goods that also include the clothing and footwear industry .


Characteristics of livestock

Among the main characteristics that can be observed in the field of livestock, the following are mentioned:

  • It is an activity that corresponds to the primary sector of the economy.
  • It can be practiced on different types of animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs and camelids.
  • Some small animals are also part of livestock as in the case of bees.
  • The types of livestock used for this activity may depend on the geographic location where the activity takes place.
  • The term encompasses all aspects of the supply and use of livestock products , including the distribution of the products.


Livestock has been practiced in virtually every society since the transition to agriculture from hunter-gatherer lifestyles . According to experts, the origin of this type of activity dates back to the Paleolithic era when human beings began to develop different types of techniques to be able to capture, domesticate, feed and raise different types of animals. This is how livestock emerged as a type of activity that was positive to be able to provide food without having to constantly hunt.

It was one of the activities that most influenced man so that he abandoned the nomadic life and began to have a sedentary life in the different geographical spaces, thus giving rise to the communities . As time went by, the activity became more important thanks to its benefits and today, many types of animals can be included in livestock.

Types of livestock

There are several types of livestock which are mentioned below:

  • Extensive livestock : this type of livestock is carried out on large proportions of land. For this purpose, grasslands , meadows or mountains can be used . The animals are brought to these places so that they can graze and in this way take advantage of the natural resources that are available. This type of livestock is considered one of the best means to produce products that have a high quality.
  • Intensive : it is in which the animals are housed and they are provided with sufficient food , sanitary care and correct temperatures so that they can grow in a healthy and fast way. It is practiced mainly in temperate zones and has the disadvantage of generating large energy consumption and producing lower quality products.
  • Nomadic : in this case, livestock graze on quite considerable tracts of land so that the animals have a totally natural diet . It is used in towns that inhabit arid areas where the cultivation of plants is difficult to carry out.
  • Transhumant livestock : this is a type of grazing livestock , in other words, the animals must be mobilized to the places where there is food. It has the advantage of increasing soil fertility through livestock manure as well as the dispersion of different types of seeds .
  • Ecological livestock : it is a type of production system whose main objective is to be able to provide food of the highest quality . It uses different types of chemical substances and the animals must also be in a free space so that they are fed with products of nature.

Regarding the types of livestock it is important to mention that these can also be classified depending on the type of animal with which you work, in this way, there may be sheep (sheep), cattle or cattle (bulls, cows, oxen), pigs (pigs), goats (goats), equine (horses), rabbit (rabbits) and poultry (birds).


The advantages of livestock are many, one of the main ones is the capacity that the activity provides to be able to satisfy the population’s demand for food in a sustainable and responsible way . Livestock species play very important economic, social and cultural roles or functions for rural households as they contribute to improving their income and well-being. Other advantages are mentioned below:

  • Livestock can be done sustainably to help the planet .
  • If carried out in conjunction with agriculture , textiles and other activities such as beekeeping , it is possible to generate additional income streams while reducing the overhead required to maintain them.
  • It can help reduce waste , pests and diseases on the grounds.
  • Provide new job opportunities .
  • Through livestock raising, the quality of the soils can be improved .
  • It is part of the enhancement in the biodiversity of the places where it can be practical.


Livestock also has some disadvantages, among which the following are mentioned:

  • Some types of livestock can cause consumption high in energy producing at the same time high levels of pollution .
  • When not done properly, it can produce large amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide , nitrous oxide and methane which have a negative effect on climate change .
  • Deforestation can occur to supply pasture to livestock and at the same time there is significant degradation in rangelands.
  • Contamination by excreted substances that can include the same animal excrement as well as drug residues that are used in them.
  • The intensive grazing that is used in some types of livestock can cause important alterations in the soils and even in the water cycle .

Livestock in the world

There are many countries in the world that are dedicated to livestock, two of the most important are the United States and Brazil . In the European Union , China and India , livestock activity has also become an important part of the economy and the production of red proteins. Countries such as Argentina , Colombia and Uruguay have begun to produce large quantities of products derived from livestock. Worldwide, the products obtained from the activity are used for the consumption of the population and also to activate economies through exports .


Livestock plays a key role in the promotion of food security , the nutrition and wellness overall life of human beings in developing countries. The ability to raise livestock has enabled the development of human societies and cultures , fostered international trade and exchange , and provided a constant source of food , labor, and other products for people.

Livestock books

Some livestock books are mentioned below:

  • Chicken and Chicken Farming Guide by Damerow Gail
  • Guide to Cattle Raising by Smith Thomas Heather Omega, SA
  • Rabbit Farming Guide by Bennett Bob.
  • A practical guide to organic farming by Carmelo Victor García Romero


Examples of livestock are the following:

  • Poultry farming: there is the production of chickens for human consumption in poultry farms where the birds are born, raised, fattened and later passed on to consumption.
  • Pig farming : activity that is responsible for the production of pigs for food.
  • Beekeeping : production of honey, sugar and some beverages through bee farming.
  • Fish farming : it is the breeding of species of sport and consumption fish such as Trouts.

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