Cattle and sheep.jpg

Animal husbandry is the science or a branch of agriculture that is concerned with the production, taking care of, and breeding of farm animals.

It has a long history when animals were initially domesticated during the Neolithic revolution. Earlier, cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs were raised on farms on a low scale. After the 18th century, agriculturalists rapidly took animal husbandry to the next level and yielded more meat, wool, and milk day by day. A wide variety of species like horses, rabbits, guinea pud, and water buffalo were also used in some parts of the world. Modern methods involve intensive animal farming which seeks maximum production at minimum costs. This has led to exploitation and growing vulnerability in the existing livestock resources.

Animal husbandry takes care of the management and breeding of animals and is a large scale business. A farm or a specific region is built for providing shelter, food, and undertaking culturing processes. It also involves apiculture i.e. bee agriculture and aquaculture i.e. marine animals culturing.

Branches of animal husbandry[edit | edit source]


Dairy farming is the agricultural technique concerned with the long term production of milk, which is then processed to obtain dairy products such as curd, cheese, yoghurt, butter, cream, etc. It involves the management of dairy animals such as cows, buffaloes, sheep, goat, etc. These animals are milked by hand or by machines. The milk is preserved and converted into dairy products industrially, which are then used for commercial purposes.


Animals such as cows, buffaloes, pigs, and goats are reared for their meat. Their meat is a rich source of dietary protein.


Poultry farming is concerned with raising and breeding of birds for commercial purposes. Birds like ducks, chickens, geese, pigeons, turkeys, etc. are domesticated for eggs and meat.


Bee farming or apiculture is the practice of maintaining bee colonies by humans in man-made hives. Honey bees are reared on a large scale. The bees are domesticated for honey, wax, and to pollinate flowers. They are also used by other beekeepers for the same purposes. The place where bees are kept is known as an apiary or a bee yard.


Fish farming is the process of raising fish in closed tanks or ponds for commercial purposes. There is an increasing demand for fish and fish protein. Fish species such as salmon, catfish, cod, and tilapia are raised in fish farms.

Ethical aspects of animal husbandry[edit | edit source]

Ethical husbandry. A wounded Norwegian reindeer is moved on a snowmobile sled. Courtesy

There are contrasting views on the ethical aspects of breeding animals in captivity, with one debate being in relation to the merits of allowing animals to live in natural conditions reasonably close to those of their wild ancestors, compared to the view that considers natural pressures and stresses upon wild animals from disease, predation, and the like as vindication for captive breeding.

Some techniques of animal husbandry such as factory farming, tail docking, the Geier Hitch, and castration, have been attacked by animal welfare groups as inhumane, unsanitary, and counterproductive to the overall benefit of society.

Some of these practices also are criticized by farmers who use more traditional or organic practices. Genetic engineering is also controversial, though it does not necessarily involve suffering. People who believe in animal rights generally oppose all forms of animal husbandry.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Authors KVDP, Eric Blazek
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Translations Russian, Chinese
Related 2 subpages, 18 pages link here
Aliases Cattle, Protein food
Impact 4,463 page views
Created May 2, 2006 by Eric Blazek
Modified February 2, 2024 by Irene Delgado
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