Dear Editor,
Cattle (colloquially cows) are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They  are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collective as Bos Taurus. Cattle are raised as livestock as dairy animals for milk and other dairy products, and as draft animals (oxen or bullocks (pulling carts, plows and the like). Other products include leather and dung for manure or fuel. In some regions, such as parts of India, cattle have significant religious meaning. From as few as 80 progenitors domesticated in southeast Turkey about 10,500 years ago, an estimated 1.3 billion cattle are in the world today.In 2009, cattle became the first livestock animal to have a fully mapped genome.
Domestication
Cattle occupy a unique role in human history, domesticated since at least the early Neolithic. Geneticists and anthropologists used to suspect that, 10,000 years ago, Africans domesticated local cattle. A study done by University of Missouri researchers reported that ancient domesticated African cattle originated from multiple regions, in the middle-east and India. A study on 134 breeds showed that today’s catlle originates from Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and Europe. According to Mc Tavish et (2013) some researchers have suggested that African taurine cattle are derived from a third independent domestication from North African aurochsen.
Other modern genetic research suggests the entire modern domestic stock may have arisen from as few as 80 aurochs tamed in the upper reaches of Mesopotamia about 10,500 years ago near the villages of Cayonu Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq.
They are raised for meat (beef cattle), dairy products and hides. They are also used as draft animals and in certain sports. Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, and cattle raiding consequently one of the earliest forms of theft.
This young bovine has a nose ringto prevent it from suckling, which is usually to assist in weaning.
Cattle are often raised by allowing herds to graze on the grasses of large tracts of range land.
Raising cattle in this manner allows the use of land that might be unsuitable for growing crops. The most common interactions with cattle involve daily feeding, cleaning and milking. Many routine husbandry practices involve ear tagging, dehorning, loading, medical operations, vaccinations and hoof care, as well as training for agricultural shows and preparations. Also, some cultural differences occur in working with cattle; the cattle  husbandry of Fulani men rests on behavioural techniques, whereas in Europe, cattle are controlled primarily by physical means such as fences. Breeders use cattle husbandry to reduce M.bovis infection susceptibility by selective breeding and maintaining herd health to avoid concurrent disease.
In terms of food intake by humans, consumption of cattle is less efficient than of grain or vegetables with regard to land use, and hence cattle grazing consumes more area than such other agricultural production when raised on grains. Nonetheless, cattle and other forms of domesticated animals can sometimes help to use plant resources in areas not easily amenable to other forms of agriculture.
Dr. Varun Bassessar
Jammu