October 2 – World Farm Animals Day

Posted October 2, 2018

Today is supposed to be about raising awareness of ways that farm animals' lives could be happier and more comfortable. 

Some people try to
buy makeup and toiletry
products that aren't
tested on animals,
as well as being
careful about animal
products that they eat.
One thing we can do is to eat less beef. We can also eat less meat and dairy, and fewer eggs. If we eat less of every animal product, there will be fewer farm animals, and hopefully less crowding and therefore a better life for farm animals that still exist.

We can also shop for meat, dairy, and eggs from smaller family-owned farms.

We can buy free-range eggs, and we can try to avoid products from factory-farm-raised animals. 

We can talk to supermarket workers about our concerns and leave response cards at grocery stores.

So what exactly are farm animals?

In the U.S., we consider "farm animals" to include cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens, plus horses (for their labor). To a lesser extent, we include goats and donkeys and rabbits, plus a range of poultry including turkeys, geese, and ducks. 

I was wondering what "farm animals" include worldwide. The answer is a bit deflating: 

Mostly the same. 
Cows. Sheep. Goats. Chickens. Pigs. 

There are some additions to the list, worldwide. Camels are raised in northern Africa, the Mideast, and China. Buffalo and yaks are raised in many parts of Asia. Elephants are raised (for their labor) in Asia, as well. Llamas and alpacas are raised in South America, as are rhea (which are birds that look like small ostriches). Crocodiles are raised in Australia, peacocks are raised in Indonesia, and reindeer are raised in Scandinavia.

Naturally, since the world has grown smaller (which means transportation and communication are faster and easier), all of these creatures can be raised anywhere in the world. 

And nowadays, a larger variety of animals are raised on farms than in the past. Several sorts of birds, including ostriches and pheasants and quail, are farm-raised. Aquaculture farms raise fish such as salmon and tilapia, crustaceans such as lobsters and crabs, and mollusks such as oysters and clams and mussels.

And then there are the hybrids. Of course, a mule is a hybrid of male donkeys and female horses, but there are also beefalo (cattle and bison - the latter is often called buffalo), dzo (cattle and yaks), zubron (cattle and European woods bison), cama (camel and llama), yakalo (yaks and buffalo), sheep goat, Iron Age pigs (wild boar and pigs), and of course hinnies (male horses and female donkeys).

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