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PRODUCTS OF THE BOVINE TRIBE.
Having noticed the Sheep, Goats, and other wool-producing animals,
we are next led to consider the Bovines and their economic relations to man, as furnishing food, hides, tallow, horns, bones, and other products. In this chapter estimates are given of the cattle in the principal pastoral countries. The races of oxen, bison, and buffaloes, of different regions, are next described; their importance, both in the wild and domesticated state; the improvement made in the breeds in Britain and Europe; our meat supply from cattle ; the comparative consumption of meat in different countries; modes of drying meat; the dairy products, milk, butter, and cheese, are
briefly described, and statistics of production furnished. CATTLE AS Food PRODUCERS.—Having dealt with the ruminating mammals which are of the highest utility as wool-bearing animals (chiefly those of the Ovine race), we come now to speak of the Bovines, which are primarily useful to man as food-producers, although furnishing at the same time many other com mercial products of considerable value, in hides, tallow, horns and bones, &c. To civilised nations and many semi-civilised tribes, the possession of herds of cattle is of great importance. The pastoral wealth in some countries is indeed greater than can be profitably utilised locally, and the difficulty is, in such vast areas as Russia, parts of South America and Australia, to prepare the various flesh products in a form to be transported and profitably saleable in the densely populated States of Europe, where the demand for animal food and the raw materials for manufactures outstrip the supply.
The greater part of our domestic animals having been transported to America, have multiplied there prodigiously. The
STATISTICS OF CATTLE.
cow, the bull, the horse, the sheep, and the pig, are all species of the Old World, which were quite unknown in the New, and yet they may now be counted there by millions. So in the Australian colonies, where all these were only introduced less than a century ago, the pastoral wealth or live stock is still the leading characteristic of the various settlements.
Whilst the sheep will live and even fatten upon the poorest vegetation, the ox needs a richer and more nutritious diet to make flesh and fat for the butchers and the feast. In England, Holland, and many other parts of Europe, the ox feeds upon fat meadows where water is at hand.
Cattle are of value on more accounts than their flesh. The hide is an article of marketable price. Even the hoof and the hair have their uses, and hence are in demand in the great workshops of the world, where science and skill fashion into forms, available for some one or other of a thousand purposes, the material which, but for the thrift of modern industry, would be cast aside as waste.
The number of neat cattle belonging to the principal countries of Europe, according to the latest returns, is about 100,000,000. The States owning the largest number are, Russia, 23,000,000; France, 11,300,000 ; Austria and Hungary, 12,000,000 ; and the German empire nearly 16,000,000, of which Prussia has 8,600,000
The United States have 27,220,000 cattle, and the Dominion of Canada, 2,700,000. The River Plate States have about 22,000,000 head, of which Uruguay has 7,000,000, and Venezuela, Costa Rica, Chili, Brazil, and other American States a great many cattle.
It is by thousands that the Tartars of Mongolia count their flocks and herds, and there are chiefs who own more than 15,000, distributed over various points of the immense steppes, and guarded and directed to fresh pastures on horseback. From Africa and the Eastern countries we have less specific details of numbers. But we know that both in Central and Southern Africa there are large herds of cattle.
CATTLE IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES.
CATTLE in various countries according to the latest official returns. EUROPE.
500,000 Russia 1870, 22,770,COO There are
no reliable data for Sweden
1873, 2, 183, 394 Brazil, Venezuela, and the other Norway. · 1865, 950,000 South and Central American States, Denmark
but they possess a large number of German Empire . 1873, 15,776, 702 cattle. Saxony
132,666 Belgium . · 1866, 1,242,445
Algeria · 1861, 1,053,086 France 1872, 11,284,414 Cape Colony 1875,
1,097,506 Portugal 1870, 520,474
Dutch Republics Spain. 1865, 2,904,598
and Kafirs (estimate) 1,000,000 Italy 1874, 3,489, 125
501, 154 Austria Proper 1871, 7,425,212 Hungary
Mauritius Greece 1867,
29,545 109,904 Moldavia and
1873, 4,358, 105 Wallachia 1873, 1,886,990
British India (estimate) 30,000,000 Great Britain . . 1876,
1866, 6,000 Ireland 1875,
We have no reliable returns of the entire live stock of British India, but the number of horned cattle in the Ganges Valley must be enormous, judging simply from the export of hides from Calcutta, which occasionally exceeds six millions annually. When it is remembered that this quantity represents only the surplus stock that is left over from the Bengal Presidency after the wants of the entire native community have been supplied, we may safely assume
STATISTICS OF CATTLE.
that the total number of cattle equals, if it does not exceed, that of human beings in that part of India.
There are probably, according to a well-informed Indian paper, (the Delhi Gazette,) one hundred millions of horned beasts to be found between the Sutlej and Calcutta, a number which perhaps does not exist anywhere else on the globe, except in the pampas and prairies of North and South America. A more striking proof of the fertility of the Ganges Valley could not be given than the fact that, with a population per square mile greater than that of most European countries, it nevertheless supports a number of cattle only about a third less than is to be found in the whole of Europe.
There are now nearly twice as many cattle in the several British Colonies as there are in the mother country, for Australia and New Zealand possess 6,000,000; our African settlements and Indian Islands, 2,500,000; British North America and the islands of the west, 3,000,000 ; making a total of 11,500,000. In 1850 Australia only possessed 2,000,000 head of cattle, so that the number has trebled in a quarter of a century.
The Basutos, Kafirs, Fingoes, and other native tribes clustering about the eastern borderland of the Cape, own more than two million head of domestic animals, valued at £3,500,000, comprising more than half a million of horned cattle and 1,000,000 sheep. In the Dutch Free States and in Natal, there are also a large number.
There are four distinct kinds of horned cattle met with in Southern Africa. I. A coarse-boned, long-legged breed, with enormous horns. This is best calculated for the yoke or “treking” work, on account of its activity, and is known as the " Africander" breed. 2. A more fleshy and thick-set animal, with smaller horns and softer hoofs. This was originally imported from Holland, and is in high esteem for milking; it is known as the “Fatherland ” breed. 3. A diminutive active, and somewhat, humped animal, which is found chiefly among the natives, and which seems to have, with its masters, an inbred detestation of all kinds of artificial restraints. This ox is, in all probability, a
cross between an Asiatic quadruped and a Spanish beast from the Portuguese South American provinces; the tendency to rise in the back, being derived from the eastern side of the parentage. This is known as the Zulu breed. 4. A long-legged animal, with remarkably poor quarters, and with horns even bigger than the Africanders. This belongs to the Basuto or "Macatees” breed. This animal is not often seen, and is of very low value indeed.
In the neighbourhood of Lake Tchad, and in the kingdom of Bornou, cattle are kept in great abundance. They perform all the laborious business at home of carriage and tillage, the camel only being used for war and extensive journeys. They are the bearers of all grain to and from the markets.
Major Denham in his Travels tells us that a small saddle of plaited rushes is laid on him, when sacks made of goat skins, and filled with corn, are lashed on his broad and able back. A leather thong is passed through the cartilage of his nose, and serves as a bridle, while on the top of the load is mounted the owner, his wife, or his slave.
The long inherited habit of the South African native is a delight in horned cattle. The habit has grown up
motives. The natives are great milk drinkers. It is with cattle they buy their wives. And they have a gentlemanly liking for a fine animal, and especially for a swift racing ox. Then again a large, herd is a sign of wealth and respectability. It has not been the custom of the native to take a commercial view of horned cattle, unless in relation to wife-buying. But within the last few years a preference for sheep has shown itself, and on the sole ground of the profitableness of wool. The Kafir is actually beginning to barter away
his beloved and cherished cattle for an animal which promises to be remunerative.
The ox-hide is of indispensable utility for many purposes, both in South America and in Africa. In the former it is the principal material for the packages called “serons,” in which Paraguay tea,