In India, they are venerated almost as gods. In the ancient world they were used as money, a measure of wealth and a means of exchange; in some parts of the world they are still used this way. Cattle have, for thousands of years, been humanity's most valuable animal, so valuable, in fact, that to be caught stealing them was at times to forfeit one's life.

The word cattle once meant all kinds of domestic animals. The word comes from the Latin word capitale, which means wealth or property. Through French and English usage and adaptation, the word cattle is used now only when referring to bovines. People probably domesticated cattle somewhere in southwestern Asia during the early part of the New Stone Age.

A bovine is a ruminant, an animal whose stomach is divided into chambers and that brings its food up from one of the chambers after it has been swallowed to be rechewed and reswallowed, a process known as chewing the cud. It also has an even number of toes on its hoofs. Bovines have hollow horns. They belong to the family Bovidae, and most are of the genus Bos. European and most American cattle belong to the species Bos taurus. The humped cattle of Africa, India, China, and southeastern Asia, called zebus, have the scientific name Bos indicus.

The Holstein-Friesian is the most popular dairy breed in the United States. Nearly 90 percent of all dairy cows in this country have the black and white markings characteristic of the breed. The breed was developed in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands and in neighboring provinces of Germany. Holsteins are one of the oldest breeds. The single name Holstein is commonly used in the United States, while Friesian is commonly used in Europe.

One of the largest dairy breeds, a mature Holstein cow weighs about 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), but only weighs around 90 pounds at birth, after a gestation of approximately nine months. Their color patterns are of black and white or red and white. As a breed Holsteins are noted for producing the greatest volume of milk. However, their milk ranks among the lowest in butterfat percentage and total solids content.

In the late 1800ís there was enough interest among Holstein breeders to form associations to record pedigrees and maintain herdbooks. These associations merged in 1885, to found the Holstein-Friesian Association of America. In 1994 the name was changed to Holstein Association USA, Inc. The Association is the world's largest dairy cattle registry organization.

This, of course, doesn't take in the cuteness of cows as a factor. Moo!

MooWho is Moo? Moo is a holstein cow, of the miniature variety. He has been living with me since 1994. Moo is one very smart and adventuresome cow. He has been flying, though Moo says cows were never meant to fly... But he may change his mind if the trip is somewhere fun! He has been to the beach and has a picture of him with his friend Squirrely on the Summer page here. And yes, he uses sunscreen.Moo Moo is in charge of all the cows in my house. It's a very BIG job. He likes pizza with mushrooms, and he is afraid of aliens (for obvious reasons...) He has been to school and now works designing webpages. He just wanted to say hello to everyone! And hopes that you will come and visit again sometime. Bye!

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Copyright © 2001 Denise Hargrove
Veggies Rule! Be a cow, eat veggie!

Info referenced from Compton's Encyclopedia and Holstein Association USA