Livestock are nothing more than wild animals subjected to domestication by humans to better use them for human needs and to provide easier access to them. Animals kept close to people were a more reliable source of food (meat, milk, fat, eggs, honey, etc.), raw materials for clothing and other items – ornaments, tools, weapons, etc. (wool, leather, fur, feathers, bones, horns), and a source of fertiliser for soil fertilisation, and locally as fuel.
Only a tame animal could be used for work, both as a source of cheap-to-maintain labour – pack, draught, mount, and as a drive for mechanical devices (such as a horse mill), to help man with other activities, such as guarding, defence, hunting, or assisting with the breeding of other animals. The process began about 30000 years ago with the domestication of wolves (dogs) and ended with geese, rabbits and turkeys about 1000 years ago. Sheep and goats were domesticated about 9,000 years ago, and pigs and cattle about 5,000-7,000 years ago.
The domestication of animals changed people’s lives, enabled the growth of the human population, and the efficiency of production, and led to the creation of a complex social structure of farmers, artisans, soldiers and cultural creators. The domestication of animals was, and still is, related to the development of techniques for soil cultivation and use, transportation and a fundamental change in human nutrition, which has changed and continues to change the development of our population. On the other hand, many livestock means big problems in providing feed and managing manure, which can be a curse for water and air or the best thing for agricultural soils under a circular economy – it all depends on human decisions and actions.