From Husbandry To Science:
A Highly Significant Facet of Our Livestock Heritage
R. L. Willham - Iowa State University
Interesting paper examining the ramifications of contributions as husbandmen and then as scientists to the livestock world.
Some two million years ago, man became omniverous. Meat may be the single most important contribution of animals to the rapid cultural evolution of man. Meat eating allowed time for social interaction and tool development (Bronowski, 1973). Both aided humans in the transition to settled agriculture. But it was the ox that, when yoked to the scratch plow, gained for man the surplus food necessary to create civilizations.
Greek and Roman hornbooks, written by elder statesmen on their villas, recorded the art of husbandry (Harrison, 1917). These were later used by the Cistercian order of monks who extended their knowledge of sheep husbandry to Europe and became the first extension agents (Willham, 1984)`. Edward III, the royal wool merchant, laid the foundation for the "Empire of Wool" in England, which gave the English the experience to precipitate the agricultural and then the industrial revolution of later times (Ryder, 1983). The country gentlemen of Britain developed the pedigree breeding system and formed breeds of livestock complete with herdbooks in response to the markets of the industrial revolution (Pawson, 1957). But already much had transpired in the colonization of America, both by the Spanish and British.
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