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Farm Animals Used for Meat & Milk

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Unless you're a vegan, animal products are important parts of your daily sustenance. Surprisingly, the domestic animal species raised around the world for human consumption vary little. Severe climates and animal feed scarcity limit the types of animals raised in some parts of the world.

Modern Western Meat Animals

In the U.S. and Europe, cattle are raised for beef and veal. Common beef cattle breeds include Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn. Hogs are raised for pork. Hogs are slaughtered when they reach market weight, about 250 pounds, at about 6 months of age. Chickens are also raised for meat and eggs. Americans eat about 8 billion chickens each year. Exotic animals such as ostrich and bison are also raised for meat.

Other Meat Animals from Around the Globe

Australia and New Zealand are known for their sheep production. Meat from young sheep is called lamb. Meat from older sheep is called mutton. Goats are common meat animals in Africa and Asia. Rabbits are raised for their meat and fur in France, Italy, China and parts of South America. Because they don't require grain, an expensive animal feed, and reproduce quickly, rabbit farming is an important industry in developing countries such as Haiti.

Modern Western Milk Animals

Dairy cows produce about 23 billion gallons of milk each year in the U.S. On average, a cow can produce 7 gallons of milk each day. Only about 4 percent of the world's dairy goats are raised in developed countries. Goat's milk is easier to digest than cow's milk and is also used to make cheese.

Other Milk Animals from Around the Globe

Camels are common milk animals in North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. Camels are well suited to survive in arid conditions, hot or cold. Sudan and China raise about 67 million dairy sheep each year. Greece raises the most dairy sheep in Europe and uses the milk to make feta and other cheeses. Water buffalo are raised for milk in Asia and parts of Europe. Water buffalo milk is used to make mozzarella cheese in Italy and yogurt in Greece.