ANIMAL AGRICULTURE Unit 5
Terms in this set (100)
ANIMALS IN SOCIETY
Would you believe that the animal industry contributes $50 billion a year to the economy? That is a very large amount of money. Look around you. What things do you see that are related to animals? Do you have a pet? What is involved in keeping your pet happy and healthy? It definitely needs food. It might need a leash. Maybe you have a cat and have to buy kitty litter. When you purchase any of these products, you are contributing to the $50 billion that goes into the economy each year. Think about some other ways that you contribute to the $50 billion.
How many of your friends have pets? Are any of them fish, dogs, cats, rodents, or reptiles? It is likely that you know someone who has owned one or more of all these types of animals. The number of pets in the United States is staggering. Approximately how many pets would you guess there are in the United States?
Continue with the lesson to find out just how many pets there are and many ways that animals touch your life.
Determine the importance of animal systems in history.
Evaluate animal systems and determine their role in agriculture and society.
Compare the variety and scope of different managed animal systems.
animal husbandry the action of keeping, caring for, and breeding animals
artificial selection carefully mating animals to create and maintain specific breeds
invasive species species of organism introduced into an area where it is not naturally found; it competes with native species for available resources
selective breeding a form of artificial selection in which two animals are selected to mate because both parents have specific traits that the breeder wants to be present in the offspring
THE HISTORY OF ANIMAL SYSTEMS
Agriculture is said to be the foundation of civilizations because it is what brought people together to work toward a common goal. Keeping animals was a big part of this movement. There is evidence of agriculture and keeping animals from about ten thousand years ago; however, archeologists believe that it took three to four thousand years for the practices to become widespread.
Scientists believe that the advancement of agriculture over those three or four thousand years was due to both social and environmental change. As people came together, they shared ideas and developed systems to make agriculture more productive. At the same time, populations were growing and exerting pressure to meet the demands for meat and other animal-based products. The hunter could no longer efficiently meet all the needs of the people. Because of this, more attention was given to keeping animals. In the environment, as people became more settled, they also became more vulnerable to variations in the weather. For this reason, they needed to develop ways to store food and move food from one place to another. This increased trade and started building the economy.
Worldwide, the supply of certain foods was not and is still not evenly distributed. There are some areas where people do not have access to enough food to meet their needs. In other areas, agriculture has become highly specialized, and a variety of foods are not locally available. For these and other reasons, the global trade of animal-based products became very important.
Today, demand for food is changing, which will influence production and exports. The improved standard of living in developed countries and some emerging countries has given people more disposable income. This has resulted in an increase in worldwide demand for meat. In the past, grains made up the majority of food exports; today, this is not the case.
Currently, the meat and poultry industry make up the largest segment of the U.S. agricultural industry. In 2011, the U.S. produced 92.3 billion pounds of meat. It is expected that the demand for meat and animal-based products will continue to grow.
What role do you think animals played in the advancement of society?
Why do you think it is important that the global distribution of food is not consistent?
Animals and Their Role in the Agricultural Industry and Society
Animals play a big role in everyone's life. They provide food, companionship, jobs, and are used in many products. Animal-based businesses are a large part of the world's economic and social well-being. In the United States, animal farming is the largest segment of the agricultural industry.
The United States Department of Agriculture is responsible for overseeing the activities regarding animals in agriculture. They define five different segments of the animal agricultural industry. These include pork, dairy, beef, poultry, and alternative animals. The purpose of the animal agriculture industry is to raise animals to produce meat, milk, eggs, or other products, such as wool. You will often hear this segment of the agricultural industry called animal husbandry. This includes raising animals, harvesting animal products, processing the products, packaging the products, and making them available to consumers. Aquaculture is form of animal agriculture in which farmers raise fish, shrimp, and other water-dwelling animals. Some of the water-dwelling animals are raised as food; others are raised to be pets. Exotic animals are those that have not been domesticated. Quite often, they come from another country or the wild and are kept either as pets or raised for food.
Beekeeping is one of the oldest forms of animal husbandry. The care and manipulation of the bees and hives allow the bees to produce more honey than they need.
In the agriculture industry, animals like cows, pigs, chicken, turkeys, and ducks are raised as a source of food. Cows are kept for their meat or to produce milk, which can be used to make a number of different dairy products like cheese, butter, and yogurt. Sheep and alpaca are raised for their fur, which is used to make textiles or clothing. Traditionally, animals were free to graze fields or were able to run outside. As demand for animal products grew, farmers tried new ways of raising animals that were cheaper and produced higher yields. Today, free-range farms exist, but industrial farming is a more common practice.
Industrial farms can contribute to a number of health issues, including higher rates of infectious diseases, such as salmonella, that make both animals and humans sick.
In some industrial farms, animals are housed in large barns in crowded conditions and are provided with only what they need to survive. In these conditions, animals are often fed antibiotics to prevent the spread of infections and hormones to increase size, growth, or dairy yields.
This is not present in the application; this will need to be checked after it is placed.
Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rGBH) was approved for use by the FDA in 1994 and is now sold in all fifty states.
This injectable artificial hormone given to dairy cattle to increase milk production is still very controversial. Originally developed by the Monsanto company and sold under the brand name Posilac, this brand was sold in 2008 for $300 million to Eli Lilly and Company.
This growth hormone is not allowed in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and the European Union. It is, however, allowed in the U.S. The public outcry has caused some retailers in the U.S. to sell only rBGH-free milk.
Although rBGH milk tastes similar to regular milk and has comparable levels of protein, fat, sugar, vitamins, and minerals, it does contain higher levels of hormones. Some consumers are concerned that consuming additional hormones may have an adverse impact on human health. Independent studies conducted by the American Cancer Society on the safety of rBGH-treated milk are inconclusive.
Growth hormone can also cause health problems in cattle themselves. Dairy cattle treated with rGBH have been found to have higher rates of mastitis (infection of the teats) and therefore require more treatment with antibiotics. Milk sold in the U.S. is routinely tested, and any milk contaminated with antibiotics cannot be sold.
Cows treated with rBGH do produce fewer greenhouse gases compared to regular dairy cattle.
Since less feed is required of an rBGH cow for growth, the quantity of energy required to maintain them is lower.
Further, milking a dairy cow requires the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity as well as to power the machines required to grow the crops used as feedstuffs. Metabolism use in rBST cows decreases the quantity of energy used since they produce a higher quantity of milk.
Much controversy will continue in the future regarding human consumption of artificial growth hormone foodstuffs.
To date, the FDA does not require any special labeling of milk produced from cows injected with rBST. But several dairies have been charged with misbranding milk, stating their milk contains no hormones when it does. All milk, even regular milk, contains some hormones.
This controversy has sparked many retailers to proclaim their products are rBGH-free, including Costco, WalMart, Kroger, and even Ben & Jerry's ice cream. So as Americans begin to make informed decisions regarding the foods they consume, the emergence of farmers' markets and organic foodstuffs will continue to increase.
Did You Know?
Some critics of the national identification system for animals claim that the process is biased against small farmers by requiring them to pay a fee of $1 to $20 to tag each animal, while corporate factory farms pay by the herd.
Have you ever wondered how farmers keep track of all their animals? Did you know that there is a national identification system for farm animals? There is! The Plant and Animal Health Inspection Service, which is a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, maintains an identification system for farm animals. This system uses electronic tags that store the animal's identification number and information about the animal's owner. The system was put in place in 2007 with the goal to eventually make every animal traceable from farm to fork. The system was not mandatory, but since implemented, several states have made it mandatory. There is an initiative to make it mandatory for all states. The concerns for requiring it at a national level mostly revolve around the cost of registering animals. Large industrial farms are able to register a herd or flock of animals, whereas smaller farms must register animals individually. This puts more of a cost burden on small farmers.
Why would we need such a system? Animal tracking is nothing new. In the early days of farming, farmers would brand or tattoo the animals so there would be no dispute over ownership of the animal. Today, the system is an important tool to use to identify the source of contamination, disease, and even to prevent animal terrorism. Using the system, if the Food and Drug Administration identifies a problem with food, they can easily track it back to the source, contain the problem, and determine who may be in danger.
You may hear aquaculture referred to as fish farming. It is farming, but it involves much more than fish. Aquaculture raises and harvests many types of shellfish, fish, and some marine plants. Aquaculture may take place in human-made areas or in the open ocean. It involves freshwater species and ocean species. Raising fish for the pet trade is not considered aquaculture. An important component of aquaculture is that the farmer takes actions to improve the growth rate and quality of the species raised in captivity.
Open-ocean farmers use submerged nets, tanks, or cages to contain the species being raised. This exposes them to the natural environment. Sea ranching relies on the fish's natural instincts. Fishermen raise fish eggs in a certain area. Once the fish hatch and grow to a certain size, they are released. It is known that over 80 percent of fish species return to where they were hatched to spawn. During spawning season, fishermen line the area with nets. When the fish arrive back "home," the fishermen pull the nets and capture the fish. Ponds and containers can also be used in aquaculture. When the species are raised in an artificial environment, care must be taken to provide the best conditions in which they will thrive. In this situation, the farmer may use antibiotics to prevent the spread of diseases. In the open ocean or in near-shore environments, there is less likelihood of spreading disease because of dilution by ocean water and because fish containers are more separated. However, new technologies currently being considered, such as "roaming cages," may increase the likelihood of spreading disease.
Many Americans are happy pet owners. The benefits of owning a pet are well known. Research has shown that pets help lower blood pressure, fight depression, lower health care costs, and reduce some risks for heart disease. In the United States, the pet industry is worth $50 billion a year.
Pet sales take place in many different forms. Professional breeders carefully mate animals to create or maintain specific breeds. This is an example of what scientists call artificial selection. This is in contrast to natural selection, which occurs in nature by much slower, more random mating, and which eventually may form new species or subspecies. Artificial selection is human intervention in the selection process. This process involves choosing a specific mate with the genetics that will give the offspring a specific trait that the breeder feels is desirable. This type of breeding is often used in agriculture. Artificial selection can be done using technology; for example, the genomes (DNA profiles) of prospective parents can be compared and the best ones chosen. The simplest (and oldest) method of artificial selection is selective breeding, in which breeders choose the parents (for example, cow and bull) whose traits they want to see passed on. By keeping records over many generations, it is possible to develop and maintain specific breeds.
In the United States, specific breeds are very popular. Some breeds are considered "pure breeds" (purebred), which means the animals have only been bred with one specific species over many generations, and when bred with others of the same species or breed, they "breed true"—that is, they have predictable characteristics. An example could be a Siamese cat or a golden retriever. Other breeds are considered "hybrids" or "designer" pets. An example of this could be a cockapoo, which is the result of breeding a cocker spaniel and a poodle. All of these are examples of artificial selection.
U.S. pet ownership (millions)
Freshwater fish 151.1
Saltwater fish 8.61
Small animals 16
Have you known anyone who has a pet tarantula or monkey? These are exotic pets that are fairly popular. Not all exotic animals can be legally kept as pets. In the United States, most state governments set strict laws about what animals people can breed for sale and keep as pets. The United States Department of Agriculture regulates the breeding and sale of some exotic animals. For example, it is illegal to import non-human primates; however, you still hear of people keeping monkeys as pets. Before the ban was in effect, breeders already had thriving captive breeding programs. These programs were not illegal and still thrive today. It is illegal to move any big cats like bobcats, jaguars, and lions across state lines for the purpose of sale or trade.
Exotic pets can be very difficult to care for because they have unique food requirements and require special living conditions. If the animal becomes sick, it may be difficult to find a veterinarian that can treat it. Owners are often not prepared for the expense and time required to keep many exotic pets. Some exotic pets have been abandoned or released into the wild, which has caused damage to the environment. Most importantly, they are wild animals; they are not domesticated and can be dangerous. Furthermore, they are not adapted to living in cages or other confined conditions, and no matter how conscientious an owner is, such exotic pets are never happy. Most wildlife experts consider the selling and keeping of exotic pets to be not only illegal, but animal cruelty.
Case Study: The Burmese Python
The Burmese python is one of the largest snakes in the world. It is also a popular exotic pet. They are native to India, China, the Malay Peninsula, and some East Indian islands. Burmese pythons eat small animals, birds, and alligators. They can grow to be twenty-three feet long and two hundred pounds. Some can be as thick as a telephone pole. Pythons are constrictors and are generally not aggressive, but some have been known to attack pets or people. They live in areas where there is an abundance of water. They can be found in the water or in trees.
In south Florida, the Burmese python is a very troublesome invasive species. Invasive species are those that are introduced into a new environment and compete with local species for limited resources. Since the invasive species may have no natural predators in the area, they can often out-compete the native species.
In 1992, south Florida was hit by Hurricane Andrew, which caused an incredible amount of damage to many buildings. One building that was damaged was an exotic snake breeding facility. It is believed that some Burmese pythons escaped from the facility at this time. Wildlife officials also believe that people have released their pet Burmese pythons into the wild when they grew tired of them or felt they could not care for them anymore. As a result, the Burmese python has established a population in an area of south Florida called the Everglades, a national park with a very delicate ecosystem.
In the Everglades, the population of Burmese pythons is causing a decline in some small animal populations, including some endangered species. Worldwide, because of hunting and the animal trade, the Burmese python is considered a threatened species. In Florida, it now illegal to acquire Burmese pythons as pets. In the United States, they are considered an Injurious Species, so by law they cannot be imported or transported across state lines.
Originally from Southeast Asia, Burmese pythons are now upsetting the natural ecosystem of the Florida Everglades, which is experiencing a 99 percent decrease in the sightings of raccoons, opossums, bobcats, and rabbits. Since 2002, more than 1,800 pythons have been removed from the Everglades National Park.
Animals play important roles in many people's lives. Which role do you think is most important? Why?
If you were going to explain the role of animals in society, what would you say?
What do you think would be the consequences of allowing people to own any exotic pet without any regulation?
Career Corner: Large Animal Veterinarian
Large animal veterinarians treat many different kinds of livestock, like cows, sheep, pigs, horses, and more. Large animal veterinarians are doctors who are able to diagnose and treat disorders and diagnose disease that occurs in livestock. Since livestock is difficult to transport, large animal veterinarians work in the field and work long hours traveling to different farms, ranches, and industrial livestock farms. To become a large animal veterinarian, you need to be a veterinary doctor, which requires a bachelor's degree and a degree from a veterinary school. Completing college and veterinary school typically takes eight years.
In this lesson you have learned that:
animals provide food, companionship, jobs, and are used in many products;
the purpose of the animal agriculture industry, or animal husbandry, is to produce meat, milk, eggs, or other products by raising animals, harvesting animal products, processing the products, packaging the products, and making them available to consumers;
the five segments of the animal agricultural industry are pork, dairy, beef, poultry, and alternative animals; aquaculture raises and harvests shellfish, fish, and some marine plants;
it is important to track animals to easily locate the source of contamination or disease caused by contaminated animal products;
research has shown that pets help lower blood pressure, fight depression, lower health care costs, and reduce some risks for heart disease;
selective breeding is mating two animals based on their specific traits to produce animals that a customer needs or wants; and
exotic animals can be difficult to care for because they have unique food and living requirements and are not adapted to live in captive conditions.
Match the definition to the term.
1. animal husbandry
2. artificial selection
3. invasive species
4. selective breeding
1. the action of keeping, caring for, and breeding animals
2. carefully mating animals to create and maintain specific breeds
3. species of organism introduced into an area where it is not naturally found; it competes with native species for available resources
4. a form of artificial selection in which two animals are selected to mate because both parents have specific traits that the breeder wants to be present in the offspring
Which of the following best explains why early societies started keeping livestock rather than hunting for meat?
Hunters gathered less meat than the community needed.
Hunting animals for food is part of animal husbandry.
Which of the following animals are NOT considered livestock?
Which of the following resources do goats contribute to society?
Which of the following is always a characteristic of aquaculture as a type of farming?
Only ocean species are raised and harvested in aquaculture operations.
A purebred pet results from which of the following types of mating?
two of the same breed bred through artificial selection, mating only members of the same breed for many generations
Which of the following is an example of artificial selection?
Artificial selection focuses on passing certain traits onto offspring while selective breeding focuses on an animal's breed. A farmer places all of his pigs together and allows breeding to occur randomly.
Which of the following is NOT a benefit of owning pets?
preventing allergic reactions
Which of the following animals would be considered an exotic pet?
Burmese pythons have caused a disruption in the Everglades because they are not native to the area.
CLASSIFICATION AND THE BREEDING OF ANIMALS
Have you ever thought about how things are similar and how they are different? Do you ever place things in categories to help organize them? Many people do. If you do this, you are using a system of classification. Think about what a mess our lives would be without different systems of classification. If you went to the grocery store and things were all just randomly placed on the shelves, it would take you forever to find all the things you need. To make sure this does not happen, grocery stores organize foods into groups and place them together. There may be different kinds of cereal, but they are all in the same place on the same aisle. This is an example of classification.
Did you know that scientists place a dog and a duck in the same general category? What makes a duck different from a dog? Where do you start to answer that question? A duck and a dog are nothing at all alike. Would you believe that they have several things in common? Scientists use everything they know to classify living things into categories that make science more organized. They use things they can see and observe and also look at specific things like DNA, which contains the specific instructions to allow living things to grow and reproduce.
Let's continue with the lesson to see how scientists classify living things and learn more about DNA and the role it plays in life.
Compare and contrast the classification of different animals.
Discuss genetics and how it is important in animal systems.
Describe cloning and artificial selection.
Discuss some careers that relate to animals and animal breeding.
DNA large molecule found in every cell, which contains genetic information (all the instructions the organism needs to grow and function)
cloning a scientific process that results in the creation of an exact copy of an organism
genetics a branch of science where scientists study genes and heredity
taxon any level of the system of scientific classification of living things
taxonomy system of scientific classification of living organisms
Imagine that you threw all your clothes—shirts, pants, socks, underwear, and anything else you wear—in a huge pile on the floor. After you do, your sister comes in and asks you for a pair of green socks. How long do you think it would take you to sort through the big pile and find one? Now, imagine that your friend calls and needs to borrow a shirt. You grab a T-shirt and head over to their house. When you get there, your friend explains that they need your white dress shirt with the short sleeves. How could you have known that? Your friend was not very specific.
You can see even in these simple examples that it is important to be organized. Scientists also need to be organized. Scientists estimate there are over 8.74 million different species on Earth; most of them have not been discovered yet. They have discovered more than 1.2 million species. With that many species, you can see it would be very important to find a way to organize them.
Vertebrate Species on Earth #
Mammals, such as humans, whales, elephants, kangaroos, dolphins, cows, rats, etc. 5490
Birds, such as pheasants, turkeys, chicken, eagles, parrots, etc. 9,998
Reptiles, such as turtles, crocodiles, snakes, lizards, etc. 9.084
Amphibians, such as frogs, toads, salamanders, etc. 6,433
Fishes, such as carp, bass, crawfish, herring, shark, etc. 31,300
Invertebrate Animals #
Insects, such as beetles, grasshoppers, roaches, etc. 1 million
Arachnids, such as black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, hobo spiders, sand scorpions, garden scorpions, forest scorpions, etc. 102,248
Mollusks, such as squids, slugs, octopuses, clams, etc. 85,000
Crustaceans, such as shrimps, crabs, lobsters, etc. 47,000
Corals, such as elkhorn, brainhorn, etc. 2,175
Living things are classified into groups. They are grouped with other species that they have things in common with.
In the 19th century, the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus proposed a system of classification that uses seven different levels. Each level is called a taxon. The levels are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Using this system, organisms are grouped by what they have in common. A kingdom has a large number of organisms in it that have some important things in common but are otherwise very different from each other. As you move down each taxonomy level, the organisms have more in common. This means that the most specific category is species. Each species can produce offspring only when mating with another individual in this group. Linnaeus also proposed that we give each species a very specific name consisting of two words. The first tells us the genus. The second tells us the species. Each species would have a unique scientific name. A type of organism might have many common names, but it has only one scientific name; it cannot be confused with any other type.
This system of scientific classification is highly specific. It helps scientists keep order and gives them a way to keep track of what species they are referring to. If the system were not so specific, it would be difficult for scientists to work together and communicate. Let's look at some examples.
This is the classification for the gray wolf.
Species: C. lupus
Sometimes a group of organisms is very similar to another group—they can still breed with each other—but they still have differences. Then, they may be classified into a different subspecies, and a third name is added to the classification. This is the case with domestic dogs. For example, this is the classification for a Labrador retriever.
Species: C. lupus familiaris
You can see that the retriever and the gray wolf have a good bit in common. That makes sense if you look at them. But dogs are domesticated, giving them many characteristics not found in wolves. All domestic dogs are classified into the subspecies familiaris. Now let's look at the classification for the killer whale.
Species: O. orca
If you compare these three animals, you can see that the killer whale, which looks nothing like the gray wolf or Labrador retriever, still belongs to the same kingdom, phylum, and class. They are all mammals.
What factors do scientists use to decide how to classify an organism?
Why do you think classification of living things is important?
Which taxon is the most specific? Which is the most general?
Having specific names gives scientists ways to identify each different species. Another important way to identify a species is by looking at their DNA, which contains the information needed to give the animal its specific traits. The structure of DNA was discovered in 1953, so DNA classification is a relatively new technique. But it is much more specific and precise than classification by observed traits. In agriculture and other animal industries, knowing about an animal's DNA has become very important. Examining DNA has given scientists one more tool to use to classify organisms.
DNA is a large molecule found in the nucleus of a cell. It is the genetic material containing all the instructions the organism needs to grow and function. DNA is organized into structures called chromosomes. Chromosomes determine specific traits of an individual. For example, people have 23 pairs of chromosomes; the 23rd pair determines whether the person is male or female. In each pair of chromosomes, one comes from the mother and the other comes from the father. In each pair of chromosomes, there is genetic information from each of the parents of the offspring.
GENETICS IN ANIMAL SYSTEMS
Genetics is a branch of science where scientists study genes. DNA is the building blocks for genes. Genes are the building blocks of chromosomes. Geneticists study the DNA of many different organisms, including animals. All members of a species have the same genes. But within the species, there are variations. This is because there are different forms of each gene, which produce different traits (different colored eyes or hair, for example). Each specific animal's gene forms determine the traits that it will have. The DNA of different animals may be very similar, with just a few differences. This is why in a population of a given species, they all have the same general traits but individual differences. For example, all humans have the same basic body systems. However, you will find that they all have a multitude of different traits. If you look around, you will see humans with curly hair or straight hair, different eye color, skin colors, and much more. They may look different but are all the same species.
Farmers and breeders have long recognized that the parents will pass along traits to their offspring. Not all traits will be passed from a parent to an offspring. The offspring will have a mix of traits from each parent. Because of this, farmers can mate two animals with desirable traits, and the offspring will have a mix of these traits. In the animal industry, this is a common practice. It is called selective breeding, which is a form of artificial selection (selection for different traits that is produced by human interference, rather than selection by nature). Breeding is a big part of any industry relating to animals.
Animal breeding has been going on since the early days of farming. Animal breeding as a science took off in the 1930s. The U.S. government makes funding available for research in animal breeding. Today, most research takes place at land-grant universities. The science of animal breeding has created superior lines of animals such as pigs, cows, and sheep. These animals bring in higher yields and higher profits for farmers.
Breeding on a small scale for companion animals does not usually use high-tech genetic analysis. Most of the time, small-scale breeders keep track of desirable traits by using pedigree charts. A pedigree chart can be used to keep track of how a specific trait is passed down through generations. By looking at a pedigree chart, you can estimate the likelihood of specific traits being passed on.
As technology improves, so does the science of animal breeding. Today it is a field that involves biotechnology. Genetic engineering has existed since 1972, when scientists developed a method for cutting and splicing genes to form "recombinant DNA," or DNA with genes from other organisms. It is now used extensively to alter the traits of agricultural plants and animals to provide greater yields, pest resistance, and so on. In 1996, scientists cloned a sheep. Cloning involves a scientific process that results in the creation of an exact copy (clone) of a single parent animal. That is, it is asexual reproduction because it involves cells from a single parent, rather than fusion of an egg and sperm.
Dolly became famous as the world's first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.
Since Dolly has the same DNA as her parent, she is genetically identical.
Although frogs, mice, and even cows had been cloned from embryonic DNA in the lab, Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.
The purpose in cloning this sheep was to produce medicines in the milk of farm animals, such as blood-clotting agents.
Scientists in Scotland made 277 different attempts at cloning a six-year-old Dorset white sheep prior to producing Dolly.
They used an udder cell from the Dorset sheep, injected it into an unfertilized egg cell with its nucleus removed from a Scottish Blackface ewe, and fused the cells by using electrical pulses.
The scientists then cultured the resulting cell for six days to see if it divided and developed normally into an embryo.
The resulting embryo was implanted into a surrogate mother, another Scottish Blackface ewe who, 148 days later, gave birth to a white-faced Dolly.
Although 29 embryos developed and were implanted into 13 surrogate mothers from the original 277 cell fusions, only one pregnancy went full term. The result was Dolly.
Cloning is often a source of debate. Most people have no idea that scientists have been cloning animals since 1996. By 2001 the practice became more widespread in the agricultural industry. Scientists have cloned pigs, sheep, cattle, and goats. Many people have inaccurate perceptions of what cloning is and how it is done. Cloning takes the DNA from one animal and uses it to create an embryo that is an exact genetic copy of the animal. The embryo is then implanted in a female animal, and the embryo will grow and be born just like any other animal would. The animal that is born is an exact copy of the animal that the DNA was taken from.
In 2001, the U.S. government asked farmers to keep cloned animals out of the food supply. In 2002, the government announced that after a year of research they found that clones did not present any health risks in the food supply. Meat and milk from clones was deemed safe for consumption. In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the ban on cloning in the food supply; however, at this time the Department of Agriculture asked farmers to keep cloned meat and milk out of the food supply until further research could be done.
Cloned animals are very expensive. Their primary purpose is to be used for breeding. It is not likely that a cloned animal will end up in the food supply. However, as of 2010, the FDA stated that descendants from clones might already have entered the food supply. The FDA also stated that there was no evidence that this meat or dairy was not safe. Cloned meat does not require any special labeling. It is quite possible that you have eaten cloned meat and not known it.
Cloning is not the only type of genetic engineering. Scientists are altering the genes of animals to try to create super-breeds. Some projects underway include trying to engineer goats to make high-protein milk, engineering cockroaches to be used as scouts in military operations, and engineering pigs to grow human organs for transplantation. These all sound very wild, but genetic engineering is a way to increase yield and solve some difficult problems. Genetic engineering is already widely used in plant species. As scientists make progress, it may also become common in animal breeding.
A more common way farmers produce high-quality animals is through selective breeding. Today most breeding of farm animals and horses does not take place the natural way, with two animals put together to mate. It is more common to use a process called in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination. Artificial insemination involves taking sperm from a male animal and inserting it into the female in the hope of achieving a pregnancy. Artificial insemination is not that different from the natural process of mating. What differs is how the sperm is delivered. In vitro fertilization is more complex. During this process, the egg and sperm are joined outside the female's body. This creates an embryo, which is then implanted back into the female's body to grow. These procedures allow breeders to fertilize the egg with sperm from an animal that is not at the same location as the female. Sperm can be frozen and kept for a period of time. A breeder can order sperm and use it to impregnate his female animals.
What role do genetics play in the animal industry?
Why is selective breeding important?
What do you think would be the advantages of using in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination?
Career Corner: Careers in Animal Reproduction
Animal breeders play an important role in an industry that involves animals. Some examples are breeders who specialize in horse breeding, dairy cow breeding, companion pet breeding, and breeding wild animals in captivity. The type of breeder you would be would determine the environment in which you worked. Breeders can work running their own business, work for a large farming corporation, or even work at the zoo. To become an animal breeder you must understand the science of heredity and how traits are inherited. Breeders must also understand animal anatomy and physiology, animal health, and animal behavior and psychology. Many animal breeders learn on the job working with other breeders. Some small companion breeders may learn from self-study. If you were working for a large corporation that breeds animals like horses or cattle, you should have a degree in animal science.
Genetics is the study of genes and heredity. An animal geneticist specializes in the genetics of animals. Animal geneticists are scientists. They study genes and why animals look or act certain ways. They may study disease or animal immunity. Animal geneticists often work for pharmaceutical companies that make drugs for animals. Most animal geneticists specialize in one particular area; a geneticist might be an expert on animal disease, on a specific animal, or even on animal reproduction. To become an animal geneticist, you will need to earn a doctoral degree.
In this lesson you have learned that:
scientists organize all living things with a system of classification called a taxonomy;
the levels, or taxons, in this system are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species;
a scientific name consisting of the genus and the species name uniquely identifies a type of organism;
DNA is the genetic material found in the nucleus of a cell and contains all the instructions needed for an organism to grow and function;
DNA is organized into structures called chromosomes, which organisms inherit from both the father and the mother to produce a mix of traits;
cloning is an expensive process that uses DNA to make an exact copy of an organism for breeding purposes; and
selective breeding is a more common way to breed animals and usually done through artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.
Match the definition to the term.
2. a scientific process that results in the creation of an exact copy of an organism
4. any level of the system of scientific classification of living things
3. a branch of science where scientists study genes and heredity
5. system of scientific classification of living organisms
1. large molecule found in every cell, which contains genetic information
Which of the following correctly arranges the taxa of the biological classification system, ranking them from the broadest to the most specific?
kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species
Each level of the classification system is known as a(n) _________
Canidae defines which taxon for both gray wolves and dogs?
Chordata is the classification of which taxonomic level for a killer whale?
Gray wolves and killer whales share which of the following taxa?
Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia
Chromosomes are composed of the molecule DNA, which forms ______ on chromosomes.
Which of the following terms identifies a scientific process that results in the creation of an exact copy of an organism?
Which of the following distinguishes why gray wolves and Labrador retrievers are still classified as the same species?
Gray wolves and Labrador retrievers can mate and produce offspring.
If two cows mate and create an offspring, which of the following distinguishes the offspring's genetics?
The offspring will combine characteristics of both its mother and its father.
Outline two traits that farmers might want to selectively breed into their livestock and explain why.
Two traits that farmers might want to selectively breed into their livestock are one selective breeding because it controls what type of animal the farmer wants the animal to be. The desirable traits. Another one is Cloning. Cloning can make high protein food and to increase yield and solve some difficult problems.
ANIMAL BEHAVIOR AND HEALTH
If you get mad at someone, do you frown? If you are happy, do you smile? It's likely that you never thought about why you smile or frown. You do not go through the process in your head where you think about wanting to smile and then make yourself do it. The same is true about frowning. These behaviors are automatic; you did not have to learn them. There are also many behaviors that you had to be taught, like using the toilet or how to write.
Have you ever been to a petting zoo? Have you noticed some behaviors that animals do that are automatic while others seem to be learned? The noise an animal makes is something it knows how to do at birth. Hunting or finding food is something an animal has to learn. At the petting zoo, they have learned that people bring them food. They will often eat the food right out of your hands. When you enter and leave a petting zoo, you are told to wash your hands. If you go to the petting zoo a number of times, hand washing will become a habit that you will not give much thought to. Did you ever wonder why hand washing is so important in places like zoos? You need to do so because some infections can be transferred from animals to humans and from humans to animals.
Let's move on with the lesson to learn more about animal behavior and animal health.
Describe and give examples of different types of animal behaviors.
Compare and contrast the quality of life for animals in industrial farms vs. animals on free-range farms.
Give examples of diseases that can be passed from animals to humans.
classical conditioning a method of teaching a behavior through a system of reward or punishment
free-range farms farms where animals are kept in as close to natural conditions as possible
habituation a method of learning where the subject learns to stop reacting to a stimulus when it happens over and over again; there is no reward or punishment associated with the stimulus
industrial farms farms that try to produce the highest yields with the least cost
innate behaviors behaviors that you are born knowing how to do
insight learning applying a learned behavior to a new situation
operant conditioning a method of teaching that uses associations to create an automatic response to a stimulus
zoonotic disease a disease that can be naturally transferred between animals and humans
You can learn a good bit about an animal by watching how it responds to things in the environment. There are certain behaviors that are learned and others that animals are born with. A behavior that an animal is born with is called an innate behavior. We often refer to these behaviors as being instinctive (or sometimes instinctual). Many animals exhibit instinctive behavior. Let's take a look at some examples of both learned and instinctive behavior.
Migration in birds is an innate behavior. Certain times of the year, temperature changes, and other factors trigger some birds to fly to another location for a period of time. Many birds, like blue jays and hummingbirds, migrate from the colder northern regions to the warmer southern regions to find food and avoid the cold. They instinctively know when to migrate and the route to take.
All animals mate to reproduce. In order to do so, they need to attract a partner. Courtship consists of the actions the animal takes to attract the mate. Some animals will send out chemical signals, make specific noises, or even perform elaborate motions to attract a mate. These are not learned behaviors; they are innate behaviors.
Much (but by no means all) of an animal's social behavior is innate. For example, some animals, like eagles, mate with the same bird for life. Other animals, like horses, show no preference for one particular mate. Another example of social innate behavior is raising their young. Cuckoos are birds that lay their eggs in another bird's nest. Then eggs hatch and are raised by the bird that is in the nest, not by their parents. On the other hand, right whales give birth and keep their calves beside them and take care of them for about three years. Being a solitary or a pack animal is another example of innate behavior. The jaguar is a solitary animal that lives its adult life alone, making contact with others of his kind only to mate. Tigers, leopards, and cheetahs are also solitary. Lions are animals that live in a community of animals called a pride. Fish are another example. Some fish stay together in groups we call schools. The more complex an animal's brain is, the more complex its behavior and the less likely it is to function entirely on instinct. Thus, much of the behavior of animals with large, complex brains, such as whales and chimpanzees, is learned rather than instinctive.
The way animals communicate is often, but not always, an innate behavior. Some animals use sounds to communicate. Some birds (such as flycatchers) know their songs instinctively. But others (including wrens, sparrows, thrushes, and warblers) learn their songs from others. Others use behavioral or chemical signals to communicate. These are not learned. When the animal is born, they already know how to communicate with others. Some animals are territorial. This means they protect the area where they live and do not want others like them to come into their territory. One example of a territorial animal is a dog. This is why dogs bark at other dogs on their property. Male birds define the boundaries of their territories by moving around the territory and singing at different spots to warn away other males.
Animals learn by watching others. For many animals, behaviors like hunting are learned behaviors that they are taught by their parents. Learned behaviors fall into one of four categories: classical conditioning, habituation, operant conditioning, and insight learning.
Any behavior learned because of a reward or punishment would be considered classical conditioning. With classical conditioning, the reward or punishment is associated with a specific behavior. For example, if your dog knows he will receive a treat for doing a trick, he will do the trick for you. Your dog may also know that if he jumps on people, he will be removed from the room. He wants to be with you, so he does not jump.
If an animal ignores a stimulus and does not react to it because the animal knows there is neither a reward nor a punishment, the animal has learned through habituation. For example, during the day, you get up from your chair and go into the kitchen a number of times. Your dog knows that in the morning, he gets fed breakfast. In the morning, when you get out of your chair, the dog follows you because he knows he will be fed. (This is an example of classical conditioning.) The rest of the day, your dog does not follow you into the kitchen when you get up. This shows that the dog is ignoring the fact that you are going into the kitchen because he knows that the only time that he gets food is in the morning. Following you into the kitchen at another time will not provide the reward of food. The dog is habituated to your entering the kitchen at later times.
Operant conditioning is similar to classical conditioning. In operant learning, the subject develops a reaction to a stimulus. This reaction or response is an automatic response. If your dog starts drooling when you take out the bag of dog food, then he has learned through operant conditioning that when you take out the bag, he will soon receive the reward of food. Now, every time you take out the dog food bag, he will drool, whether he is actually going to be fed or not. The behavior is drooling, and the bag is the stimulus.
© 2009 Glynlyon, Inc.
Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered that whenever his lab assistant entered the room, the dogs associated the lab assistant with food. Then he began ringing a bell whenever the dogs were fed. The dogs learned to associate the bell with being fed, and they salivated in response, a conditioned response.
Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered that whenever his lab assistant entered the room, the dogs associated the lab assistant with food. Then he began ringing a bell whenever the dogs were fed and the dogs learned to associate the bell with being fed and they salivated in response, a conditioned response.
Insight learning occurs when an animal takes something they have learned and applies it to a new situation. For example, one day you leave a cupcake on the counter and go out. Your dog wants to eat the cupcake so he barks at it, which does nothing. Next, he tries to reach it with his paw, which does not work. Then, he jumps up and puts his front paws on the counter, which makes him tall enough to reach the cupcake. The next week, you leave a box of dog treats on a shelf in the garage. Your dog spots them and jumps right up to reach them. Your dog did not go through the trial and error sequence like he did with the cupcake. He has already learned that to reach something higher up, he has to jump up. When he encountered the situation in the garage, he applied what he knew about how to reach things to the new situation without having to go through the trial-and-error phase he did with the cupcake.
There are four types of learning usually defined in wild animals. These types of learning can also be seen (and taught) in captive or domesticated animals. They are imprinting, habituation, associative learning, and cognitive learning.
Imprinting occurs as a part of natural selection designed as an instinct for survival in newborns. Due to the threat of predators, the offspring immediately after hatching recognize and follow the mother.
Imprinting is the recognition by a baby animal (usually a bird) of an individual as its parent. The baby imprints on the first animal it sees, which is usually the mother. Think of a mother duck followed by a row of ducklings. Each duckling imprinted on her when it hatched. The babies associate the mother with food and protection. But if the baby sees something or someone else first, it will imprint on that instead. Behaviorists have allowed birds (including geese and ducks) to imprint on them to better study this behavior.
Habituation occurs when an animal is subjected to the same stimulus over and over until they stop reacting to it. They lose their sensitivity to the stimulus, which allows them to concentrate instead on other stimuli that are more important to their survival. For example, humans tend to "tune out" sounds that are always present in the environment. These become "background noise." An example might be traffic noise in the city. Prairie dogs give alarm calls every time a predator is sighted. Those living near humans, however, soon stop giving alarm calls when they see people because they have become habituated to people and know that people are not a threat.
Associative learning occurs when an animal associates one thing, such as a pattern, sound, or type of organism, with either positive or negative consequences, and alters its behavior accordingly. For example, most animals learn to recognize predators by sight and associate them with danger. Birds who feed on the orange-and-black monarch butterfly find that it tastes terrible. They then avoid eating orange-and-black butterflies, including the viceroy, which looks very similar to the monarch. They have associated the color pattern with the bad taste.
Cognitive learning (which is common in humans) is the most complex form of learning and probably does not occur in all animals. However, we are discovering that it occurs in many more than we once thought. It involves learning and storing information from different sources, then combining that information in different ways to solve problems. Chimpanzees using sticks and other objects as tools to obtain food is one example. Dolphins learning complex tricks or behaviors is another.
CARING FOR ANIMALS
Imagine you have six dogs. Would it be a good idea to keep them all in a small cage and just give them food and water? No, of course you would not do this. Do you think that it is a good idea to do this with chickens, pigs, or cows?
There are two basic ways to keep farm animals. You can house them inside and give them food and water, or you can let them roam in the fields, grazing on grass and drinking from a trough of water. Which seems like it would be the best idea?
Free-range farms are farms on which the animals are free to move around as they wish within a large area. In free-range farming, the animals are exposed to fresh air and sunlight. One example of free-range farming is when sheep or cattle farmers allow their animals to graze on natural grasses in the open fields. Free-range farming is considered to be the most natural and humane way to treat animals. The goal of the free-range farmer is to keep the animal in as close to its natural environment as possible. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive way to farm, and it often offers the lowest yield, which results in less income for the farmer.
How could you balance the need to keep animals in a way that is cost-effective but also gives them some quality of life?
Imagine a farm where animals are kept in an enclosure. They eat feed that is not what they would naturally eat. They go to the bathroom on the floor of the cage, and their waste sits there until it liquefies and drips down into a collection system. The air quality is less than adequate, and infections can spread quickly, so they are given antibiotics constantly to prevent them from becoming sick. Some are given hormones to make them grow faster or produce more milk. These farms consider the animal's worth only as a producer of income for them. We call these types of farms industrial farms or factory farms because they are designed to produce the highest yields at the least cost.
ANIMAL SICKNESS AND DISEASE
Children are particularly susceptible to contracting salmonella from chickens or other carrier animals because kids readily put fingers in their mouth without washing their hands first. Chickens can carry salmonella in their droppings, feathers, on their feeding dishes—wherever they are present.
Some animals can carry diseases that can make humans sick. Chickens can carry the bacteria salmonella. If the bacteria get into a human's system, they multiply and cause illness. Cows can carry a strain of the bacteria E. coli, which can cause bloody diarrhea in humans. It is not just farm animals that carry disease; companion animals and wild animals also carry contagious diseases.
When a disease can be passed from animals to humans, or vice versa, it is called a zoonotic disease. Farm animals like cows, sheep, pigs, goats, and chickens have been known to carry zoonotic diseases. There are several zoonotic diseases; let's take a look at some of the most common and the most serious.
Mad Cow Disease
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is an unusual type of disease that affects the nervous system. It is not bacterial or viral. It is caused by an infection with an altered protein called a prion. How the infection is transferred is not yet understood. The infected cow ends up with severe damage to its brain, which alters its behavior and eventually causes death.
Researchers believe that there is a strong connection between mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), which is a human prion disease. Outbreaks of CJD have been associated with exposure to meat infected with mad cow disease. In the United States, any cow that is "down" or otherwise showing signs of mad cow must, by law, be destroyed immediately and removed from the food supply.
Salmonella is a bacterium carried in the intestinal tracts of animals, including humans. It is contracted usually by eating food contaminated with infected feces. Meat, especially chicken, and eggs are the most common source of infection, but vegetables can also harbor the bacteria: any food that is not handled properly can become contaminated. This is why it is important for anyone preparing foods to wash their hands frequently and especially after using the toilet. Salmonella infection in humans causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that last up to a week. Most people recover fully without medical intervention, but in people without strong immune systems, such as children or the elderly, salmonella can be fatal. Many salmonella strains are resistant to antibiotics. The best way to avoid infection is to thoroughly cook all foods.
Brucella is a bacterium that can be carried by farm animals. Brucellosis symptoms in humans include fever, nausea, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Some of these symptoms may be recurring, even after the bacterial infection is cured. The treatment for brucellosis is antibiotics. Death from this infection is rare.
Campylobacter can be found in dogs, cats, and farm animals. The symptoms in humans include fever, bloody diarrhea, and cramps. The disease can be passed to humans through infected meat or contact with the feces of an animal that carries the bacteria. Antibiotic treatment will cure the infection.
When you hear the term rabies, you usually think of a disease that is associated with wild animals. This is true; however, any mammal can be infected with rabies. Rabies is a viral disease spread through fluid exchange, usually by means of a bite. The symptoms begin with fever and a headache and progress to confusion and restlessness, and finally resulting in death if treatment is not received. House pets can be vaccinated to prevent a rabies infection. The vaccination must be repeated every one to three years, depending on the type of vaccination the pet receives. If you are bitten by a wild animal or a stray, it is imperative that you receive the rabies vaccine right away.
There are many different types of influenza viruses. It is likely that at one point in your life you have been or will be infected with one of them. Two types of influenza virus that can be transferred from animals to humans are the bird flu (carried by birds) and the swine flu (carried by pigs). The symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Doctors can give medicine to treat the symptoms, but your body will need to fight off the virus.
The best way to prevent infection is to be cautious and aware. In the case of bacterial and viral infections, washing your hands after contact with an animal will help. It is always a good idea to avoiding close quarters or contact with animals you do not know to be healthy. Keeping your pets vaccinated for rabies is very important.
Which of the sicknesses discussed above do you think you might have the highest risk of coming in contact with? Why?
What can people who come in contact with these animals do to prevent infection?
Career Corner: Animal Welfare Officer
You may hear an animal welfare officer called an animal control officer. The positions are the same. Animal welfare officers investigate suspected and known cases of animal abuse. They are also responsible for making sure the laws that apply to animals are enforced. Many states require that you complete a training program similar to the police academy. There are states that require that you pass a certification exam. Animal welfare officers must know how to recognize the signs of abuse and know about health in a wide variety of animals. Officers usually work for a county, state, or federal agency. Others work for humane societies. They are considered part of law enforcement.
In this lesson you have learned that:
innate behaviors are ones that an individual is born with; in animals this includes social behavior, communication, courtship rituals, and migration;
domesticated animals learn through classical conditioning, habituation, operant conditioning and insight learning;
animals in nature learn from their parents or from exposure to stimuli through imprinting, habituation, associative learning, or cognitive learning;
industrial farms operate by trying to produce the highest yields at the lowest cost;
free-range farms keep animals in a manner that is close to their natural environment, which produces lower yields and profits but is more beneficial for the animals; and
zoonotic diseases can be transferred between animals and humans; examples include mad cow disease, salmonellosis, brucellosis, campylobacteriosis, influenza, and rabies.
Send Farmer Frank to the farthest reaches of the galaxy by helping him complete his spaceship.
Use the hints to solve each puzzle and send Farmer Frank out of this world.
Remember, each wrong answer you select will make it harder for Frank to build his spaceship.BEGIN
Zoonotic disease is a disease that can be naturally transferred between animals and humans.
Animals are born with which of the following types of behaviors?
Which of the following animals follows an innate behavior to live in large groups of the same species?
A bird learning not to eat a viceroy butterfly because it looks like a monarch is an example of which type of learned behavior?
Which type of learned behavior occurs only in animals with large, complex brains?
Match the learned behavior with the type of teaching/learning technique employed.
1. a horse allows a bit to be placed in its mouth and gets a piece of fruit
2. a dog barks at the sight of a food bag
3. a cat eats human food when its owners are not looking
2. classical conditioning
1. insight learning
3. operant conditioning
Which of the following is most likely an innate (instinctive), rather than a learned, behavior?
Eagles and whooping cranes mate for life.
Which of the following is NOT a reason why many farmers choose industrial farming over free-range farming?
Industrial farming may be more ethical than free-range farming.
Match the disease with its definition.
1. mad cow disease
1. a disease that affects the nervous system that is neither bacterial nor viral
3. a viral disease transferred from mammal to mammal by a bite
2. a bacterial disease passed through contact with infected meat or feces
Which of the following explains why it is mandatory for pet owners to vaccinate their pets against the rabies virus?
Rabies can cause death if not treated immediately, and curing the virus after incubation is impossible.
Which of the following describes how brucella infections and campylobacteriosis are similar?
Both are caused by bacteria and can be treated by antibiotics.
ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
If you have a dog, have seen horses in stables, or know someone who has a pet reptile, you know about all the good and joy that can come from owning companion animals. If you eat eggs for breakfast, steak for dinner, and ice cream for dessert, you are fully aware of how livestock can benefit your life. When you see a beautiful bird fly by or laugh at some squirrels playing in the trees, you realize how much wildlife brings to our lives.
Do you think that having a pet could damage the environment? It seems like a crazy idea. Did you ever think about how much environmental damage comes from raising the chickens that lay the eggs you ate for breakfast? Did you ever think about how wild animals might hurt the environment? The companion-animal industry, livestock industry, and even wild animals can harm the environment, and in this lesson you'll learn how these industries and animals can put the condition of the environment at risk.
Evaluate the environmental impacts of animals.
Discuss and cite examples of the impact of invasive species.
Assess a situation to determine the best livestock-management practice to use in order to minimize environmental damage.
Explain carrying capacity.
domesticated animals animals that depend on humans for what they need to survive
endangered species a species close to extinction; that is, a species whose numbers are too small to ensure its continued existence
extinct animal that has completely died out; no population exists any longer
taxon a level of organization
taxonomy system of scientific classification of living organisms
threatened species a species that faces significant threats to its survival; not yet endangered but moving toward endangered status
Taxonomy is the science of classification. A taxon is a level of organization. Scientists classify living organisms by grouping them by what they have in common. The levels of scientific classification are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. A kingdom is a broad category. Each succeeding category, or taxon, becomes more specific (less inclusive). The species level is the most specific.
We can also classify living things by their use. For example, we could classify animals as domestic or wild. Domesticated animals depend on humans to take care of their needs. Wild animals live in nature and do not depend on humans for survival. We could also divide domesticated animals into two groups: livestock and companion animals, resulting in three total groups: livestock, companion animals, and wildlife. Each group contains animals with something in common. In this case, it would be their use. Let's take a look at these three groups and learn more about each.
Companion animals can also be called pets. Companion animals are kept by humans for purposes of protection and pleasure. Companion animals are usually animals with a gentle nature and good social qualities. Aggressive animals do not make good companions. Some characteristics of companion animals are: they are easy to train or contain, they have simple dietary needs that are easy to meet, and they get along well with other animals and people.
The companion-animal industry contributes significantly to our economy. It can also have a negative impact on the environment. Veterinary practices use chemical disinfectants, which can make their way into the water supply. Getting rid of animal waste and hazardous materials presents a challenge. If these things are not properly disposed of, there can be risks to humans and the environment. One of the biggest issues is the prevalence of single-use products. These products produce a good amount of waste. Many product packages are not recyclable.
Any animal that is not domesticated is considered wildlife. There are many species of wildlife. The number and types of species in an area will vary depending on the climate and the characteristics of the environment. A desert would not support as many different species as would a rainforest; that is, a rainforest is much more diverse than a desert. The number of individuals of a given species an area can support is called its carrying capacity. Organisms compete for space, food, light, water, and other resources. When a species reproduces to the point where it begins to run out of space, food, or some other resource, the species has reached its carrying capacity. A forest can support a limited number of oak trees. A pond can support a limited number of bullfrogs. These numbers represent that species' carrying capacity. Competition can be tough in the wild.
Carrying capacity of natural habitat is determined in part by availability of suitable food, cover, water, and space. The carrying capacity for whitetail deer in the Everglades in Florida is usually high, as deer are not forced to travel large distances for sustenance. However, during local flooding, thousands of acres of their Everglades habitat are temporarily lost to them. As a result, the deer are forced to high ground, where many suffer from malnutrition or starvation and quickly become prey for panthers. Thus, as carrying capacity diminishes, so does the whitetail deer population.
Sometimes, damage to the environment or a change in the environment can make it unsuitable for a species. Their numbers will fall, and eventually there will be no more of that species in the wild, or at all. When this happens, we say the species is extinct. Humans have had a big impact on wildlife. Changes in the environment due to human activity have driven a number of species into extinction.
When a species has decreased numbers due to interference from human activity, we call that species a threatened species. When the numbers become so low that the species is not able to replace itself and increase in numbers, we say it is in danger of becoming extinct. We call these species endangered species.
Wildlife can have a negative impact on the environment. If a new species is introduced into an area in which it does not naturally live, we call it an alien species. If an alien species begins to thrive and compete for limited resources, we call it an invasive species. Invasive species can drive native species into extinction. An alien species becomes invasive not only because it is suited to the resources available in its new home, but also because there are no natural predators in the new environment that can control its numbers.
Case Study: Invasive Species: Nutria
This cute little rodent might look like a beaver, but it is not; it's a nutria, and it does not belong here! Nutria are hardy creatures that can grow to be two feet long and weigh up to twenty pounds. Nutria are originally native to South America. They are found in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Fur farmers brought them to the United States. When they were no longer valuable to fur farmers, many were released into the wild.
Nutria feed on the roots of wetland plants. Since they eat only the roots, they destroy a good bit of vegetation to meet their dietary requirements. They destroy wetland areas, which are habitats and breeding grounds for important aquatic species and birds. Wetlands also protect our coastlines from damage from storms.
Today, nutria can be found along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and the Atlantic Ocean. In the Pacific Northwest, nutria are beginning to outcompete the native muskrat population. If the nutria keep eating the muskrat's food supply, the numbers of muskrats in the area will decline.
This is just one example of an invasive species. Many invasive species threaten native species and have the potential to drive them into extinction.
Domesticated animals that do work or produce food or fiber are called livestock. The majority of livestock animals are found on farms. Livestock can be very valuable. The livestock industry contributes to the economy and provides a service to the community. It is very important in the world's economy.
The livestock industry can also make a negative impact on the environment. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that the livestock industry is responsible for a significant number of environmental problems. The FAO estimates that the livestock industry is responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Livestock require grazing land or land to grow feed. This has significantly changed the environment.
A pasture is an area of land where animals roam and eat the grasses. In a pasture, the grasses are considered fodder, or animal feed. Poorly managed pastures end up with decreased fodder and an increase in soil loss through the process of erosion.
Extensive grazing uses large land areas that are naturally rich in grazing grasses. The number of acres of grazing land per animal is relatively high. The farmer or rancher uses very few resources to manage the land and animals. Intensive grazing uses smaller areas and a relatively low number of acres per animal. The farmer or rancher uses a good number of resources to manage the animals and land. Extensive grazing is a more natural and sustainable practice. Intensive grazing can quickly result in pasture damage.
A pasture can only withstand so much grazing. In a pasture, the amount of grasses impacts its carrying capacity. When a pasture is grazed for an excessive period of time without time to recover, it becomes damaged. This process is called overgrazing. Overgrazing results in poor-quality, patchy grass. When the grass is patchy, it is more susceptible to drying out when there is not enough rain. This can further damage the health of the grass. The poor grass cover exposes the soil, which creates a problem with soil erosion.
Overgrazing reduces the productivity of the land, since it destroys grasses and other plants that are needed to hold water and soil in place.
The livestock industry contributes a substantial number of chemical pollutants to the environment. In the United States, livestock accounts for 50 percent of the antibiotic use, 37 percent of the pesticide use, and more than 65 percent of the amount of ammonia that ends up in the water supply, which contributes to making the ground and water more acidic.
What do you think is the biggest environmental problem created by livestock?
How does overgrazing degrade soil?
Career Corner: Selecting a Career Field
You may have an idea what type of career you are interested in already. Interest alone is not enough to help you decide on a career. It is important to make sure the career you select fits your lifestyle. Here are some simple questions that can help you sort out what types of jobs appeal to you.
Do I want to have a desk job or one where I am active?
If you want to have a desk job, it would not be a good idea to pursue a career in veterinary science or forest firefighting. Most of these types of positions require a good bit of movement and time on your feet.
Do I want to do something or just know something?
Some jobs are more hands on and others require more directing. Jobs like forester or soil scientist are very hands-on positions. Administrative or managerial positions require less hands on and more directing or decision making.
Do I want the flexibility of shift work or a more traditional schedule?
A work schedule is a very important consideration. If you want to be at work during business hours, you need to investigate and be sure that your desired career has opportunities for employment with this type of schedule. You will need to do some research. For example, forest firefighters or park rangers are careers that offer shift work. However, firefighters could also teach firefighting, and park rangers could work in management. These positions would have more traditional working hours.
Do I want to work alone or be part of a team?
Some positions require that you work as part of a team. If you were an individual who works better in isolation, you would not want to work as a farm manager. For example, some positions in research, science, and sales tend to be more solitary, whereas positions in packaging and processing tend to be more team-oriented.
Are you comfortable working with animals?
Some positions require working directly with animals. If you are not comfortable with this, you may want to select a career in natural resource management or another field that does not require hands-on work with animals.
There are many types of careers that relate to agriculture, food, and natural resources. Let's take a closer look at some of the careers associated with various aspects of these fields.
Farming to grow crops Crops like wheat, corn, vegetables, and fruit are all grown on traditional farms or in orchards. Associated careers include farmer, farm manager, farm hand, pickers, salespeople, shipping and receiving jobs, transportation jobs.
Farming to produce meat Meat such as beef, pork, and poultry can all be produced on a traditional farm or in an industrial farm. The same career paths exist as do with farms that produce crops. In addition to these careers, you may also find careers in slaughterhouses, meat packing plants, breeding organizations, veterinary services, waste management, and other areas.
Farming to produce dairy Dairy farms produce milk, which is used to make a number of different products. Dairy farms may be traditional farms or industrial farms. The same career paths exist here as on other farms. In addition to these career paths, you may also find careers in veterinary medicine, dairy processing, waste management, and other areas.
Farming to produce fibers Some farms produce fiber such as cotton, sheep's wool, or alpaca wool. These fields create the same career paths as do other farms. In addition, they create careers in the textile industry, clothing and manufacturing industry, and other areas.
Aquaculture The aquaculture industry creates careers similar to those created by other farms. They also create careers related to waste management, ocean operations, seafood processing, and other areas.
Forestry operations Forests are important resources that need to be managed. They create careers in environmental management and forest management. Some examples are careers as a forester, park ranger, firefighter, environmental educator, and logging careers.
Mining operations There are many minerals and other natural resources that are extracted from the earth. This creates careers in the fossil fuels industry, mineral industry, gemstone industry, and more.
Wildlife management Wildlife managers are supported by a number of people. Some associated careers include forester, wildlife biologist, animal control, ecology, and others.
Energy The energy industry is made up of two different forms of energy—renewable and nonrenewable. Nonrenewable energy jobs are related to coal, natural gas, petroleum, or nuclear energy. Renewable energy jobs relate to solar, hydroelectric, wind energy, biofuels, and others.
Technology Technology provides our natural resource managers, farmers, scientists, and so on, with the tools they need to do their work efficiently and effectively. Related career fields would include information technology, research and development, engineering, and so on.
Science Scientists are very important in natural research management. There are a number of different types of related science careers. Some examples include biologists, chemists, ecologists, soil scientists, and hydrologists.
In this lesson you have learned that:
animals are classified as domestic or wild: domesticated animals depend on humans for what they need to survive, and wild animals live in nature and provide for themselves;
the companion animal industry contributes to the economy but also damages the environment by creating pollution from the transport of animals and the chemicals used to care for them;
the livestock industry has a negative impact on the environment from activities such as overgrazing and the use of chemicals;
a wildlife species that experiences a particular level of population decline is considered threatened; if the species declines enough to be in danger of becoming extinct, it is considered endangered; and
when a species is introduced to a new area, it is considered non-native or alien; if it takes hold and a population begins to grow and threaten native species, it is considered an invasive species.
Match the definition to the term.
1. endangered species
3. threatened species
1. species whose numbers are too small to ensure its continued existence
3. species that faces significant threats to its survival
2. species whose population no longer exists
Which of the following scenarios does NOT represent a negative environmental effect of animals?
Janice takes her dogs on a thirty-minute walk every day to exhaust some of their energy.
Which characteristic of an animal species would make it a good candidate for domestication as a companion animal?
good social qualities
Which of the following terms refers to a species that faces dangers that will cause a significant reduction in its population?
Which of the following distinguishes the correct order of population numbers, from most to least, that can be found in wild species?
threatened, endangered, extinct
Lack of which factor would be most likely to turn an alien species into an invasive species?
Which of the following best describes carrying capacity?
the amount of grass a pasture can sustain
the number of livestock a pasture can sustain
Poor maintenance of pastures, including overgrazing, can result in which of the following?
Keeping a large number of livestock on a small amount of land results in which of the following problems?
Match the animal to its group.
1. companion animal
Match the species with its status.
2. western lowland gorilla
3. saber-toothed tiger
It is a sunny day in Southern California, and you are out in the yard. You decide you'll bring your dog out so he can enjoy the sunshine. There is no fence around your yard so you decide to tie him to the tree. The rope you use is long and he is having a great time lying in the shade under the tree. Suddenly, you realize that you forgot to finish your English report. You go into the house and start working on it. Four hours later, there is a knock on the door. You open the door to find a police officer standing there. He tells you that one of your neighbors reported a case of animal cruelty. What? You explain that your dog is fine; he is lying in the yard in the shade enjoying the day. You left him with a big bowl of water. You tell the officer that the dog has not made a single noise all afternoon; if he were unhappy, he would bark to come in.
Is this a case of animal cruelty?
Continue with the lesson to learn more about how we protect animals from harm.
Compare and contrast animal rights and animal welfare.
Discuss the federal law that relates to animal welfare.
Evaluate a situation and determine whether it is an example of abuse or neglect.
Discuss some factors to consider when choosing an educational program.
animal cruelty inflicting suffering or harm upon animals intentionally or for reasons other than self-defense (definitions vary by state, country, and groups of individuals)
animal rights approach the idea that we should not own or harm animals because they have the same rights as humans
Animal Welfare Act the federal law that protects animals from neglect or cruelty
animal welfare approach the idea that we should treat animals in a humane way but can own them or dominate them
neglect to deprive some living thing of what it needs to survive
There are laws that make cruelty and neglect of an animal illegal. The laws are written to protect animals from inhumane treatment. Most states have laws that are very broadly written and contain no specific acts that define neglect or cruelty. As a result, law enforcement officials are placed in situations where they must decide what is humane and what is inhumane. Many people have different ideas on what constitutes humane treatment of animals.
Should a pig raised on an industrial farm and a horse used by law enforcement in a state park have the same rights? Should chickens on a poultry farm have the same rights as a pet cat? Is carting an elephant all over the country to perform in a circus acceptable under the law? Is it humane to keep a large lizard in a small tank? These are difficult questions to answer. In order to answer them, we need to figure out what rights animals have and what guidelines can be used to ensure humane treatment of animals.
ANIMAL RIGHTS VS. ANIMAL WELFARE
There are two ways to look at treatment of animals; both agree that animals should be treated well. You can believe that you can own an animal and are free to use it for food, work, entertainment, and as a pet. From this point of view, you can own an animal and dominate it. This viewpoint is the animal welfare approach. Conversely, the animal rights approach stresses equality. From this point of view, humans and animals are equal and people have no right to own, use, or dominate an animal.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is perhaps the largest animal rights activist group in the world. Its focus is on animals on factory farms, used in the clothing trade (such as for their fur), and used in research labs or the entertainment industry.
How would you describe the difference between an animal rights approach and an animal welfare approach?
Which approach do you believe is best? Why?
You can see these are two very different points of view. The laws generally reflect an animal welfare approach to protecting animals.
ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS
The only federal law that protects animals from cruelty or neglect is the Animal Welfare Act. This law was signed into effect in 1966. The law does not cover pets but does cover animals in agriculture, breeding facilities, and research labs, as well as their transportation, sale, and exhibition.
The Animal Welfare Act did not come to fruition until after a 1965 Sports Illustrated article revealed a story of a companion Dalmatian in Pennsylvania who was stolen by dog nappers and later died during experimental surgery in N.Y.
A year later, Life Magazine brought to public attention the horrific conditions of a dog breeder's farm in an article called "Concentration Camp for Dogs."
Pictures of emaciated dogs and their neglect were brought to light. Furthermore, many companion dogs and cats were being stolen by dealers, taken across state lines, and sold to research institutes for experimentation.
Since many of these stolen dogs were hunting dogs, sportsmen lobbied the federal government to take action.
As a result, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Animal Welfare Act into law in 1966, in part requiring dog and cat breeding facilities and animal laboratories to be inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in addition to being licensed.
Those facilities had to put together a committee with a veterinarian and at least one person not in any way connected to that facility. The purpose of the committee was to ensure the humane treatment of animal care by reviewing treatment, and research practices at least twice per year. In addition, the committee was responsible for ensuring that alternatives not requiring animal experimentation would be used whenever possible.
The original Act has since been amended seven times, further specifying the treatment of animals during transport, sale, and exhibition. When initially passed, via Congress, President Johnson received more mail regarding animal care than about the Vietnam War or civil rights. The ethical treatment of animals continues to weigh heavily on the consciousness of many Americans even today.
Some states have laws that address a number of issues, such as malicious cruelty, hoarding, abandonment, leaving a dog that you hit with a car, and cruelty in industries that breed or sell animals. Many states have laws that address cosmetic cruelty. An example of this would be cropping ears or cutting the tail of a puppy, without giving it anesthesia.
Anti-cruelty laws are in place to be sure that nobody intentionally harms an animal. The definition may be broad or specific. Most states also spell out certain actions that are considered cruelty. For example, in the state of Florida, it is illegal to leave your pet in a car without proper ventilation. This prevents pets being put in danger of overheating in a hot car.
Children and pets alike can suffer heat stroke when left locked in a car. Even on a 75-degree day with the car windows cracked, within ten minutes temperatures can climb to 100 degrees. Cars with dark blue or black interiors are worse, as temperatures can rise to over 200 degrees.
Other acts of animal cruelty that are specifically addressed in some states' laws are overworking an animal, torture, transporting an animal in an inhumane manner, killing or poisoning an animal, or staging animal fighting. In addition to anti-cruelty laws, states have specific laws that address dog fighting.
© 2009 Glynlyon, Inc.
• It's a felony in the United States to fight dogs.
• The Humane Society calculates that more than 40,000 people are involved in this illegal activity.
Although it's a felony in the United States to fight dogs, the Humane Society calculates that more than 40,000 people are involved in this illegal activity. The American pit bull is typically used in interstate dog fighting rings that also tend to involve narcotics, illegal gambling, and other crimes.
Neglect is the failure to provide an animal with proper care. Proper care includes adequately feeding the animal, giving it enough clean water, providing shelter to protect it from adverse weather conditions, and providing for the animal's health and well-being. For example, let's go back to the sunny afternoon in Southern California. Based on what you have learned, would this be considered neglect? Believe it or not, you better put some shoes on because you are under arrest and are going to be taken to the police station! The state of California is one of the states that has specific definitions of neglect. Under the law in California, leaving a dog tied and unattended for more than three hours is considered neglect. Whether you think it is right or wrong, it is the law. Some states specify that the individual must knowingly neglect an animal. It is likely that the judge would look at the law and your situation and find that you did not knowingly neglect your dog and that no harm came to the dog, so the charges could be dropped, the case could be dismissed, or you would be found not guilty.
There is one exception to animal cruelty or neglect laws: self-defense. A person will not be charged if they were protecting their life or that of their livestock. Most of the time, the laws specify that you can take action against a pet that is coming after you or your animals, but not if the animal is going after wildlife. This exception can be difficult to prove.
CAREER CORNER: FINDING THE RIGHT SCHOOL
Identifying a School
Finding a career field that is right for you is the first step toward your future. Once you select a career field, you will need to find the appropriate kind of training program. Let's look at some common questions that students ask.
What types of schools and programs are available?
Selecting a school is a very important step in your path toward a career. There are different types of schools that offer programs related to food agriculture and natural resources. In order to know where to look for the program you want, you must first understand the difference between the schools and programs.
Career Colleges: A career college may also be called a technical school. These schools focus on hands-on learning and teach students skills targeted to a specific career field. Career colleges typically award associates degrees, certificates, or diplomas. Food science, horticulture, and laboratory services are often taught at this level.
College: In the United States, colleges offer associate's degree, bachelor's degrees, and may offer training programs. Colleges offer a variety of degrees in different kinds of majors.
University: In the United States, a university may offer the same degrees as a college but will also offer graduate degrees. This may include specific masters and doctoral programs and specialized programs like medical or legal studies.
Graduate School: The term graduate school refers to schooling beyond a bachelor's degree. Graduate schools are found at universities. Graduate schools typically offer master's degrees and doctoral degrees.
Medical School: Medical schools are affiliated with universities. They provide specific training to prepare students to take the medical board exam and care for patients. Once the individual passes the board exam and finishes school, they are considered a medical doctor and can use the title of MD.
Other Doctoral Level Schools: Medical doctors are not the only kind of doctors needed in the agriculture, food, and natural resources fields. Veterinarians and PhDs in various sciences make important contributions to these fields. Doctoral level schools may be found at private or public universities.
How do I find a program?
To find the best program for you, you can ask yourself a few simple questions.
Do I want to commute to school or live on campus?
This may help you determine whether you need to look for a school in your area or if you can open the search to a larger area.
How important is the cost of the school to me?
Private schools and out-of-state colleges may be more expensive than in-state schools. It is important to do your homework and compare the cost of your choices.
Do I want to attend a large school or a small school?
Many universities and colleges are quite large. This may help you exclude schools that you are not interested in.
Is it important that the school have a social scene?
Many large universities and colleges have all kinds of social activities to participate in, whether you live on campus or commute. If you are interested in attending activities like school football games, this may help you decide to look at the larger universities and colleges.
Is it important for the school to have other types of programs?
If you want to attend school where there are a good variety of programs offered, you may not want to attend a small career college or training school.
How important is the reputation of the school?
It is important to decide whether the school needs to be a top 10 school for your career choice or if you would you be happy with a school that just has a good reputation.
What is important to look for in a school?
Going to school is a big investment of time and money. It is an investment that will pay off for your future, but finding the right school is very important. There are a few things that you need to be careful of when looking for schools. The reputation of the school is very important. Employers will seek out graduates from schools with a good reputation. The better the reputation of the school, the better you will be able to compete for jobs.
One way to be sure the school has a good reputation is to be sure the school is accredited. In the United States, there are many different agencies that accredit schools. The school should be able to tell you whether they are accredited. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes certain accreditation agencies. If you do not go to an accredited school, you will not be able to get a government-sponsored student loan.
Regional accreditation is desirable. In the United States, the regional accreditation agencies are:
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of School and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
In the United States, this accreditation gives you the most flexibility. Should you want to transfer colleges or apply to a graduate or doctoral program, the credits you take at a regionally accredited college will most likely be accepted at any college.
Some other accreditation agencies that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education include:
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
Distance Education and Training Council Accrediting Commission
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
In order to determine whether the credits will transfer to a regionally accredited school, you would need to contact the school to which you intended to transfer the credits. Nationally accredited schools are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, so you may receive government-sponsored financial aid.
Why is accreditation so important?
What would you look for in a school?
Why is accreditation so important?
Accredited schools have to prove that they are providing high-quality education that will meet the students' needs. This ensures that your money and time are well spent. This is very important for any program, but if your career choice requires a licensure or certification, it is critical. Some certification or licensing programs will not recognize your training unless it comes from an accredited school. This may impair your ability to take a licensing or certification exam and restrict or prohibit you from finding work in your field.
The U.S. Department of Education maintains a list of schools and colleges that are accredited. They also keep track of some schools and colleges that are not accredited. It is easy to check the Department of Education website to find the list of accredited programs. The university, college, or school should also have their accreditation clearly listed. If they do not, there is a reason for concern.
In this lesson you have learned that:
treating animals humanely is very important; if an animal is intentionally harmed it is considered animal cruelty, and failing to provide proper care for an animal is called neglect;
proper animal care includes adequately feeding the animal, giving it enough clean water, providing shelter to protect it from adverse weather conditions, and providing for the animal's health and well-being;
the animal rights philosophy states that other animals have the same rights as humans and that all living things are equal; the animal welfare philosophy states that animals deserve humane treatment but that it is acceptable to own them and dominate them;
the federal Animal Welfare Act covers animals in agriculture, breeding facilities, and research labs, as well as their transportation, sale, and exhibition; and
some states have animal welfare laws that address malicious cruelty, hoarding, abandonment, or cosmetic cruelty such as ear cropping without anesthesia.
neglect or cruelty
Match the definition to the term.
1. animal cruelty
2. animal rights approach
3. Animal Welfare Act
4. animal welfare approach
5. to deprive some living thing of what it needs to survive
3. the federal law that protects animals from neglect or cruelty
2. the idea that we should not own or harm animals because they have the same rights as humans
1. inflicting suffering or harm upon animals intentionally or for reasons other than self-defense
4. the idea that we should treat animals in a humane way but can own them or dominate them
Which of the following situations would someone who advocates for animal rights prefer?
a cat in a wealthy home
a goat kept on a farm
Which of the following distinguishes the difference between the animal rights approach and the animal welfare approach?
The animal rights approach says that animals have the same fundamental liberties as humans, while the animal welfare approach says that owning animals is not harmful.
Which of the following describes how an animal welfare activist would feel about raising cows for food and leather?
An animal welfare activist would feel fine about farmers raising cows for food but not for leather.
Which person would be most likely to own a pet, and why?
an animal rights proponent, because she believes pets should treated equally to humans
Which of the following types of animals does the Animal Welfare Act NOT cover in its legislation?
Self-defense is an exception to animal cruelty laws.
Definitions of animal cruelty and neglect toward pets vary from state to state.
Which of the following is an example of cosmetic cruelty?
cropping a Doberman's ears
Which of the following distinguishes the difference between cruelty and neglect?
Cruelty is mistreating an animal intentionally, while neglect is ignoring an animal's basic needs.
A person who attends an accredited school will be able to do all of the following EXCEPT:
be guaranteed a job upon graduation
If you were strolling in a cow pasture on a nice sunny afternoon, you would have to be careful where you stepped! Cows or sheep grazing on grass tend to make a few messes. Farmers do not worry about that. The environment will take care of breaking it down.
If you were driving by an industrial pig farm, you would have to roll up the windows or hold your breath because the whole place stinks! Why does it stink? Pigs that are kept inside excrete waste that must be gathered and removed from the building. This concentrated pile of solids and a fair amount of liquids make for a terrible stench.
In this lesson, we'll learn more about waste management on the farm.
Identify some problems with waste management systems.
Discuss alternatives to traditional waste management systems.
Compare traditional systems with methane recapture systems.
Compare and contrast the waste management needs of traditional farms.
Identify ways of preparing for college entry.
anaerobic occurring in an oxygen-free environment
There are many different methods of waste management. The type of system that farms decide to use depends on how much waste they need to dispose of and the type of waste they are dealing with. No matter what the system may be, there are always the same steps necessary. The waste must be gathered, stored, treated, perhaps transported, and used. Each step requires proper handling to ensure that employees and the public are not exposed to harmful bacteria or dangerous gases. The problems associated with waste management continue to grow as the industry changes and more animals are added to farm operations.
Ten factory poultry farms produce more than 90 percent of the chickens in the U.S. Approximately 70 percent of U.S. beef cattle are raised on factory farms with at least 5,000 head of cattle.
Industrial farming has increased the concentration of waste in some areas. An industrial farm with 2,500 cows produces as much waste as a city of 411,000 people. Since the cows on an industrial farm are kept inside in close quarters, the farm's floors must be flushed to wash the waste away. This takes approximately 150 gallons per cow each time the areas are cleaned.
In many states, the animal waste does not have to be treated, which creates a problem if the environment cannot handle the massive amounts of waste disposed. The systems that manage the waste can leak and discharge waste in to the surrounding areas. In the state of North Carolina, the government estimates that at one point 55 percent of the waste management systems for hog farms were leaking untreated waste. Waste management is a serious problem.
Approximately 13 pounds of manure are produced per day by a 200 pound adult pig. Multiply 13 pounds per pig by 100 million factory farm pigs in the U.S. today: 650,000 tons of manure waste are produced every day, and that's just by pigs.
A common type of waste management system separates animal waste into solid and liquid waste. The wastes are then dumped or pumped into two retention ponds, one for solid waste and one for liquid waste. They both can be used to fertilize cropland or pastures. Liquid waste is stored. The solid waste will be treated with decomposing bacteria. The decomposing bacteria break down the waste and in the process give off carbon dioxide and methane; both are greenhouse gases. The remaining solids can be used as fertilizer.
There are three areas of concern regarding this type of system. The decomposition process emits greenhouse gases. The waste used as fertilizer contains an excess of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which has a great potential to leach into the groundwater and end up in our waterways, lakes, and the ocean. Finally, there is concern about the high levels of harmful bacteria, antibiotics, and heavy metals.
All animal waste contains harmful bacteria like E. coli, which can cause disease in humans. Depending on the animal, other harmful bacteria may be found. Many animals are given antibiotics and synthetic hormones. The animal's body breaks down most but not all of these chemicals. Some are excreted in animal waste. Some of these chemicals will persist in nature. Animal waste must be treated to ensure that the harmful bacteria are killed. However, the current treatment criteria may not be sufficient to make it safe, and testing is not always adequate.
Carbon dioxide and methane are important greenhouse gases, but these same gases are causing global warming. Methane is a flammable greenhouse gas that has a much greater ability to hold heat than carbon dioxide. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that livestock are the primary source of methane emissions.
Animal waste contains solids, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These are important nutrients for plants, and biological solids improve soil quality. However, the quantities released from feedlots and other intensive animal operations are extremely concentrated. The huge quantities of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that enter nearby water bodies through runoff cause over-fertilization, or eutrophication, of streams, rivers, and the ocean. The excess nutrients cause a chain reaction, which depletes the water of oxygen, making the water unable to support sea life.
IMPROVING WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
In order to reduce the negative impacts of waste management systems, some changes need to be made. These changes include:
better regulation and standards for allowable limits of bacteria allowed in waste being used as fertilizer
sustainable farming techniques that reduce the amount of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals found in waste
methane recapture systems
Laws and Regulations
In 2003, federal law changed to require all concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also referred to as industrial farms, to apply for an approval permit for their waste management systems. This new regulation requires the CAFO to submit a nutrient management plan, which includes a description of how they will manage waste and ensure that no waste is discharged. The Clean Water Act also gives the EPA the right to prosecute any operation that discharges waste illegally. The Clean Air Act requires CAFOs to disclose any instance of emitting more than the allowable level of gases into the air each day. Gases regulated include ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, both of which are potentially dangerous. Monitoring is critical, because these gases can be deadly at high concentrations. Each state also has additional legislation and requirements.
The ammonia emitted by manure not only can be deadly at high concentrations but can travel hundreds of miles from the point of origin by wind. For example, in the Midwestern U.S., ammonia emissions have contributed to eutrophication of the Gulf of Mexico. Not only does this lead to the decimation of aquatic species, but crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and fruit can be damaged if over-fertilized by ammonia waste spread on soil as fertilizer.
Were you surprised to learn how few federal laws there are that address animal waste management?
Methane Recapture Systems
Methane is a gas produced as a by-product of waste digestion. Methane gas can be burned to generate electricity. On a farm, solid animal waste can be pumped into special containers called anaerobic digesters. In these tanks, anaerobic bacteria break down the waste, which produces methane. The gas is then captured and pumped to a special type of generator where it is used to create electricity. These types of methane recapture systems are able to generate significant electricity. Another benefit is that the process of anaerobic digestion creates heat that can be used to warm buildings where animals are kept. The heat could also be used for greenhouses. The system also recaptures a good bit of the water used, which can be treated and used to water crops or clean where the animals are kept.
This type of system is very efficient. Often, there can be enough energy created to power the farm, and any excess can be sold to the local community or power company. This is a good way to generate extra income for farmers as well as cut down on waste, power usage, water use, and energy for heating. There is also a cost reduction in operating expenses because the waste no longer has to be hauled to a different site for disposal. One added bonus is that systems like this almost completely eliminate the foul odor associated with handing and processing animal waste.
Farmers are turning financially savvy when it comes to turning raw livestock manure into green power. Take, for example, the owners of Green Mountain Dairy Farm, two brothers who, due to decreasing milk prices, sought an alternative way to make their farm profitable.
With 1,650 cows, they turned their farm into a manure management haven, realizing approximately $240,000 in profit annually through converting the manure into electricity.
There are federal, state, and utility company grants available for this endeavor. This farm secured $750,000 in assistance.
Their operation today averages about 7 cents per kilowatt hour, plus a 4 cent premium that many locals and businesses in the community agreed to pay just to support the recycling efforts devised by these men.
The electricity generated powers 300 homes. Although the startup costs are expensive, at about $2 million per farm, that investment can usually be realized within 7 to 10 years.
At the Green Mountain Dairy Farm, a scraper sweeps the cows' manure into a large drain. It is then pumped into a huge, sealed concrete tank called a digester, where it is housed for three weeks at a temperature of 101 degrees. Anaerobic bacteria break down the waste, producing methane and other bio-gases. The bio-gas is then burned in an engine that runs on an electrical generator.
Further, at the end of the three weeks, the waste is pumped through a separator that deposits the liquid into a silo and the solids into a barn. Liquids are used as fertilizer and solids as cow bedding. The excess solid manure is sold to garden stores—a win-win for the store and the farm. In addition, thousands of dollars every month are saved through not having to buy sawdust as cow bedding.
The digester even recycles outdated ice cream from Ben & Jerry's. This conservation effort benefits Ben & Jerry's as they save the disposal cost of the outdated ice cream, and benefits the Green Mountain Dairy Farm by allowing them to generate even more electricity.
This "cow power" is producing green power and helping sustain the environment. Farmers have received positive response from customers willing to pay a little bit more for this green electricity.
CAREER CORNER: PREPARING FOR AND APPLYING TO A PROGRAM
Before you can apply to a college program, you will need to complete your high school work and all of the required entrance exams. Two popular exams are the ACT and the SAT. These are tests that will give the school an indication of your readiness to be successful in college. If you were applying to a graduate school, you would most likely need to have taken the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). The exam results give the school an indication of how prepared you are for a graduate-level program.
Once you identify a program and have made sure that the program is accredited, you will have to work through the application process. Most schools require you to submit your application online. Many schools have different application requirements; however, most school applications have a few things in common. When applying to an undergraduate program, you will most likely be required to submit:
high school transcripts
SAT or ACT scores (training programs may not require scores)
information about extracurricular activities
information on any honors or special achievements
information on any volunteer activities
an application fee
any college transcripts you may have
Why does the application process often require an essay?
Many colleges, universities, and career schools no longer require a personal admissions interview. The essay is the only opportunity for the school to see how you communicate. The essay also provides the school with information on your writing skills and can be used as a gauge to see if you are ready for college-level writing. Many essay topics address issues that will give the schools some insight into your personality.
What is important to include in my essay?
Remember, this is your big chance to impress the school with your writing and reasoning abilities. Your essay is a chance to show the qualities that the school is looking for. Keep this in mind when writing your essay.
When possible, use personal examples that put you in a good light. Never state something that you can illustrate with an example. For example, instead of saying you are a strong leader; give an example that shows your leadership abilities.
Use your words wisely. Do not try to write in a way that is over-complicated or uses vocabulary that is too flowery or too simplistic. When you can avoid it, do not use the words "I" or "they." If appropriate for the topic, use more formal words than informal. Avoid words like "got" or "get." Instead, use more formal words like "acquire" or "obtain." Always avoid slang, and never make any sexual or derogatory racial comments.
What career field interests you the most?
What type of training program will you attend to prepare you for your career?
What will you need to do to apply to the program?
Pay attention to the structure of your essay. Make sure it has a strong introduction and conclusion. When writing your essay, make sure to use transitions to help the words flow instead of feeling choppy. Use descriptive words and words that show enthusiasm and personality. Do not be afraid to use humor, but be very careful of what you say.
Proofread your essay. If possible, have someone else proofread it for you. If you are submitting your essay online, print the essay before you submit it. It is easier to catch mistakes on a printed page. Compose the essay in a word-processing document that has spell check. After you compose the essay, if you need to submit it online, you can always cut and paste it into the application submission screen.
What do specific types of schools require to apply?
If you are applying to veterinary school, you will have different requirements than you would have if you were applying to a career college. The requirements may vary from school to school but, in general, you can expect:
Career or technical program High school transcripts or GED
Career college High school transcripts
May require the SAT or ACT, which demonstrate the ability to succeed in college level work
College High school transcripts
SAT or ACT, which demonstrate the ability to succeed in college level work
University High school transcripts
SAT or ACT, which demonstrate the ability to succeed in college level work
Graduate school College transcripts that demonstrate a bachelor's degree was earned
Most programs will require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which demonstrates the ability to succeed in graduate level work
Medical school College transcripts that demonstrate a bachelor's degree was earned
Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which demonstrates the ability to succeed in medical school
In this lesson you have learned that:
animal waste contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that can damage the environment , may contain harmful bacteria, and produces harmful gases that can be toxic;
in the past, farmers allowed animal waste to be broken down through natural processes; today, industrial farms must implement formal waste management practices;
animal waste must be collected, treated, stored, and transported, and each step in the process presents risks for environmental damage;
the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and other laws work to ensure that agricultural waste management systems are permitted and as safe as possible; and
methane is produced through the process of decomposition and can be burned to produce electricity; some environmentally responsible waste management systems capture methane produced through decomposition of animal waste and use it for fuel.
An anaerobic digester would occur in an oxygen-free environment.
Livestock is the primary source of which of the following gases?
Which of the following is NOT an area of concern regarding the common type of waste management systems?
decomposition creates unsteady levels of energy
Which of the following distinguishes the first step of waste disposal, no matter the system?
Which of the following distinguishes the next step after collection of a common type of waste management systems?
store and treat with decomposing bacteria
What happens to large molecules such as antibiotics and hormones in a livestock animal's body?
They do not break down completely, and thus enter the waste.
Which of the following identifies an effective use of methane?
Which of the following is NOT an advantage of extracting methane from waste?
It can be done in open-air ponds.
Create a solution that would at least partially solve the water pollution problem that waste management causes.
A solution that would partially solve the water pollution problem that waste management causes is to better regulation and standards for allowable limits of bacteria allowed in waste being used as fertilizer, sustainable farming techniques that reduce a number of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals found in waste, and try methane recapture systems.
Which of the following exams are used to determine whether a high school student is admitted into college?
ACT and SAT
Most college essay topics are designed to give insight into which of the following aspects related to the student's life?