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Cattle are domesticated bovine ruminants raised primarily for milk, meat, hides/leather, and/or labor. Cattle in many communities around the world symbolize status, as well as serve significant social and ritual functions through exchange as dowries, inheritance, and/or gifts.

The etymology of the term cattle underscores the claim that cattle are “wealth on the hoof” to pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, ranchers, and other enthusiasts. The Oxford English Dictionary traces “cattle” to an ancestral word, catel, which referred to property, wealth, and capital. Over time, the word became synonymous with moveable property or wealth. By the 16th century, English usage of catel privileged livestock, and the 17th century marked the beginning of the usage of cattle for livestock, while the Anglo-French chattel retained the broader meaning of property or article ...

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