Conclusion

Emanating from this series of entries on the domestication of cattle, we have a new picture of human history. Though today characterized by domination and manipulation, historically the domestication of cattle can be more rightfully be described as the psychological and biological co-domestication of humans and cattle alike. While the morphology and behavior have been altered in many ways, humans have equally been altered. From the rapid and far-reaching spread of lactase persistence, to the internalization of the qualities of cattle, to the construction of systems of exchange and capital, humans would not be the same species today if it weren’t for these animals we now take for granted. The outcomes of this process that we observe today–exploitation, poor treatment, and over-use of cattle–are a story of the failures of human memory and record-keeping. Aside from the air we breathe and the water we drink, few things have been more vital to human prosperity than the cow. Yet today we see no resemblance–outside of India–of a world that recognizes and remembers what we owe this animal and what it has provided for us. Instead, they are our feeding tubes, endless providing resources to a human species that as a whole has questionable motives, often more narcissistic than altruistic, more taking than giving, and more wasting than preserving.

In conclusion, I end this piece by sending a “Thank you” to every cattle that has been killed or used for our benefit. Let’s hope that one day it will have been worth it, wherever it is we are headed.

Leave a Reply

*