One question that animal rights/vegan/vegetarian activists love to ask is why do I eat the pig, the cow and the sheep, whilst I wouldn't dream of eating a cat, dog or horse. There is, they claim, no cognitive difference.
Here are a few reasons we eat livestock and not pets
1. Small, easy to keep and feed.
2. Companionable, actively seek out human company.
3. Useful for pest control, protection, transport, hunting, message carrying, disabled person's assistance.
4. Can be trained to be clean in the house
5. Can be kept in a small space such as an apartment.
6. Relatively high level of intelligence.
7. Difficult to manage in large groups. Have to be caged. Considered cruel in some cultures.
1. Large and cumbersome, not cheap or easy to keep.
2. Need large quantities of grass or hay
3. Produce enormous quantities of excrement
4. Seek out their own kind for companionship, have an instinctive fear of humans.
5. Cannot be trained to be clean in the house, will damage or destroy furniture and groceries.
6. Need a large amount of space, far more than the average homeowner has.
7. Mostly prohibited by law in urban areas.
8. Dangerous. Their sheer size, bulk and general lack of consideration makes these animals extremely unsuitable as domestic pets.
9. Convert products that cannot be digested by humans, such as grass and leaves into highly digestible, protein rich milk and meat.
10. Have a large waterproof coat that can be utilised by humans as protective clothing, furniture covering, book covers etc.
11. Produce a large number of byproducts that are used in almost every industry,
12. Relatively low level of intelligence.
13. Easy to manage in large groups.
Traditional uses of livestock species
Cattle - milk, meat, leather
Sheep - wool, meat, tallow (candles)
Pig - meat, fat (for baking, candles, lubrication, wood polish, soap) leather, clearing brush (natural routing behaviour) truffle hunting
Goat - meat, milk, fibre, leather
Poultry - meat, eggs, feathers, down, insect control, weed control