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CATTLE

He was largely employed by publishers, illustrating the Waverley Novels and the Historical Annual of his brother the Rev. Richard Cattermole (his scenes from the wars of Cavaliers and Roundheads in this series are among his best engraved works), and many other volumes besides. Cattermole was a painter of no inconsiderable gifts, and of great facility in picturesque resource; he was defective in solidity of form and texture, and in realism or richness of colour. He excelled in rendering scenes of chivalry, of medievalism, and generally of the romantic aspects of the past.


CATTLE (Norman Fr. catel, from Late Lat. capitate, wealth or property, a word applied in the feudal system to movable property and particularly to live stock, and surviving in its wider meaning as “chattel” or “chattle”), a general term for the cows and oxen of agricultural use. For the zoological account, see Bovidae, and the subordinate articles there referred to; for details concerning dairy-farming, see Dairy.

Oxen appear to have been among the earliest of domesticated animals, as they undoubtedly were among the most important agents in the growth of early civilization. They are mentioned in the oldest written records of the Hebrew and Hindu peoples, and are figured on Egyptian monuments raised over 3000 years B.C.; while remains of domesticated specimens have been found in Swiss lake-dwellings along with the stone implements and other relics of Neolithic man. In infant communities a man’s wealth was measured by the number and size of his herds—Abraham, it is said, was rich in cattle—and oxen for a long period formed, as they still do among many savage or semi-savage tribes, the favourite medium of exchange between individuals and communities. After the introduction of a metal coinage into ancient Greece, this method of exchange was commemorated by stamping the image of an ox on the new money; while the connexion between cattle and coin as symbols of wealth has left its mark on the languages of Europe, as is seen in the Latin word pecunia and the English “pecuniary,” derived from pecus, cattle. The value attached to cattle in ancient times is further shown by the Bull figuring among the signs of the zodiac; in its worship by the ancient Egyptians under the title of Apis; in the veneration which has always been paid to it by the Hindus, according to whose sacred legends it was the first animal created by the three divinities directed by the supreme Deity to furnish the earth with animated beings; and in the important part it played in Greek and Roman mythology. The Hindus were not allowed to shed the blood of the ox, and the Egyptians could only do so in sacrificing to their gods. Both Hindus and Jews were forbidden to muzzle it when treading out the corn; to destroy it wantonly was a crime among the Romans, punishable with exile.

Breeds.—There exist in Britain four interesting remnants of what were at one time numerous enclosed herds of ancient forest cattle,[1] with black or red points, in parks at Chillingham, Cadzow, Vaynol (near Bangor, North Wales) and Chartley. A few of the last have been removed to Woburn. Other representatives of old stock are a resuscitated white Welsh breed with black points, derived from white specimens born of black Welsh cows; several herds of a white polled breed with black points; a herd of the ancient Polled Suffolk Dun, an excellent milking breed; a White Belted Galloway and a White Belted Welsh breed; the old Gloucester breed at Badminton, with a white rump, tail and underline, related to the now extinct Glamorgan breed; the Shetland breed; and a few herds of Dutch cattle preserved for their superior milking powers.

The prominent breeds of cattle in the British Isles[2] comprise the Shorthorn, Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn, Hereford, Devon, South Devon, Sussex, Welsh, Longhorn, Red Polled, Aberdeen-Angus, Galloway, West Highland, Ayrshire, Jersey, Guernsey, Kerry and Dexter.

The Shorthorn, Lincolnshire Red Shorthorn, Hereford, Devon, South Devon, Sussex, Longhorn and Red Polled breeds are native to England; the Aberdeen-Angus, Galloway, Highland and Ayrshire breeds to Scotland; and the Kerry and Dexter breeds to Ireland. The Jersey and Guernsey breeds—often spoken of as Channel Islands cattle—belong to the respective islands whose names they bear, and great care is taken to keep them isolated from each other. The term Alderney is obsolete, the cattle of Alderney being mainly a type of the Guernsey breed.

Among breeds well known in the United States[2] and not mentioned above, the more important are the Holsteins, large black and white cattle highly valued for their abundant milk production, and the Dutch Belted breed, black with a broad white band round the body, also good milkers.

The Shorthorn[3] is the most widely distributed of all the breeds of cattle both at home and abroad. No census of breeds has ever been taken in the United Kingdom, but such an enumeration would show the Shorthorn far to exceed in numbers any other breed, whilst the great majority of cross-bred cattle contain Shorthorn blood. During the last quarter of the 18th century the brothers Charles Colling (1751–1836) and Robert Colling (1749–1820), by careful selection and breeding, improved the cattle of the Teeswater district in the county of Durham. If the Shorthorn did not originate thus, it is indisputable that the efforts of the Collings[4] had a profound influence upon the fortunes of the breed. It is still termed the Durham breed in most parts of the world except the land of its birth, and the geographical name is far preferable, for the term “shorthorn” is applicable to a number of other breeds. Other skilled breeders turned their attention to the Shorthorns and established famous strains, the descendants of which can still be traced. By Thomas Booth, of Killerby and Warlaby in Yorkshire (1777), the “Booth” strains of Shorthorns were originated; by Thomas Bates, of Kirklevington in Yorkshire, the “Bates” families[5] (1800).

The Shorthorn is sometimes spoken of as the ubiquitous breed, its striking characteristic being the ease with which it adapts itself to varying conditions of soil, climate and management. It is also called the “red, white and roan.” The roan colour is very popular, and dark red has its supporters, as in the case of the Lincolnshire Red Shorthorns; white is not in favour, especially abroad. The Shorthorn breed is more noted for its beef-making than for its milk-yielding properties, although the non-pedigree milking Shorthorn of the north of England is an excellent cow with dual-purpose qualifications of the first order. An effort is being made to restore milking qualities to certain strains of pedigree blood.

The culmination of what may be termed the Booth and Bates period was in the year 1875, when the sales took place of Lord Dunmore’s and William Torr’s herds, which realized extraordinary prices. In that black year of farming, 1879, prices were declining, and they continued to do so till within the last few years of the close of the 19th century, when there set in a gradual revival, stimulated largely by the commercial prosperity of the country. The result of extremely high prices when line-bred animals were in fashion was a tendency to breed from all kinds of animals that were of the same tribe, without selection. A deterioration set in, which was aggravated by the overlooking of the milking properties. Shorthorn breeders came to see that change of blood was necessary. Meanwhile, for many years breeders in Aberdeenshire had been holding annual sales of young bulls and heifers from their herds. The late Amos Cruickshank began his annual sales in the 'forties, and the late W. T. Talbot-Crosbie had annual sales from his Shorthorn herd in the south-west of Ireland for a number of years. Many Aberdeen farmers emigrated to Canada, and bought Shorthorn calves in their native county to take with them. The Cruickshanks held their bull sales at that time, and many of their animals were bought by the small breeders in Canada. This continued until 1875, when the Cruickshanks had so much private demand that they discontinued their public sales. Subsequently, when Cruickshank sold his herd privately

  1. Rev. J. Storer, The Wild White Cattle of Great Britain (1879).
  2. 2.0 2.1 See Wallace’s Farm Live Stock of Great Britain (1907), Low’s Breeds of the Domestic Animals of the British Isles (1842, illustrated, and 1845), and E. V. Wilcox’s Farm Animals (1907), an American work.
  3. Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1822). Sec. E. J. Powell, 12 Hanover Square, London, W.
  4. C. J. Bates, “The Brothers Colling,” Jour. Roy. Agric. Soc. (1899).
  5. C. J. Bates, Thomas Bates and the Kirklevington Shorthorns: a Contribution to the History of Pure Durham Cattle (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1897).