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Animals that provide meat are called meat animals. The important meat animals are cattle, goats and pigs. The factors necessary for the development of meat industry are

  • (a) large plain grasslands
  • (b) plentiful supply of feedstuff,
  • (c) improved transport facilities,
  • (d) nearness to market,
  • (e) meat preserving arrangements such as development of refrigeration, cold storage, etc. and
  • (f) improved quality of meat yielding species.

    Industrialization in eastern U.S.A and Western Europe created an active demand for meat. The development of modern means of transport and refrigeration arrangements played a significant role in developing meat industry. U.S.A had 111 million heads of cattle in 1987-88 and beef cattle constituted the dominant element. More than 75 per cent of the beef cattle are in the western grazing lands and Corn Belt. They are kept in large ranches in the great plains of the west and in the plateau between the Rockies and the Coast Ranges. Drought resisting fodder crops are raised for feeding the animals. The cattle are left in the maize belt for sometime for fattening purposes. Then they are sent to meat packing centres for slaughtering. The meat is packed fresh, salted, smoked or canned. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Fort Worth and Los Angeles have developed meatpacking industry. Production of meat in 1987 amounted to 18 million metric tons in U.S.A.

    Argentina holds a leading position in meat trade. She produced 5 million metric tonnes of meat in 1987. The conditions that favored the development of meat industry are its vast grassy level plains, which support a large cattle population and the nearness of her cattle lands to the seaboard. The cultivation of alfalfa grass and the development of refrigeration system have helped Argentina to a great extent in developing cattle wealth. Argentina specializes in exporting calf meat, which is demanded because of its softness and taste.

    Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have beef cattle in the rich grasslands from where chilled meat and tinned meat are exported.

    In Australia beef cattle kept in Queensland and New South Wales are sent toward the south for fattening before they are slaughtered for meat. Australia produced 2.6 million metric tonnes of meat in 1987.

    Rich pastures of sweet and soft grasses in the moist regions of Ireland, west Britain and the lowlands skirting the English Channel and the Baltic coast have large number of high quality cattle. The production of meat is high. U.K. produced 2.1 million metric tonnes in 1987. Germany, Holland, Denmark, produced 3.2 million, 0.8 million and 0.6 million metric bones of meat respectively in 1987. U.S.S.R. with 116 million heads of cattle in 1987-88 produced 11.5 million metric tonnes of meat in 1987.

    Mutton Sheep. Mutton sheep like Romney are reared in the grassy section of semi-arid lands. The South Temperate Zone comprising southern parts of South America, Australia and New Zealand have the biggest concentration of sheep population-about 50 percent of the world's sheep. Comparatively drier parts of those countries have wool sheep and more grassy parts have large number of mutton sheep. Australia has 136 million heads of sheep; mostly concentrated in the region laying west of the Great Dividing Range. The outback is semiarid and extends to the seacoast towards the west south. The production of mutton is high.

    Argentina has good quality mutton sheep in the Patagonian desert. In the U.S.A. about 50 per cent of the lambs marketed in that country are raised in the grazing regions of the west. Many of them are sent to irrigated districts or to the Corn Belt for fattening.

    Large quantities of mutton are raised in England. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Uruguay.

    Pig is a very important source of meat supply in the world. The pig is prolific breeder and can be easily domesticated. Pigs are reared in large numbers in China, U.S.A., Russia, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Spain and Argentina.

    U.S.A. has about 50 per cent of pigs mostly concentrated in the maize producing districts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas. The important pork packing centres are in Chicago, Kansas City and Milwaukee.

    The total world production of meat; beef, mutton, pork and lamb amounted to about 78 million metric tonnes in 1987. U.S.A. is the largest producer of meat with 18 million metric tonnes.

    World Trade in Beef and Mutton. Commercial grazing areas of Southern Hemisphere supply more than 80 per cent of the world's beef exports and about 99 per cent of the world's mutton exports. Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay supply about 45 per cent, 12 per cent, 11 per cent and 11 per cent respectively of world's beef exports-comprising fresh, chilled and frozen. The other important beef exporters are Canada (7.5 per cent) and Brazil (2.5 per cent). Beef importing countries are U.K. taking 66 per cent and U.S.A. 65 per cent of world's imports of beef. Mutton exporters are New Zealand, Argentina and Australia-exporting 63 per cent, 20 per cent and 12 per cent respectively of world's mutton exports. U.K. takes 95 per cent of total mutton imports.

    Next: Mediterranean Agriculture

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