Just last week,  Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh,  warned that the country may be forced to start importing cows from neighbouring countries with the rate at which Nigerians kill these animals for consumption.

Lagos alone consume 6000 cows daily. This number doesn’t include the ones killed at parties – it is also a rough estimate of the ones killed at abattoirs – it could be a whole lot more.

Over the years, we’d gotten so used to feeding on these animals that we’ve forgotten what did to their ancestors back in the 1600s.

Cows come from some of the species that are completely extinct in the wild, and now only raised in captivity. You may be thinking we are referring to some rare animal that is critically endangered in a zoo, and these certainly exist, but we are referring to none other than cow, that you may even have a herd of.

Cows’ ancestors are the Aurochs. When they were first discovered in the wild around Poland by man, we found the meat to be quite tasty. Thanks to man, Aurochs no longer exist in the wild, because we hunted them to extinction.

We enjoyed the taste of beef so much that our ancient ancestors kept trying to figure out how to cage them and keep a ready supply of beef for consumption.

This proved difficult, as these beasts were massive, standing taller than a man. So, man tried to capture the runts of the herd, and keep these in captivity, as it was easier to fence them in.

These same early farmers discovered that by eating the biggest Aurochs, and letting the smaller ones live longer, and reproduce, they could get herds of smaller, and more docile animals.

When the last of the really big, wild Aurochs were hunted to extinction, the world had a fairly large number of cattle in captivity, in large herds.

In fact, nowadays, or at least as of 2013, the FAO estimated the world’s population of cattle at around 1.47 billion!!

This means, that by being tasty and easy to maintain, domesticated cattle are still around today while their wild ancestors are gone.

Author: Yemi Olarinre