Sheep Better than the goat

There are more breeds of sheep in the world than any other livestock species. It is estimated there are over 1000 distinct sheep breeds and around one billion sheep.

Sheep can live almost anywhere, they prefer places that are high and dry with a wide roaming area. This is because sheep are hill animals.

Underestimated for not laboring on the farm, sheep have been very useful over time. They provide meat from a lamb to an adult, dairy to make milk and cheese for food. Their wool is used make coats, clothes and many other items that have allowed humans to thrive as a species.

Female sheep have around 1-2 lambs each spring which are able to walk after two days. Lambs can also be used for lean meat and fur pelts.

Spring is also another major time for sheep. This is when their wool starts to fall off. The wool that falls off cannot be used, so humans realized that shearing their fleece does not harm the animal. It provides people an opportunity to use the wool.

These furry, grass eating animals may be cute, but they are definitely not smart.

Did you know that Queen Isabella of Spain used money derived from the wool industry to fund Columbus' expeditions?

On Christopher Columbus' second voyage he brought sheep with him as a "walking food source" and left some of the sheep in Cuba and Santo Domingo.
In 1519 Hernán Cortés followed in Columbus' footsteps and began his exploration of Mexico and the Western United States. Cortés brought with him a breed of sheep known today as "Churros". This is the oldest known breed of sheep left in the United States.

These comforting creatures may seem nice, but they took a toll on Conquistadorian explorers. The sheep spread diseases including bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections such as cryptosporida, salmonella, e-colli, soremouth, and ringworm through physical contact.

As the world began to evolve, more and more sheep, along with livestock came along. This affects our environment even today with livestock being one of the highest environmental threats. Degrading the land, livestock takes up 26% of ice-free land. As a result, this creates deforestation and destroys biodiversity. Also contributing to the greenhouse affect, livestock adds to pollution levels.

Sheep, from paying for Columbus' exploration, to harming our own planet, have been through a lot more than us humans think

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