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How do people use animals? Each student should make a list of animals that are used for food, for work, and for companionship. How do we choose the animals for each of those categories? How do we decide which animals are wild, domesticated, or tame? What does that mean?

We'll get started with a few bits of information, and you have to find more.

The main animals that Americans use for food are cattle (beef and dairy products), swine (pork), goats (milk and cheese), sheep (mutton and lamb), sea food (fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.), and poultry (chicken and turkey). There are also many animals that we hunt for food, such as deer, duck, elk, etc. In some parts of our country, people hunt squirrels for food. Many of the "new" Americans who are from South East Asia eat dog, cat, and birds that some of us don't consider using for food.

How do we decide which animals are suitable for food? If we buy our meat, we buy what tastes good to us, what we believe is good for us, what is easy to find in the stores, what we know how to prepare, and what fits our budget. We can buy rattlesnake meat in gourmet shops, but it is extremely expensive, and some of us are repulsed by the idea of eating snake meat. Same with snails. There are tribes of natives in Africa, South America, and Pacific Islands who eat certain insects. We can even buy a can of deep-fried grass-hoppers! (They taste like popcorn. I tried them once.)

What are some other animals used for food? How else do people decide which animals to use for food?

How do we use animals for work? Horses used to do a great deal of our work. They provided transportation, either riding the horse, or having the horse pull a buggy. Now we ride horses mostly for fun, although there are still cattle ranches where real "cowboys" ride horses to manage the herds of cattle. Horses used to pull plows and other farm equipment. Most Americans use tractors nowadays. There is one farmer near Turlock, California who does not have a tractor. He has large horses with big feet and strong legs to pull his equipment. These horses are not like the fancy ones that we see on television pulling the beer trucks. In some parts of the world, elephants help with logging operations, and other industrial tasks. In the Orient, yaks, and other bovines, are used for farming and other pulling tasks. In areas near the North Pole, dogs are used for pulling sleds, which provides both transportation and cartage (that means carrying goods from one place to another). We know about camels being used in deserts, for transportation and cartage, as well.

Of course, dogs are used by herdsmen to help manage cattle, sheep, and goats. Perhaps the Finns (and other people) who herd reindeer use dogs, also.

One of the most important work-dogs is the "seeing eye" dog, who guides blind people and performs many tasks for which eyesight is necessary. Another important work-dog is the "K-9" dog that is trained to assist policemen and military people.

Capuchin monkeys are being trained to live with people who are paralyzed, and to perform certain tasks for them on spoken commands.

Can you think of more animals used for work? What characteristics do animals need to be able to work for us? How do we decide which animals would be good for which tasks?

Now the part we all know will be fun. What animals do we use for companionship? What kinds of animals are our friends? We wouldn't think of eating them, they don't do any work for us, they sometimes make work for us to do, they are something to offer us comfort, and for us to love. They are fun.

Each student should make a short report on pets. Discuss your own pet first, by telling what kind of animal it is and the different ways you enjoy it. Then make a list of different kinds of animals that are useful as friends, and why.

Why are certain animals chosen to be pets? What characteristics do animals have to possess in order to be pets?

What kinds of unusual pets do you know about?

We also need to discuss the animals that usually cannot be domesticated. That is to say, that we cannot gain enough control over them to be able to use them for work, or breed enough of them to use for food. Some animals cannot be tamed, which means that we cannot gain enough control over them to be able to train them to live inside the house, and
be really good companions. What do we call animals that cannot be domesticated or tamed? Wild animals.

Why do wild animals not make good work animals or pets? Why are they not widely used for food?

What other products do we obtain from animals? A few products are wool, leather, and soap. How do we get these items?

How do we get animals that are especially good for certain jobs, or have specific qualities that we consider to be desirable?

Have there always been Doberman Pinschers? If not, how did Herr Doberman get just the animal he wanted by breeding 11 different kinds of dog into one? What else do we know about selective breeding?

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