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Jeffrey Briggs, Standard of perfection

Standard of Perfection¨
Animal Breeding

28¨ x 18.75¨ x 2¨

Animal breeding is defined as, "the controlled propagation of domestic animals to improve qualities desirable by man." Humans have been tinkering with many animal species, and especially cows, since Neolithic times, around 10,000 BC. The cow is certainly one of the most successfully domesticated animals. Beginning in the 18th century the practice of judging "utility breeds" on their physical structure and conformity with breed standards was instituted to improve the cow. Traits considered desirable are easy production, attachment of the udder to the body, record of high milk production, and conformation standards. The only way an animal makes this superior, desirable ranking is to be docile, submissive, cheap to feed, immune to diseases, grow rapidly and breed well in captivity. Without man's continuous care and solicitude the dairy cow could not exist. We have engineered a dependent creature: artificially inseminated and D.N.A. selected breeding creations has created the "purebred" standard. The scientific research on better ways of raising healthy livestock has led to new developments including "cloned replicas" and "chimeras" (mixing of cells to create improved body parts). These are the new advancements in the Standard of Perfection—a chilling term I learned from a television program on judging dairy cows.