A bullock team hauling wool in New South Wales
A bullock team hauling wool in New South Wales

A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks instead of being slaughtered to harvest animal products. Some are beasts of burden (draught animals) that provide transportation (e.g. riding horses and camels) and aid in physical labor (e.g. oxens and elephants), while others are service animals trained to execute certain specialized tasks (e.g. hunting and guide dogs, messenger pigeons and fishing cormorants). They may also be used for milking or herding. Some, at the end of their working lives, may also be used for meat or other products such as leather.

The history of working animals may predate agriculture, with dogs used by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Around the world, millions of animals work in relationship with their owners. Domesticated species are often bred for different uses and conditions, especially horses and working dogs. Working animals are usually raised on farms, though some are still captured from the wild, such as dolphins and some Asian elephants.

Traditional farming methods using oxen
Traditional farming methods using oxen

People have found uses for a wide variety of abilities in animals, and even industrialised societies use many animals for work. People use the strength of horses, elephants, and oxen to pull carts and move loads. Police forces use dogs for finding illegal substances and assisting in apprehending wanted persons, others use dogs to find game or search for missing or trapped people. People use various animals—camels, donkeys, horses, dogs, etc.—for transport, either for riding or to pull wagons and sleds. Other animals, including dogs and monkeys, help disabled people.

On rare occasions, wild animals are not only tamed, but trained to perform work—though often solely for novelty or entertainment, as such animals tend to lack the trustworthiness and mild temper of true domesticated working animals. Conversely, not all domesticated animals are working animals. For example, while cats may catch mice, it is an instinctive behaviour, not one that can be trained by human intervention. Other domesticated animals, such as sheep or rabbits, may have agricultural uses for meat, hides and wool, but are not suitable for work. Finally, small domestic pets, such as most small birds (other than certain types of pigeon) are generally incapable of performing work other than providing companionship.

Roles and specializations

Transportation

The horse-drawn winch of a former limestone quarry (France)
The horse-drawn winch of a former limestone quarry (France)

Some animals are used due to sheer physical strength in tasks such as ploughing or logging. Such animals are grouped as a draught or draft animals. Others may be used as pack animals, for animal-powered transport, the movement of people and goods. Together, these are sometimes called beasts of burden. Some animals are ridden by people on their backs and are known as mounts. Alternatively, one or more animals in harness may be used to pull vehicles.

Riding animals or mounts

They mainly include equines such as horses, donkeys, and mules; bovines such as cattle, water buffalo, and yak. In some places, elephants, llamas and camels are also used. Dromedary camels are in arid areas of Australia, North Africa and the Middle East; the less common Bactrian camel inhabits central and East Asia; both are used as working animals. On occasion, reindeer, though usually driven, may be ridden.

Certain wild animals have been tamed and used for riding, usually for novelty purposes, including the zebra and the ostrich. Some mythical creatures are believed to act as divine mounts, such as garuda in Hinduism (See vahana for divine mounts in Hinduism) and the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology.

Pack animals

A pack llama
A pack llama

Pack animals may be of the same species as mounts or harness animals, though animals such as horses, mules, donkeys, reindeer and both types of camel may have individual bloodlines or breeds that have been selectively bred for packing. Additional species are only used to carry loads, including llamas in the Andes.

Domesticated cattle and yaks are also used as pack animals. Other species used to carry cargo include dogs and pack goats.

Draft animals

Donkey used to pull a wheeled vehicle in Morocco
Donkey used to pull a wheeled vehicle in Morocco
Camel pulling a coach in Rajasthan
Camel pulling a coach in Rajasthan

An intermediate use is as draft animals, harnessed singly or in teams, to pull sleds, wheeled vehicles or ploughs.

Assorted wild animals have, on occasion, been tamed and trained to harness, including zebras and even moose.

See also: Driving (horse)

Guard animals

As some domesticated animals display extremely protective or territorial behaviour, certain breeds and species can be utilised to guard property, including dogs, geese and llamas.

Powering fixed machinery

An ox-powered Copra press
An ox-powered Copra press

Working draught animals may power fixed machinery using a treadmill and have been used throughout history to power a winch to raise water from a well. Turnspit dogs were formerly used to power roasting jacks for roasting meat.

Treatment animals

Working as a form of biological treatment for the environment. Animals such as Asian carps were imported to the U.S. in 1970s to control algae, weed, and parasite growth in aquatic farms, weeds in canal systems, and as one form of sewage treatment.[4]

Searching and retrieving

Hunting

A dog working as a retriever
A dog working as a retriever

As predatory species are naturally equipped to catch prey, this is a further use for animals and birds. This can be done either for sustenance, sport, or to reduce the population of undesired animals that are considered harmful to crops, livestock or the environment.

Humans

Foods

Contraband

Interfacing and organization

Assistance animals

Main article: Service animal

Herding

A Koolie dog working with sheep
A Koolie dog working with sheep

Employers

Police and military

Main article: Military animal

The defensive and offensive capabilities of animals (such as fangs and claws) can be used to protect or to attack humans.

APOPO HeroRAT getting food reward
APOPO HeroRAT getting food reward

Legal status

In some jurisdictions, certain working animals are afforded greater legal rights than other animals. One such common example is police dogs, which are often afforded additional protections and the same memorial services as human officers.

India law have provision for the in loco parentis for implementing animal welfare laws. Under the India law the non-human entities such as animals, deities, trusts, charitable organizations, corporate, managing bodies, etc. and several other non-human entitles have been given the status of the "legal person" with legal rights and duties, such as to sue and be sued, to own and transfer the property, to pay taxes, etc. In court cases regarding animals, the animals have the status of "legal person" and humans have the legal duty to act as "loco parentis" towards animals welfare like a parent has towards the minor children. In a case of cow-smuggling, the Punjab and Haryana High Court mandated that "entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic" species has a "distinct legal persona with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person" and humans are "loco parentis" while laying out the norms for animal welfare, veterinary treatment, fodder and shelter, e.g. animal drawn carriages must not have more than four humans, and load carrying animals must not be loaded beyond the specified limits and those limits must be halved when animals have to carry the load up a slope. A court while deciding the "Animal Welfare Board of India vs Nagaraja" case in 2014 mandated that animals are also entitled to the fundamental right to freedom[15] enshrined in the Article 21 of Constitution of India i.e. right to life, personal liberty and the right to die with dignity (passive euthanasia). In another case, a court in Uttarakhand state mandated that animals have the same rights as humans.[16]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Russian soldiers train in sub-zero temperatures with reindeer". BBC. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ The Geographical, Natural and Civil History of Chili, Pages 15 and 16, Volume II
  4. ^ "Asian Carp Overview". National Park Service. 24 June 2019.
  5. ^ Davis, Nicola (25 September 2020). "'Any breed could do it': dogs might be a Covid tester's best friend". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  6. ^ Else, Holly (23 November 2020). "Can dogs smell COVID? Here's what the science says". Nature. pp. 530–531. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03149-9. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  7. ^ Jendrny, Paula; Schulz, Claudia; Twele, Friederike; Meller, Sebastian; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; Osterhaus, Albertus Dominicus Marcellinus Erasmus; Ebbers, Janek; Pilchová, Veronika; Pink, Isabell; Welte, Tobias; Manns, Michael Peter; Fathi, Anahita; Ernst, Christiane; Addo, Marylyn Martina; Schalke, Esther; Volk, Holger Andreas (23 July 2020). "Scent dog identification of samples from COVID-19 patients – a pilot study". BMC Infectious Diseases. 20 (1): 536. doi:10.1186/s12879-020-05281-3. ISSN 1471-2334. PMC 7376324. PMID 32703188.
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  8. ^ Grandjean, Dominique; Sarkis, Riad; Lecoq-Julien, Clothilde; Benard, Aymeric; Roger, Vinciane; Levesque, Eric; Bernes-Luciani, Eric; Maestracci, Bruno; Morvan, Pascal; Gully, Eric; et al. (10 December 2020). "Can the detection dog alert on COVID-19 positive persons by sniffing axillary sweat samples? A proof-of-concept study". PLOS ONE. 15 (12): e0243122. Bibcode:2020PLoSO..1543122G. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243122. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 7728218. PMID 33301539.
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  9. ^ "Bees in the Netherlands trained to detect COVID-19 infections". Reuters. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  10. ^ Nelson, Dean (20 February 2012). "Monkeys to be trained to pick coconuts". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ Jenkins, Austin (22 July 2009). "KPLU: Dogs Used to Sniff Out Cell Phones in NW Prisons". Publicbroadcasting.net. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  12. ^ Remote Air Sampling for Canine Olfaction Published in: Proceedings IEEE 35th Annual 2001 International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology, accessed 8 March 2021 DOI: 10.1109/CCST.2001.962819
  13. ^ Bees, Giant African Rats Used to Sniff Landmines. In National Geographic, 10 February 2004. Webpage found 12 March 2010.
  14. ^ APOPO, Dutch organization that raises and trains detection rats for worldwide use. See also HeroRAT.
  15. ^ Democratic Politics Class 9. NCERT.
  16. ^ Birds to holy rivers: A list of everything India considers “legal persons”, Quartz (publication), September 2019.