Questions for Livestock: A need to save rare breeds

Jacob ewe

Classroom questions for Livestock: A need to save rare breeds.

Jeannette Beranger/The Livestock Conservancy


Before reading: 

1.    Do you or someone you know have a pet that is a special breed, like a dachshund or a Balinese cat? What makes that animal different from other dogs or cats?

2.    If you were raising cattle on a farm, what kind of traits would be important for your animals to have?

During reading: 

1.    What is the difference between a breed and a species?

2.    Name three examples of rare breeds.

3.    Why might a rare breed not be popular among farmers?

4.    Why do so many farmers raise Holstein cows?

5.    What are two good traits held by Choctaw hogs?

6.    What is a variety?

7.    In the 18th century, how did European farmers create hogs that gave birth to more piglets?

8.    What is Tay-Sachs?

9.    What are three ways that people are working to preserve rare livestock breeds?

10. Why might someone pay more money for the milk or meat from an animal that belongs to a rare breed?

After reading:

1.    Why would a farmer raise rare breeds of animals?

2.    What might happen if a disease started to spread among the 19 million Holstein dairy cows in the United States? How might that affect the price of milk — and why?


1.    In the mid-19th century, Irish farmers all tended to grow one crop — the potato. Then a fungus spread and killed off many of the plants. This triggered a famine. Investigate the effect of this famine on the Irish people and on U.S. immigration.