A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be pets or draft animals trained to achieve certain tasks, such as guide dogs, assistance dogs, draft horses, or logging elephants. Those whose tasks include pulling loads are called draught animals or draft animals. Most working animals are either service animals or draft animals. 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.
People have found uses for a wide variety of abilities in animals, and even industrialized societies use many animals for work. People use the strength of horses, elephants, and oxen to pull carts and move logs. Law enforcement uses the keen sense of smell of dogs to search for drugs and explosives, and 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 blind or 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 behavior, 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.
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.
They mainly include equines such as horses, donkeys, and mules; bovines such as cattle, water buffalo, and yak. In some places, elephants 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 and the winged horse Pegasus in Greek mythology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The defensive and offensive capabilities of animals (such as fangs and claws) can be used to protect or to attack humans.
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 freedomenshrined 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Working animals .|
A cart or dray is a vehicle designed for transport, using two wheels and normally pulled by one or a pair of draught animals. A handcart is pulled or pushed by one or more people.
A sled dog is a dog trained and used to pull a rig in harness, most commonly a sled over snow.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large breed of domestic dog originally bred for their strength and endurance to haul heavy freight as a sled dog and hound. They are similar to other arctic, husky, and spitz breeds such as the Greenland Dog, Canadian Eskimo Dog, the Siberian Husky, and the Samoyed.
A working dog is a dog used to perform practical tasks, as opposed to pet or companion dogs.
A draft horse (US), draught horse (UK) or dray horse, less often called a carthorse, work horse or heavy horse, is a large horse bred to be a working animal doing hard tasks such as plowing and other farm labor. There are a number of breeds, with varying characteristics, but all share common traits of strength, patience, and a docile temperament which made them indispensable to generations of pre-industrial farmers.
Purebreds, also called purebreeds, are cultivated varieties or cultivars of an animal species, achieved through the process of selective breeding. When the lineage of a purebred animal is recorded, that animal is said to be pedigreed.
A pack animal, also known as a sumpter animal or beast of burden, is an individual or type of working animal used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back, in contrast to draft animals which pull loads but do not carry them.
Carting is a dog sport or activity in which a dog pulls a dogcart filled with supplies, such as farm goods, camping equipment, groceries or firewood, but sometimes pulling people. Carting as a sport is also known as dryland mushing and is practiced all around the world, often to keep winter sled dogs in competition form during the off-season.
Animal training is the act of teaching animals specific responses to specific conditions or stimuli. Training may be for purposes such as companionship, detection, protection, and entertainment. The type of training an animal receives will vary depending on the training method used, and the purpose for training the animal. For example, a seeing eye dog will be trained to achieve a different goal than a wild animal in a circus.
Weight pulling is a dog sport involving a dog pulling a cart or sled loaded with weight a short distance across dirt/gravel, grass, carpet, or snow. It is a modern adaptation of freighting, in which dogs were used as freight animals to move cargo. Many breeds participate in this sport, with dogs being separated into classes by weight. Sled dog and bull breeds excel within their respective weight classes, having been historically bred to pull sleds and carts as working dogs, respectively.
The domestication of animals is the mutual relationship between animals and the humans who have influence on their care and reproduction. Charles Darwin recognized a small number of traits that made domesticated species different from their wild ancestors. He was also the first to recognize the difference between conscious selective breeding in which humans directly select for desirable traits, and unconscious selection where traits evolve as a by-product of natural selection or from selection on other traits. There is a genetic difference between domestic and wild populations. There is also a genetic difference between the domestication traits that researchers believe to have been essential at the early stages of domestication, and the improvement traits that have appeared since the split between wild and domestic populations. Domestication traits are generally fixed within all domesticates, and were selected during the initial episode of domestication of that animal or plant, whereas improvement traits are present only in a proportion of domesticates, though they may be fixed in individual breeds or regional populations.
Horse training refers to a variety of practices that teach horses to perform certain behaviors when commanded to do so by humans. Horses are trained to be manageable by humans for everyday care as well as for equestrian activities from horse racing to therapeutic horseback riding for people with disabilities.
A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels and were used to carry passengers and/or a load. They were once common worldwide, but they have mostly been replaced by automobiles and other forms of self-propelled transport.
The West Siberian Laika or WSL, is a breed of hunting dog and a breed of spitz type. Russian publications indicate that the term West Siberian Laika loosely applied to hunting dogs originating with the Mansi and Khanty people in Ural and West Siberia, but there were no standards or registrations of WSL as such until 1930. Then WWll disrupted it for a while, but systematic breeding with registrations resumed after the war ended, in 1946. This was the time the breed began taking modern shape. Before that hunters only knew of Mansi Laika and Khanty Laika. In early 1960 many hunters in Ural still preferred the term Mansi Laika, when speaking of West Siberian Laika. In Russian language, the term Laika originated from the word layat that means to bark. The word Laika simply means barker. Any hunting Laika is a bark pointer. It is a versatile dog depending on use and environment, but in certain parts of the country they have become more specialized.
Animals in sport are a specific form of working animals. Many animals, at least in more commercial sports, are highly trained. Two of the most common animals in sport are horses and dogs.
Driving, when applied to horses, ponies, mules, or donkeys, is a broad term for hitching equines to a wagon, carriage, cart, sleigh, or other horse-drawn vehicle by means of a harness and working them in this way. It encompasses a wide range of activities from pleasure driving, to harness racing, to farm work, horse shows, and even international combined driving.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to animal-powered transport:
The Yakutian Laika is a working dog breed that originated in the Arctic seashore of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. The major habitat is estuaries of Kolyma, Indigirka, Yana and Lena. In terms of functionality, Yakutian Laikas might serve as a reindeer herder's dog (olenegonka), hunter's dog, and a sled dog. In September 2019, the FCI officially accepted the breed.
Backpacking with animals is the use of pack animals, such as a horse, llama, goat, dog, or donkey to help carry the weight of a backpackers gear during an excursion. These animals need special considerations when accompanying backpackers on a trip. Some areas restrict the use of horses and other pack animals. For example, Great Basin National Park does not allow domestic animals at all in backcountry areas.
A drafting dog, pulling dog, or draft dog is a dog bred and traditionally used for pulling a dogcart, or in winter also for sled pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds. All drafting dogs have the qualities that are needed, strength and determination. Many draft dogs are in the Molosser breed group which are dogs that are solidly-built and strong.