Number of cattle worldwide from 2012 to 2016 (in million head)*

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Cattle population in million head
20121,001.72
20131,005.29
20141,008.57
2015979.64
2016988.6
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About This Statistic

This statistic shows the global cattle population from 2012 to 2016. The global cattle population amounted to about 988.6 million animals in 2016.


Cattle population

The domestication of cattle began as early as 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. From ancient times up to the present, cattle are bred to provide meat and dairy. Cattle are also employed as draft animals to plow the fields or transport heavy objects. Cattle hide is used for the production of leather, and dung for fuel and agricultural fertilizer.

Almost two-thirds of the world’s cattle can be found in India, Brazil and China. The United States ranks fourth in terms of cattle population. In 2015, the federal state of Texas had the highest cattle population in the country, with over 11 million animals. During that year, this farm animal was valued at an average of 1,587 U.S. dollars per head.

Cattle meat such as beef and veal are one of the most widely consumed meat all over the globe. In 2016, roughly 60.5 million metric tons of beef and veal was produced worldwide. More than 30 million cattle were slaughtered both commercially and in farms annually in the United States and over six million were slaughtered in Nebraska in 2014. Nevertheless, the nation adheres to strict regulations pertaining to the humane treatment of livestock before and during slaughter.

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