Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Bovids, despite their important economic contributions to humans, can also have important detrimental effects. Zoonotic diseases transmitted by bovids to humans and domestic animals can have significant negative consequences, both physically and financially. For example, in less developed counties bovine tuberculosis can pose a significant economic threat for cattle farmers, and brucellosis, a bacterial disease that affects sheep, goats, cattle, elk, and deer, can be transmitted to humans by consuming undercooked contaminated meat and contaminated milk and dairy products. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, is an infectious disease caused by an unknown agent, currently believed to be a modified protein. Cattle become infected when they are fed meat-and-bone meal that contains infected cattle by-products. Humans can contract BSE by consuming animal products from infected animals.
Bovids have been introduced world wide and in some locations have had severe detrimental impacts on the local environment. For example, goats were introduced by whalers to the Galapagos Island during the 18th century and have since caused extensive damage to the native ecosystem. In addition, introduced bovids compete with native animals for both food and habitat and can cause soil erosion due to overgrazing. Bovids, native and domestic, present a potential threat to various forms of agriculture by damaging and consuming crops.
Negative Impacts: injures humans (carries human disease); crop pest; causes or carries domestic animal disease
- 2006. "Charles Darwin Reseach Station Fact Sheet: Goats in Galapagos" (On-line). Charles Darwin Foundation. Accessed February 16, 2009 at http://www.darwinfoundation.org/files/species/pdf/goats-en.pdf.
- 2007. "Brucellosis" (On-line). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 11, 2009 at http://www.cdc.gov/NCIDOD/DBMD/DISEASEINFO/brucellosis_g.htm.
- 2008. "BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease)" (On-line). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed March 11, 2009 at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/bse/.
- 2008. "Bovine Tuberculosis" (On-line). Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Accessed February 16, 2009 at http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10319-99064--,00.html.
- Rhodes, R. 1997. Deadly Feasts: The "Prion" Controversy and the Public's Health. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.