Eli5: Is there any particular reason on why we mostly eat cow/chicken meat instead of other animals? Are these healthier or is there another reason?


Eli5: Is there any particular reason on why we mostly eat cow/chicken meat instead of other animals? Are these healthier or is there another reason?

In: Biology

Because that’s what people used to eat regularly, it’s become normalized to eat those animals.
People ate them in the past because they were easier to kill and eat, than other animals.
Chickens are easy to manage, and cows are trusting and curious.

Horses on the other hand are easy to spook and fast. They’re harder to hunt. If you’re in a field with a horse and a cow, and all you have is a rock to beat one to death, you’re gunna end up eating a cow.

Cows and chickens are simpler animals. Easier to raise and care for. But honestly that’s mostly Americans. Sheep, goats and pigs are all way up there world wide as well.

No reason in particular, but a complex historic process difficult to research. But the main cause is that we domesticated theses species for long enough for them be widespread and to be versatile an easily adaptable to different environments. The former, obviously, is due to the long domestication. Also obviously, the spread of these species are related to colonization and trade.

There are evidences of chickens in European potteries since the 5th or 7th century, but there are mentions in the Talmud and the Bible’s New Testament dating from the 1st century that are understood as rosters. Also, the roster is a part of the Chinese zodiac, which origin I couldn’t date, but it was mentioned by Confucius in VI century. Again the domestication of chickens is not well understood, but some genetic evidences point to the [junglefowl](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junglefowl) in the region that nowadays is India as the origin about 8000 years ago. As an easy and cheap source of protein is not difficult to understand how this fowl would easily spread trough Asia and, eventually, though Europe.

Our cows seems to be descendants of to lineages of urus (now a “recently” extinct species) [in the ancient India/Pakistan](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebu) and the [ancient Mesopotamia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurochs) domesticated about 10500 years ago. Again, is not difficult to imagine how trade would spread these animals, as they were naturally spread trough a good part of Asia, North Africa and South Asia.

They aren’t terribly dangerous. They’re easy to feed. There aren’t *too* many diseases that we can catch from them or give to them. They’re comfortable in the same climates that humans like. They’re fairly dumb, so they don’t escape much and we mostly don’t get wracked with guilt about slaughtering them.

I think that’s most of it…?

When you say “we” who are you referring to?

Many cultures eat fish and other seafood much more than beef/chicken.

Pork, lamb and duck are also eaten as commonly as beef/chicken in many cultures.

Mostly because they (along with fish and pork) are domesticated and easy to handle. They’re also relatively dumb compared to other animals, because they’ve been bred that way. It’s hard to farm non-domesticated animals. Though you can hunt or trap some, they might be a bit wild and gamey, and wouldn’t produce anywhere near the mass quantities of meat that we eat.

In the U.S., raccoon used to be popular long ago, and was a traditional Thanksgiving meal until [Calvin Coolidge decided to keep one for a pet instead](https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/did-president-always-pardon-turkey). But raccoons are too smart to be farmed. So now we eat turkeys instead.