Author(s): Val Porter
The early chapters trace the domestication of cattle, looking more closely at the now extinct ancestral aurochs, and how different types and breeds gradually evolved, while later chapters study wild species of the cattle family and some of their unusual interesting domesticants, especially in Asia. The breed entries are gathered in geographical sections according to the breed's country of origin. Each section has an introduction, which sets the region's cattle in a cultural as well as an agricultural context. The development of each breed is traced, with ample reference to influential breeds that no longer exist or are rare today. The animal's physical characteristics are described [including typical coat colouring and markings, horns, sizes and conformation] along with their main roles historically and currently [for the production of meat or milk, as a work animal or as a form of currency or status symbol] and their special characteristics.
Valerie Porter has written some 30 books on rural themes including Saving the Breeds a history of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, written jointly with Lawrence Alderson. She has edited an extensive range of agricultural, veterinary and life sciences books.