May 7, 2014
Domestication of animals has been around for thousands of years. This allowed farmers and the overall general population to use animals in a different a manner rather than just for food and clothing. By doing so they opened doors to the unknown allowing for many infectious diseases to inhabit the human body. There a quit a few different types of diseases that are associated with domesticated animals and the way they are transmitted may differ between the animals. There is more to the diseases being transferred via animals, Neolithic revolution, dense populations, agriculture, and pastoralism also played a role. Last, but not least the outcome of our history changed with these new diseases; it also had an effect on today’s populations. These are all important factors to consider when it comes to the domestication of animals.
For over ten thousand years, people have been able to domesticate animals (Greger 243-299). By doing so they opened doors to the unknown allowing for many infectious diseases to inhabit the human body. This allowed for the biggest zoonotic transmission of diseases ever known. During the earlier years of civilization the diseases were minuet and were just getting started. Some of the worst and scariest diseases came from domesticated animals for example, Toxoplasma which is transmitted orally via cats, Prion disease that arose form sheep and cows and entered humans after they consumed the brains of these animals, and mad cow disease which arose from cows and transferred to humans via consumption. These are just a few diseases that came from domestication of animals. Some animals carried lice and tics which would then be transported to people thru close contact .Another factor that played a role in these new diseases was dense populations also known as “crowed diseases” due to communities settling near each other allowing for them to be exposed to their own feces. Their feces could then contaminate the water supply and infected the entire community.
Dense populations had massive effect on growth of the communities and the vast amount of diseases that flourished. Some of the new diseases that came to be were chicken pox, tuberculosis, herpes, leprosy, treponematosis, staphylococcal, and streptococcal. These forms of diseases were transmitted via contracted either through droplet transmission, direct contact, and/ or indirect contact with one another. As animals became domesticated they were already carrying epidemic diseases which also made it easier for them to be transferred to humans (Diamond 1-10). Due to all of these new diseases arriving it was later found that farmers had a higher death rate at a younger age then people who resided in the city. All of this disease and outcomes came to be due to the Neolithic revolution.
The Neolithic revolution occurred thousands of years ago when people shifted from foraging to agriculture which led to the rise of new civilization, a new world so to speak. Due to this new revolution it is thought that this shift from tribal like living to household style is what truly paved the way for domestication of animals along with agriculture (Weisdorf 561-568). They were able to not only produce food, but store it for the winter months ahead. They were also able to produce items that were not food related. Such as tools for farming, this opened even more doors and made way for material wealth. Another thing that the Neolithic revolution brought was property ownership. By leasing the lands out to farmer’s owners were able to acquire more wealth and produce more lands for farming. This is how agriculture started to flourish.
As more and more people started to adapt to agriculture more and more deaths started occurring. Not only were death rates rising, but fertility rates and birth rates were rising as well (Caldwell, and Caldwell). Agriculture was a huge success when the human race realized this could provide food for…