European Cattle Density Map
This interactive map shows bovine numbers in Europe's territories. Darker shades of brown, represent a higher number of live animals. For exact number of heads, territory name, and country, hover over the map. For more detail zoom in. For more information, scroll down.
Bovines (1,000,000 heads)
European Cattle Numbers
Cattle numbers represented in this map are from 2016. Values from France, Scottland and Ireland are an approximation as the survey area corresponds to older Territorial Units (NUTS).
The 5 highest number of live bovine animals are in Southern and Eastern Ireland, Pays de la Loire in France, Bretagne in France, Northern Ireland in the UK, and Auvergne in France.
European Bovine Facts
The European Union has 89 million bovines.
According to the latest available data from the European Commission's Eurostat database, the country with the largest number of bovines in Europe is France, with a total of 19.2 million heads as Germany comes second with 11.8 million, followed by Spain with 6.3 million.
The United Kingdom is no longer part of the Union but it has over 9 million bovine heads.
It's worth noting that the definition of "bovine" includes cattle, bison, and buffalo, but not goats or sheep.
According to the latest data available from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the top three beef-consuming countries in Europe are Ireland, Spain, and France, respectively.
In Ireland, the per capita consumption of beef was 29.2 kilograms in 2020, followed by Spain with 22.3 kilograms and France with 21.9 kilograms. Other countries with relatively high beef consumption in Europe include Belgium, Denmark, and Luxembourg.
It's important to note that the data may not be fully up-to-date or accurate as it is dependent on multiple factors, including reporting and statistical methods.
According to the latest data available from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), approximately 51% of the global cattle population is for dairy production.
This means that over half of the world's cattle are primarily used for milk production rather than meat.
It's worth noting that this percentage can vary significantly between countries, with some countries having a higher proportion of dairy cattle than others.
For example, in the United States, around 60% of the cattle population is raised for beef, while 40% is used for dairy. Source: FAO.
According to the latest data available from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in 2021, the EU-27 had a total cattle population of approximately 89.7 million, out of which 27.8 million were dairy cows.
Therefore, around 31% of the cattle population in the EU-27 is for dairy production.
It's worth noting that this percentage can vary significantly between countries, with some European countries having a higher proportion of dairy cattle than others. Source: Eurostat
Largest EU Cattle Growing Countries
Cattle is grown in various regions throughout Europe. Some of the major cattle-raising countries in Europe include:
- France: France is known for its high-quality beef and dairy products, and is home to numerous beef breeds such as Limousin, Charolais, and Blonde d'Aquitaine.
- Spain: Spain has a long history of cattle raising and is famous for its Iberico cattle, which produce some of the best beef in the world.
- Ireland: Cattle farming is a major industry in Ireland, and the country is renowned for its grass-fed beef.
- United Kingdom: Beef production is a significant industry in the United Kingdom, particularly in Scotland and Wales.
- Germany: Germany is another country that has a strong tradition of cattle farming and produces a wide range of beef and dairy products.
- Italy: Cattle are raised in various regions throughout Italy, including the famous Chianina breed, which is used for meat production.
Other countries in Europe where cattle are raised include the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, and Switzerland.
European Regions with Most Cattle
The 5 regions with the highest number of live bovine animals are:
- Southern and Eastern Ireland with 4.5 million
- Border and Midland Ireland with 2.7 million
- Pays de la Loire in France with 2.5 million
- Bretagne in France with 2 million
- Northern Ireland in the UK with 1.6 million.
These regions have been successful growing cattle for various reasons.
- Climate: Many regions in Europe have a moderate climate with sufficient rainfall, which is ideal for growing lush pastures that cattle can graze on. This creates a suitable environment for cattle to thrive and produce high-quality meat and milk.
- Soil quality: The soil in some regions is rich in nutrients and minerals, which supports the growth of nutritious grasses and other forage that cattle can feed on.
- Tradition and expertise: Cattle farming has a long history in Europe, and many regions have developed specialized expertise in cattle breeding, feeding, and management. This expertise has been passed down through generations and has contributed to the success of these regions in raising healthy and productive cattle.
- Government support: In some regions, the government provides support to farmers through subsidies, research funding, and other incentives. This helps to promote sustainable and profitable cattle farming practices.
- Market demand: Europe has a strong demand for high-quality beef and dairy products, which has created a market for farmers to sell their products and earn a livelihood.
Bovine Breeds in Europe
There are many bovine breeds in Europe, and different regions have their own preferred breeds based on factors such as climate, soil quality, market demand, and local tradition. Here are some of the main bovine breeds in Europe:
- Holstein: The Holstein breed is one of the most popular dairy breeds in Europe and is known for its high milk production and docile temperament. It is widely distributed throughout Europe.
- Charolais: The Charolais breed is a large, muscular beef breed that originated in France and is now found in many European countries. It is known for its high growth rates and lean meat quality.
- Limousin: The Limousin breed is a beef breed that originated in France and is now found in many European countries. It is known for its tender, flavorful meat and good feed efficiency.
- Aberdeen Angus: The Aberdeen Angus breed is a beef breed that originated in Scotland and is now found in many European countries. It is known for its marbled meat and hardiness in harsh climates.
- Hereford: The Hereford breed is a beef breed that originated in England and is now found in many European countries. It is known for its docile temperament and marbled meat.
- Brown Swiss: The Brown Swiss breed is a dairy breed that originated in Switzerland and is now found in many European countries. It is known for its high milk production and strong, durable constitution.
- Simmental: The Simmental breed is a dual-purpose breed that originated in Switzerland and is now found in many European countries. It is known for its high milk production and good meat quality.
There are also many other breeds of cattle found in different regions of Europe, each with their own unique characteristics and qualities.
The choice of breed often depends on local conditions, market demand, and local tradition. For example, breeds that are well-adapted to harsh climates may be preferred in northern regions, while breeds that produce high-quality meat or milk may be preferred in other regions.
Additionally, some regions may have developed their own distinct breeds through selective breeding over time. Source: Eurocattle.
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Bovine Growth and Condition
The feed for cattle in Europe varies depending on factors such as the region, the type of cattle, and the season. However, some common feeds include:
- Grass and forage: In many regions of Europe, cattle are raised on pasture and fed a diet of grass and other forage plants. This is a traditional and sustainable way of raising cattle and can provide them with a healthy and balanced diet.
- Silage: Silage is a type of fermented feed that is made from grass, corn, or other crops. It is often used as a winter feed for cattle in Europe and can provide them with energy, protein, and other nutrients.
- Hay: Hay is dried grass or other forage plants that can be fed to cattle throughout the year. It is a good source of fiber, energy, and protein, and can help to maintain the health of the cattle.
- Concentrates: Concentrates are a type of feed that are high in energy and protein, and are often used to supplement the diet of cattle. They can include grains, such as corn and barley, as well as protein sources, such as soybean meal and rapeseed meal.
- By-products: Cattle in Europe may also be fed by-products from other industries, such as beet pulp, brewers' grains, and distillers' grains. These can provide a source of energy and protein, as well as other nutrients. Source: European Food Safety Authority.
For example, in northern Europe, where the climate is cooler and grazing land is limited, cattle may be fed more concentrates and silage during the winter months.
In southern Europe, where the climate is warmer and there is more pastureland, cattle may be fed a diet that is primarily based on grass and forage.
In areas where there is a large dairy industry, such as in the Netherlands, cattle may be fed a diet that is high in protein and energy to support milk production.
Overall, the type of feed that cattle receive can vary greatly depending on the region and local practices. This can have an impact on the quality and characteristics of the meat and dairy products that are produced from these cattle.
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"Bovine growth" is a term that could refer to various practices related to the raising and breeding of cattle. It is important to note that the use of the term "compassionate" can be subjective and open to interpretation, and may vary depending on cultural, ethical, and moral beliefs.
In general, there are different approaches to raising cattle that can be more or less compassionate towards the animals. For example, some farmers may prioritize the welfare and comfort of the animals by providing them with spacious living conditions, access to pasture, and a balanced diet, while others may prioritize profit and productivity, leading to overcrowded conditions, restricted movement, and potentially harmful practices.
In recent years, there has been increased attention towards animal welfare in agriculture, and various certification programs have been developed to promote more humane practices.
These programs often have strict standards regarding living conditions, transportation, handling, and slaughter of the animals.
It is important to consider the specific practices and conditions of the farm or facility in question when evaluating whether bovine growth is compassionate towards animals.
Ultimately, it is up to individuals to decide what they consider to be compassionate treatment of animals and to seek out products from sources that align with their values.
Bovine Welfare in Europe
In Europe, animal welfare is an important issue, and regulations are in place to ensure that cattle and other livestock are treated humanely.
The European Union has established animal welfare laws that apply to all member states and are designed to protect the welfare of farmed animals, including cattle.
These regulations cover various aspects of the treatment of cattle, such as the provision of food and water, adequate space and living conditions, and the use of humane slaughter methods.
Farmers are also required to provide their animals with veterinary care when needed and to minimize the use of antibiotics and other medications.
In addition to these regulations, many European countries have their own laws and guidelines regarding the treatment of cattle.
Some countries, such as Switzerland and Austria, have stricter regulations than those required by the European Union.
Overall, while there may be some cases of mistreatment of cattle in Europe, there are laws and regulations in place to protect the welfare of these animals, and many farmers and facilities prioritize the comfort and well-being of their animals.
Consumers can also look for products that are certified as meeting animal welfare standards, such as the "Organic" or "Label Rouge" labels in France or the "Red Tractor" label in the UK, to support humane practices.
Organic Beef Growth
The percentage of Europe's beef that is grown organically varies depending on the country and region.
According to Eurostat, in 2020, the European Union (EU) produced 7.2 million tonnes of beef, of which approximately 3.8% was certified organic. However, this percentage varied greatly among member states, with some countries producing a significantly higher proportion of organic beef than others.
For example, in Austria, over 80% of beef production is organic, while in some other countries, the percentage is less than 1%.
It's worth noting that organic beef production is only one aspect of sustainable agriculture, and there are other methods that can also promote animal welfare and reduce the environmental impact of beef production.
Some farmers and organizations may also use methods that go beyond the minimum requirements of organic certification to further promote sustainability and animal welfare. Source: Soil Association.
Austria is the country that grows and consumes the most organic beef in Europe. According to Eurostat, in 2020, Austria produced approximately 25,000 tonnes of organic beef, which accounted for over 80% of the country's total beef production.
In addition, Austria is also a major consumer of organic beef, with a per capita consumption rate that is among the highest in Europe.
Other countries that produce significant amounts of organic beef in Europe include France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. However, the percentage of organic beef production in these countries is generally lower than in Austria.
It's worth noting that organic beef production is just one aspect of sustainable agriculture, and there are other methods that can also promote animal welfare and reduce the environmental impact of beef production.
Some farmers and organizations may also use methods that go beyond the minimum requirements of organic certification to further promote sustainability and animal welfare. Source: European Comission.
Resources for Cattle Heads in Europe
The shapefiles with European Territories was downloaded from European Commission. This was a statistical unit dataset representing the NUTS2.
The data with European bovine live animals was downloaded from Eurostat.
The country shapefiles where downloaded from ARCGIS.
Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.