Fatness of Animals

Fatness of Animals


the extent to which reserve nutrients, mainly fat, accumulate in animals. The degree of fatness of an animal is determined by species, breed, age, sex, feeding rations, and maintenance conditions, as well as by the way in which the animal is used. A farm animal’s overall physical condition is determined by the degree of fatness (seeCONDITIONS OF FARM ANIMALS).

In the course of evolution animals acquired the ability to store vital nutrients for use when their food contained insufficient amounts of these nutrients. The most important nutrient is fat, a weight unit of which contains more energy than other nutrients. The store of fat, for example, in the hump of a camel or on the rump of a sheep, also serves as a water reserve. Fat on the body surface provides protection against heat loss; well-fed animals tolerate cold better than others and expend less food energy to keep warm.

Upon entering the protoplasm fat becomes a structural element of the cell. In young and poorly nourished animals fat is deposited chiefly on the viscera and between muscles. In adult and well-nourished animals deposits of subcutaneous and intramuscular fat accumulate. Moderate fatness and extreme fatness achieved through a wholesome well-balanced diet satisfy breeding requirements and reflect the optimum physiological condition of an animal. Pathological fatness results from rapid and extreme adiposity caused by excessive, unbalanced consumption of carbohydrates and by insufficient activity. Such fatness is not permitted in purebred and draft animals. Pathological exhaustion follows insufficient feeding.

At slaughter animals are classified as having great, average, low-average, and meager fatness.


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