For food production, man exploits the biological functions from animals in agriculture, in particularly maturation in terms of development, growth and reproduction. Broadly speaking, the most important agricultural animal species include cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, poultry and rabbits. This has developed over thousands of years into a symbiotic man-animal relationship through domestication, reproduction and selection of particularly suitable populations of these species. In its current form, this includes a great variety of sub-species. In other regions of the earth where animal power can only partially be substituted by technology; buffalos, camels and donkeys must be included in this group. The most important products of our domestic production are milk, eggs, meat but also leather, fur and wool.
With the application of modern breeding methods, breeding populations in the second half of the 20th century were greatly changed. The combination of modern biotechnical protocols, advances in information technology and facilitation of the international exchange of genetic material (sperm and embryos) has led to strong expansion of a small number of particularly high performance breeds, causing local breeds to be broadly displaced. For this reason, both research and appropriate conservation methods are needed to prevent the loss of valuable genetic material.