- Cattle raiding
Cattle rustling or cattle raiding is the act of stealing livestock. In
Australia, such stealing is often referred to as 'duffing', and the person as a 'duffer'. [Baker, Sidney John (1945) "The Australian language : an examination of the English language and English speech as used in Australia" Angus and Robertson, Ltd., Sydney, page 32, [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/ OCLC 186257552] ] [Derricourt, William (1899) "Old Convict Days" (2nd ed.) T.F. Unwin, London, p. 103 [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/5990998 OCLC 5990998] ]
Historically the act of cattle rustling is quite ancient with the first suspected raids conducted over seven thousand years ago. [ [http://perfectirishgifts.com/blog/2008/06/prehistoric_massacres_the_twin.html The Perfect Gift: Prehistoric Massacres. The twin vices of women and cattle in prehistoric Europe ] ]
American Old West, rustling was under some circumstances considered a serious offense; however, it would rarely result in lynchingby vigilantes. Most such stories are false or exaggerations at least in part inspired by popular Westerns such as "The Virginian". Mexicanrustlers were a major issue during the American Civil War, with the Mexican government being accused of supporting the habit. Texans likewise stole cattle from Mexico, swimming them across the Rio Grande. These cattle were called 'wet stock'. Failure to brand new calves facilitated theft.
Conflict over (mostly presumed) rustling was a major issue in the
Johnson County Warin the American state of Wyoming.
The transition from open range to fenced grazing gradually reduced the practice of rustling in
North America. In the 20th century, so called 'suburban rustling' became more common, with rustlers anesthetizing cattle and taking them directly to auction. It often takes place at night, and poses problems for law enforcement because on very large ranches it can take several days for loss of cattle to be noticed and reported. Convictions are rare to nonexistent.
Cattle rustling continues to be a major problem in
developing countriesin areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
Cattle raids play an important part in
Indo-European mythology, see for example Táin Bó Cúailnge(Irish), the Rigvedic Panis(India), and the Homeric Hymnto Hermes, who steals the cows of Apollo(Greece). These myths are often paired with myths of the rape (in the original wider sense of the term) or abduction of women (compare Helen, Sita, Saranyu, The Rape of the Sabine Women). Abduction of women and theft of lifestock were practiced in many of the world's pre-urbanised cultures, the former likely reaching back to the Paleolithic, and the latter to the earliest domestication of animals in the Neolithic.
Kenya cattle raids
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.