Cattle raiding

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, [ OCLC 186257552] ] [Derricourt, William (1899) "Old Convict Days" (2nd ed.) T.F. Unwin, London, p. 103 [ OCLC 5990998] ]

Historically the act of cattle rustling is quite ancient with the first suspected raids conducted over seven thousand years ago. [ [ The Perfect Gift: Prehistoric Massacres. The twin vices of women and cattle in prehistoric Europe ] ]

In the American Old West, rustling was under some circumstances considered a serious offense; however, it would rarely result in lynching by vigilantes. Most such stories are false or exaggerations at least in part inspired by popular Westerns such as "The Virginian".

Mexican rustlers 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 War in 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 countries in 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 Hymn to 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.




ee also

*Beefsteak Raid
*Border Reivers
*Kenya cattle raids

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cattle raiding in Kenya — The northern Kenya and eastern Uganda regions are very insecure areas. For years now, there has been a number of cattle raids going on, terrorising the civilian population and killing hundreds of people. In eastern Uganda, in the Karamoja region …   Wikipedia

  • Cattle — Cow redirects here. For other uses, see Cow (disambiguation). For other uses, see Cattle (disambiguation). Cattle …   Wikipedia

  • Southern Africa — Introduction       southernmost region of the African continent, comprising the countries of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The island nation of Madagascar is excluded… …   Universalium

  • South Africa — Republic of, a country in S Africa; member of the Commonwealth of Nations until 1961. 42,327,458; 472,000 sq. mi. (1,222,480 sq. km). Capitals: Pretoria and Cape Town. Formerly, Union of South Africa. * * * South Africa Introduction South Africa… …   Universalium

  • Xhosa Wars — Military history of South Africa This article is part of a series Conflicts Khoikhoi Dutch Wars Anglo Dutch rivalry Xhosa Wars Zulu Ndwandwe civil war Battles between Voortrekkers …   Wikipedia

  • Botswana — /bot swah neuh/, n. a republic in S Africa: formerly a British protectorate; gained independence 1966; member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 1,500,765; 275,000 sq. mi. (712,250 sq. km). Cap.: Gaborone. Formerly, Bechuanaland. * * * Botswana… …   Universalium

  • Raid (military) — Raid British commandos watch as an ammunition dump burns, Vågsøy 27 December 1941. Battlespace Land, Air, Sea Strategy Operational Raid, also …   Wikipedia

  • Ankole — For the breed of cattle, see Ankole Watusi (cattle). Kingdom of Ankole and its districts …   Wikipedia

  • Habesh — ( tr. Habeş / Hebeşe) was an Ottoman province that bordered the Red Sea. It comprised Massawa, Hergigo, Suakin and their hinterlands in Africa (taken from Ethiopia, now part of Eritrea). later it would also incorporate Zeila and western… …   Wikipedia

  • History of Ireland (400–800) — History of Ireland This article is part of a series Chronology …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”