Monday, August 8, 2011

New Zealand is the world's shepherd

That headline is meant literally, according to this graphic from The Economist, which tracks the nations with the heaviest concentrations of livestock (focusing on the four most common animals--chickens, cattle, pigs, and sheep).

I think the most interesting thing to look at here is not the gross numbers (by that count, China leads almost every category based on its sheer size and population), but the relative numbers on the right side of the charts.

That is where we learn some interesting tidbits that I had no clue about. For instance, who knew that the Sudan and Ethiopia had so many cattle (4th and 5th-most per capita on the list, respectively), or that Iran had so many chickens? Why does Denmark absolutely lap the field in pigs per person? And why is the USA nowhere to be found on the list of sheep producers (should we blame "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and Lamb Chop for personifying sheep and making us not want to eat lamb)?

One thing, though, is for sure: New Zealand produces a whole lot of sheep. They are, apparently, the world's shepherd.

I'll be in and out again today (following these markets, it's clear that I'm not alone), so my apologies in advance if I don't post much. Be careful out there.


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