The raising of livestock is the principal economic undertaking in Lesotho. Grazing rights on all noncultivated land are communal, and no limits are placed on the number of livestock permitted to graze an area. Lesotho's main exports are wool and mohair; in general, however, the quality of the livestock is poor and yields are low. In 2001 there were an estimated 850,000 sheep, 650,000 goats, 540,000 head of cattle, 154,000 asses, 100,000 horses, 65,000 hogs, and 1.8 million chickens.
A number of livestock improvement centers have been established, and Merino rams and Angora bucks have been imported from South Africa for breeding purposes. Cattle, sheep, and goats are exported on the hoof. Hides and skins, usually from animals that have died of starvation or disease or have been slaughtered for human consumption, are also exported.