Livestock plays only an incidental role in the agricultural pattern. The water buffalo, adept at turning heavy, water-laden soils, has been brought from India by Indian farmers and is the major draft animal in rice cultivation and probably the most productive animal in the country. Cattle are kept by some small farmers, but the best stock is that on estates and government farms or in large dairies. Poor animals and poor breeding and feeding methods keep meat and milk quantity and quality low and prices high. Trinidad and Tobago relies heavily on dairy imports from Europe to satisfy domestic demand.
In 2001, the livestock population included an estimated 24,453,000 poultry, 30,300 head of cattle, 60,000 goats, 63,000 hogs, 12,500 sheep, and 5,500 water buffalo. Animals slaughtered at abattoirs run by the government and by municipalities yielded an estimated 47,000 tons of poultry meat, and 3,000 tons of pork in 2001.