Mongolia - Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry is the backbone of Mongolia's economy, employing some 160,000 persons. After Mongolia became the world's second communist country in 1924, many nomads settled down to raise livestock on state-owned collectives. Pastures constitute about 75% of the national territory. In 2001 there were 13,876,000 sheep, 10,269,000 goats, 3,097,000 cattle, 3,200,000 horses, 352,000 camels, and some 21,000 hogs. The goat population increased by over one million in 1994/95, due to a boom in the cashmere industry. The meat produced in 2001 was 290,000 tons. Because of the harsh climate, Mongolians consume much fat and meat during winter, and dairy products in the summer.
Mongols claim that the Mongolian thoroughbred is the progenitor of many breeds of race horses worldwide; furthermore, its stamina and speed over long distances surpass Arabic and Akhaltec racers. The Mongolian Horse Association was founded in February 1989 in Zunmod to increase the population and preserve traditional horse-breeding techniques, which were largely being forgotten over the past three decades.
Hunting remains an important commercial activity, with furs and skins the chief products. In 1999, production of skins and hides was estimated at 26,000 tons from sheepskins and 21,000 tons from cattle hides.