A short life on the farm: aging and longevity in agricultural, large-bodied mammals

Jessica M. Hoffman, Teresa G. Valencak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


As average human lifespans increase across the globe, companion animals, specifically dogs and cats, are also living longer with more age-related morbidities. However, a similar trend is not seen in mammalian livestock species. Cows, pigs, goats, and sheep, as well as more niche mammalian species raised across the world, have been primarily raised for their economic benefit to humans and are culled from the population once their production declines. To this end, we lack clear knowledge about the age-related morbidities and causes of death that afflict livestock animals due to natural aging, as well as detailed age-specific survival rates. Here, we review the current state of the field of agricultural mammal aging, as well as provide specific questions and directions that may provide novel resources for veterinarians and aging biologists. By raising awareness of the overall quality of life and ongoing health of individual livestock animals, we can potentially increase production into older life stages, leading to decreased costs to farmers and improved welfare for the animals themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-922
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural animals
  • Companion animals
  • Healthspan
  • Lifespan
  • Livestock
  • Longevity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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