Livestock Individual Identification among the Turkana : The Animal Classification and Naming in the Pastoral Livestock Managemen

Itaru Ohta
This paper analyzes the relationship between man and livestock through the examination of the livestock classification system and naming of individual animals among the Turkana. northwestern Kenya. In the Turkana's management system, livestock are treated as classes according to their altributes based on the classification system. The notion of distinct individuality is irrelevant 10 this kind of treatment. On the other hand. individual identification of livestock is indispensable not only to
more » ... sable not only to the livestock management, but also to maintaining the human social relationship. which is mediated by livestock transfer. The former aspect is examined through analyzing livestock classification system. In the Turkana's classification system, a stress is put on the five domains: age-sex, coat color. hom shape, ear shape including ear markings, and brand marks. The management techniques relevant to producing categories of the livestock are described and analyzed. The method is described to check the presence of the members of a herd (195 goalS) which are managed together in day-trip herding. The tolal herd is divided into several small units, and the members of each unit are checked one by one. The Turkana selectively apply several attributes of livestock for the unit formation. This division of the herd can be regarded as a livestock classification in a specific situation. After being divided into units, all the individuals are checked one by one. In this checking,livestock are treated as classes by being divided into small units, and also as distinctive individuals by being checked one by one. The aspect of livestock individuality is examined through the giving of individual names. The Turkana give proper names to all the parous females which arc milked. Etymologies of 350 names are cxamined. All names refer to certain attributes of the named subjects. While livestock havc many attributes. only one attribute is referred to in most namcs. The significance of individual identification in pastoral societies is discussed. It is important functionally. because people should make the pairs of mother and offspring encounter after the separation during a day-trip herding, for milking the mother and for the offspring's nutrition. Individual identification of livestock has close connection also with the social relationships which are created and sustained by livestock transfer. Each transfer can be regarded as distinctive only when each transferred individual is identified as an irreplaceable unique animal. Livestock individuality is discussed also in relation to the identification between man and cattle in East African pastoral societies.
doi:10.14989/doctor.k3449 fatcat:uk67dk5dwjf2hfjom5lqkjen2q