When someone talks about agriculture, you probably think of pigs, cows, and chickens. This trinity makes up a pretty big part of the industry, but it certainly doesn’t stop there! There are all kinds of weird and wonderful agricultural projects scattered around the world. Here are five which I bet you didn’t know about!
Image from Flickr
Spider Goat Farm, USA
You’ve probably never heard of spider goats before, let alone a farm for one. That’s because they’re a genetically engineered animal, that have only existed for a few years! On the surface, they look like your normal goat. The difference is that they contain spider DNA. Their milk, containing golden orb spider silk, is used to create many durable materials. The next time you see fishing line or a parachute, there’s a fair chance it came from these remarkable animals.
Leech Farm, Wales
Some people think the leech industry is a relic of primitive medieval medicine. However, the medical benefits of leeches are still getting a lot of attention. The Biopharm leech farm in Swansea is just one place where leeches are raised for medical applications. This, and other centres provide around 60,000 leeches a year to European hospitals. They’re also used to treat a variety of conditions in animals.
Bird Nest Farm, Indonesia
Far eastern cultures have always been known for their unique cuisine. I bet you had no idea that bird’s nests make up part of it! In these operations, an open, wooden house is built specifically to attract swiftlets. After being used, their nests are harvested, dried, and processed for use in a range of dishes. The finished product is something truly beautiful, and is sold soaked in an aromatic flavouring. As you can imagine, this is quite the delicacy, and doesn’t come cheap! Here’s where you can find a natural bird nest for sale.
Elephant Dung Farm, Thailand
Everyone seems to be a coffee connoisseur these days. You can’t really wave that title around without having tried elephant dung coffee! That’s right, for around $500 a pound, you can buy coffee beans which have been plucked from the dung of Asian elephants. Many of the elephants used in this operation are rescued from the streets of Thailand, and get a pretty sweet gig out of it too! I’m sure if you can get past the mental block, you’ll have one great espresso.
Tiger Farm, China
In case you’re wondering, yes this is heavily opposed. Tiger farming is one of the most unique and most controversial agricultural operations on earth. Animal rights groups the world over have been fighting against it, considering less than 4,000 tigers in Asia remain free in the wild. There’s still a high demand for tiger body parts, both for their fur and their meat. Recently, it was still perfectly legal to buy tiger steaks straight from the farm. While there are still illegal tiger farms operating, the trade is under fire from all sides. Hopefully, we won’t be hearing about it for much longer.