The uses to which the same animals are put differ in various regions. The known uses to which domestic animals can be put by pastoral peoples are: (i) the consumption of meal and occasionally blood, (ii) the use of the hides, hair and wool, (iii) the milking of the females, thus providing a source of food, (iv) the use of animals as beasts of burden or even draught, and (v) the riding of animals.
To use all these well-known practices may appear obvious, but it is important to realize that many pastoralists are completely unaware of some or all of them excepting only the first (consumption of meat).
The diversity in the use of same animal may be explained by citing examples from the various regions of Africa and Asia. For example, in Africa, south of Sahara, dairy products in the form of cheese, butter, curds and fermented milk are unknown. Similarly, among the Masais of Kenya, cattle are not even milked. They are used like the sheep and goats, used for meat and hides.
Cattle are with few exceptions never used as beasts of burden in Africa, and in South-East Africa, the Bantus let their women, but not their cattle, carry burdens. The Bantus do not possess the donkey like that of the Masais. In Eastern Africa, south of Abyssinia, riding is unknown.
The absence of horse and camel is no complete reason for this, for Kazak herders ride bullocks and the Yakuts ride the reindeer, while the donkey, well known to the pastoralists (e.g., Masais) of equatorial Africa, is ridden in the Mediterranean lands.
The explanation undoubtedly lies in the fact that riding is closely associated with the horse and the camel, to which these people have never been introduced.
Without contact with any riding peoples they have failed to discover the practice for themselves. Contrary to this, in West Africa, horse riding did penetrate the savannas at the time of the Islamic conquests, and the use of cavalry, as a military weapon, has entered the forest and reached the Guinea coast among non-pastoral peoples like the Yorubas.
The East African uses of stock are, therefore, very limited. Moreover, the religious prohibitions surrounding cattle do not even permit Bantus to make full use of them as food supply, and they depend on hunting than on livestock for their meat.