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Photographer's Note

Since the horse power of engines has vitually replaced the power of horses, the water buffalo is unquestionably the most important draft animal in the world.

Hundreds of millions of farmers depend on their strength for pulling, ploughing and hauling. They are used primarily in rice growing areas and can plough and harrow the flooded fields without problem.

Mechanical ploughs and tillers are used by large scale rice farmers in countries like the US or Spain, but the buffalo rules supreme in Asia for several reasons. The rice fields are often on terrraced slopes, making it difficult to move a tractor from level to level, the fields are too small to make mechanization profitable, and small fields means farmers too poor to afford machinery anyway. They fertilize while they work too!

Water buffalo are ideal farm animals; strong, willing and placid. You can see a four year old child leading one by the rope in the nose, or even riding on one. Can you imagine letting a four year old do that with a bull?!!!

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Additional Photos by Ian McAllister (ianmcall) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 455 W: 0 N: 269] (1213)
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