Ox is a castrated male adult cattle used commonly in agriculture for plowing, pulling cart or hauling wagons. Ox is also used for transporting and power supplying source. Cow (female) and bull (intact male) are also used in agriculture and food industry.
In Chinese zodiac, ox is placed second among 12 animals. According to Chinese mythology, the order of animals in the zodiac is based on the race crossing over the great river. The ox appeared to have no difficulty to cross the river, and it allowed the rat to ride on its back to cross the river. However, when they nearly reached to the finishing line, the rat jumped out from the ox’s back, taking the first place. The symbol of ox represents persistence, loyalty, industriousness and faithfulness. In my country, Vietnam, instead of the ox, buffalo is the second symbol in the zodiac. A family owing one or two buffalo is considered as the richest in the village. Also, the image of little kids riding buffalo among the grain field is the common picture in Vietnamese culture. In Indian, Nandi (bull) usually appears next to the Hindu God of Shiva, and it stands for righteousness and truth. In other Indian and Western culture, sacred bull is often seen in many rituals.
Cows and bulls are the sources of meat and dairy products such as milk or cheese. Moreover, these animals associate with Mad Cow disease, which has been linked to fatal brain disease in human called variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. Mad Cow disease is first discovered in United Kingdom in 1986. The first case of Mad Cow disease happened in the United States in December, 2003. This disease is caused by prions, affecting brains of cattle. Human can develop this fatal brain disease by eating diseased tissue from cattle.
“First apparent U.S. case of mad cow disease discovered.” CNN 2003. Web. 26 May, 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/12/23/mad.cow/index.html?_s=PM:US
“Mad Cow Disease Fast Facts.” CNN. Web. 26 May, 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/02/health/mad-cow-disease-fast-facts/