Is it correct to use 'domestic animal' instead of 'livestock' (cattle)? Could they really have the same meaning? Thanks.
The difference between domestic animals and livestock, and whether any difference exists, depends on context.
In common usage, livestock refers to specific animals bred in an agricultural setting for food, extraction, or labor. Some consider poultry to be included under livestock; others would treat them as separate. Among laymen in Europe and North America, livestock has a strong association with large mammals, chiefly cattle, horses, sheep, goats, hogs, and mules and donkeys.
Domestic animal, perhaps due to association with household-related terms like domestic appliance or domestic worker, now strongly implies a housepet, especially dogs and cats.
There is additionally the term domesticated animal, indicating animals which have been bred in human company for so long that they are dependent on humans for survival. But not all domesticated animals are domestic (e.g. a dairy cow), and not all domestic animals are domesticated (e.g. a pet snake).
For official purposes, however, the two may be interchangeable: animals which are raised as agricultural or industrial assets. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
Livestock or domestic (not necessarily domesticated) animals might include farmed fish, bees, silkworms, or alligators in different parts of the world. Indeed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit noted in United States v. Park, 536 F.3d 1058 (9th Cir. 2008) that even dogs could qualify as livestock under U.S. law:
No, not really. Native English speakers would assume that a domestic animal means something closer to a pet, such as a dog or a cat, but that livestock refers more to animals reared on a farm, such as a cow, sheep or pigs.
Obviously there's some overlap in some circumstances, for example a pig farmer's daughter might have a baby pig as a pet, but in common parlance you should avoid mixing the two.
"Domestic animals" is a term that can have two meanings; one is very broad, the other is more narrow.
Sometimes, "domestic animals" is used as a term that roughly equates to "pets."
Other times, "domestic animals" has a broader definition, and refers to any animals that rely on humans for food and shelter, to include livestock and cattle.
Here is a definition from Dictionary.com that leans toward the first meaning:
Here is a statute from the United States (the state of Florida, specifically) that indicates a broader use of the word, referring specifically to horses, cows, goats, sheep, and pigs:
A Canadian law website provides a definition that seems to refer to pets:
Yet Wikipedia's list seems much more inclusive.
As a technical term, "domestic animal" means the same thing as "domesticated animal". Both terms refer to animals that have undergone domestication. This includes livestock, but it's a broader category including non-livestock such as domestic cats. Because it's a broader category, it's not appropriate to use the two as synonyms.
That said, the term has another meaning, as well. People often use "domestic animal" in a more narrow sense, meaning "pets such as cats or dogs". Why? I have two theories, but I don't know if either is correct:
This narrower definition doesn't change the answer to your question, though. "Livestock" isn't the same as the broad or the narrow definition. The answer is still no. Livestock is a different term.
As an aside, if you want to communicate the technical sense of "domestic animal", you can say "domesticated animal" instead. Otherwise, I think people might assume you mean the narrower sense.
Not quite when looking from a more technical aspect, even though they might overlap in some contexts (e.g. a farm, or someone can have a pet cow/horse/whatever).
Livestock are animals raised specifically for the production of food (and other byproducts, such as manure used as a fertilizer) or for doing work (e.g. horses), while domestic animals are mostly raised for companion. From Wikipedia: