I just want to make sure my science and animal biology is correct here. If there's an increase in gravity to 2-3G, would livestock develop to be more lean due to muscle development or would they maintain a certain percentage of fat, etc? Basically, is higher gravity better for food production, or would low gravity be more beneficial?

  • $\begingroup$ How much of an increase? 10% isn't likely to change much; 10X might result in flat cows :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Apr 13, 2017 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ I can interpret your question in two ways. Would livestock evolve differently on a high gravity planet? Would a high gravity planet encourage people to breed smaller livestock? $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2017 at 22:31

3 Answers 3


The only thing that comes near your question is what happens on the ISS. As you might know, that is a orbiting laboratory. And they test these effects of different gravities all the time. On astronauts. Every astronauts that goes up there is part of that experiment, by the very nature of the environment up there.

Before we dig into the effects, it is good to know that every body, of every animal, tries to optimise itself. One of the ways it does it to adapt itself to the amount of work needed to be done. So if you do hard physical work, you will gain strength and muscle mass. If you lay down all the time, your muscles will become thinner.

This, of course, lacks the food intake. The more energy you get into your body, the more your body can play with it. And most creatures have adaptations to store the excess energy. Hello fat.


Luckily, NASA has done some experiments, but not a lot. Among others, due to the problems that come with an aquarium in zero gravity or the possibility of lose mice in the ISS. Never mind a dog that vomits in zero gravity.

But one thing seems clear: Bone density and muscle mass decrease in zero gravity.

Less Gravity very likely will result in a lighter build with less muscles. You don't need them after all. I have no clue about fats. But Heinlein speculated that without that much gravity we have there on Earth, things will not sag and will stay nice and perky. (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) If creatures in low gravity do gain the amounts of fat they can here on Earth, you will end up with very rounded pets. Unless you limit the food intake.

More Gravity is the opposite of the above. And due to the body needing to work a lot more against gravity the energy intake will be quite a bit more. If you start with something like the Blonde d'Aquitaine, an already muscular breed, with more gravity you will end up with body builder type creatures. But I don't think they will stay large if you run with natural selection, 2-3G will put al lot of strain on big creatures. So I think they will become smaller.

Is it tasty? Probably both kinds will, it will take some experiments, but almost every type of meat can be made tasty with the right cooking times and herbs.

Have you made your choice?

Yes we have, one slow roast 3G tenderloin for me and Luna chicken for the lady.

Would you like a drink with that?

I'll go with a herby Port from Sirius 4, please. And the lady would like a Muscat Blanc from the dark side of Luna. Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ That explanation works for me, I can also sort of hand wave away the natural selection stuff with genetic modifications. Thanks for your help XP $\endgroup$ Apr 17, 2017 at 17:38

Higher gravity is not better for food production.

Livestock have evolved to live at 1g. Living in a higher gravity environment would put unneeded stress on their bodies. While individuals will probably gain muscle mass to compensate, the stressed muscles will be tougher from the extra work.

Given that one of the most significant effects of microgravity upon organisms is muscle atrophy a lower gravity is not going to improve food production either.

  • $\begingroup$ For the short term, this is true. But what if the livestock has been breeding in low/high-g for a few thousand years? What will their musculature look like, and what would make for better eating? $\endgroup$
    – Azuaron
    Apr 13, 2017 at 19:31

Poultry “drumsticks” would be larger, but the meat would be tougher.

Same with butt/shoulder roasts.

We eat the skeletal muscles. Stronger animals need more muscle, but using the muscle makes for tougher meat.

On the other hand, animals may get smaller. We assume for domesticated livestock we force the selection for stronger rather than smaller.

  • $\begingroup$ Great meat for stews then. $\endgroup$
    – Mormacil
    Apr 14, 2017 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ And stew is delicious. I've got a great crock pot recipe I'm eager to make again, just need to buy a new crock. $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2017 at 13:45

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