Scientists Measure Cow Burps


June, 2008 | Posted by: Ry

If you've read our Going Green 101 Guide, you would know that one of the chief causes of global warming gases like methane (40% to be exact) is animal agriculture, with the primary culprit being cattle (no fault of the cattle, of course - just a culture addicted to too much meat).

To be more precise, it is the gases (i.e., farts and burps) that cows let out which are "indirectly" responsible for excesses of Carbon Dioxide and Methane (Methane is 23 times more effective in trapping heat - the greenhouse effect - than Carbon Dioxide) in the atmosphere.

Well, now that we know global warming is a serious problem - the solution of which is in our own hands - scientists are beginning to take a closer look at the correlation of global warming and animal agriculture.

In Argentina, scientists have begun strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows, so as to collect their burps and determine just how much methane is being emitted into the atmosphere. Figures have already started to come in - and let's just say it's shocking and not shocking at the same time.

A cow weighing little over 1,200 pound was found to produce 800 to 1,000 liters of emissions every day. That approximates into 30% of Argentina's greenhouse gas emissions.

Considering that Argentina is one of the world's largest producers of beef (approximately 55 million heads of cattle graze the Pampas grasslands), you would hope this research would prompt a cutback in cattle consumption. On the contrary, scientists are using the data to create new diets for cows that will convert into lower amounts of methane gas. At least it's a start, right?


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