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Cows to become a little more like kangaroos…

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I almost thought this was a joke when I first read it.  But apparently (according to the Queensland government), cow flatulence, which contains methane, is responsible for 14% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.  Kangaroos have a bacterium in their stomachs that neutralize the gas, so attempts are being made into transferring this property to cows and sheep.

post #2 of 6

more on this here;

 

How kangaroo burgers could save the planet

 

it also touches on other solutions, my favoirite is more 'natural' mixed leys with clovers, also shown to reduce the action of the methanogens in the cow gut.

 

 

 

post #3 of 6

Well there's an error in the article linked by gerda.

 

"livestock burps are responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions"

 

Livestock are responsible for 18% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, but only 5% is due to their flatulence.  Much of it is due to land use changes.


The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land. Grazing occupies 26 percent of the Earth's terrestrial surface, while feed crop production requires about a third of all arable land. Expansion of grazing land for livestock is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America: some 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon is used as pasture, and feed crops cover a large part of the reminder.

 

Nevertheless, this kangaroo bacteria reserach could certainly help reduce emissions from livestock.  Cool stuff.  But more importantly, we need to reduce our meat consumption (especially beef).

post #4 of 6

absolutely we in developed world need to cut our consumption. but meat eating worldwide is inevitably going to rise, all those folk who only get it once a year will want more.

 

thanks dana. i was wondering about those figures.


Edited by gerda - Sat, 10 Jan 2009 23:18:59 GMT
post #5 of 6

This comes from the article:

 

Earlier this year, Newbold reported that a plant extract from garlic, called allicin, could dramatically lower methane output by between 25 and 50 per cent. While this would benefit the climate, nobody has yet tested whether it would affect the flavour of the milk and meat from these animals...


There is a simpler alternative. Two Australian biologists say there is a sure-fire way to reduce methane emissions without resorting to complex biotechnology: cut the number of cattle and sheep being reared and meet the demand for meat with marsupials.

 

Ha.  I think the comment about garlic extract affecting the flavor of the milk and meat is funny.  And regardless of whether or not we start eating kangaroos, beef consumption could definitely stand to be reduced.  Crazy that Argentinians eat an average of 155 lbs per person per year.

post #6 of 6

Yeah that's a perfectly good solution in Australia where kangaroos are basically a pest, but doesn't work anywhere else.  Though you could do something similar and switch to a non-ruminant animal like pigs/pork, poultry, etc.  Or better yet again, reduce meat consumption altogether.

 

Hmm, garlic-flavored milk.  That could be weird.

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