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Scientists Tackle Cow Emissions

Scientists in New Zealand try to Tackle Cow Emissions
Science News by NewsLook

Scientists have long accepted that gas from farm animals is a major factor in climate change, but how do you stop cattle and sheep from doing what comes naturally?

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Chris from NewsLook

Chris is the Managing Editor at NewsLook, an interactive news service providing premium video content from more than 50 international sources.


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8:28AM PDT on May 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

7:19PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Just in case anybody thought Will R had any evidence for his claims ... he doesn't.

There has never been anything remotely approaching the current global population of
large herbivores. The current 1.4 billion cattle have a combined weight greater than the
7 billion humans and with other livestock consume about 6 times more biomass than
the mega herbivores of the pleistocene consumed.

600 years ago, there were a lot of bison in the US ... about 50 million and a similar number of wildebeest in Africa. This is small compared to current livestock populations.

6:47PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Lydia P.: You must be REALLY old! You actually saw for yourself the pristine purity and beauty of mother earth long before the rest of us vile humans existed! And, of course, there were no natural disasters back then - no earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, lightning, hail, snow, frozen ponds and lakes - none of that. No animals preyed upon others, or ate them. Nirvana would still exist but for we foul humans. What a shame!

6:27PM PDT on May 2, 2012

This article states that "scientists have long accepted" the idea of "climate change". Has there been any time in earth's history when the climate was not changing, but was fixed and stable? If so, when - has any "climate scientist" specifically answered that question? Numerous factors (many unknown) affect climate, and many scientists see no clear evidence that human (or animal) activity has significantly affected the climate. To imply that all scientists have is inaccurate and misleading.

5:07PM PDT on May 2, 2012

A pamphlet put out by Compassion Over Killing says raising animals for food is one of the leading causes of both pollution and resource depletion today. According to the 2006 United Nations report, Livestock's Long Shadow, raising chickens, turkeys, pigs, and other animals for food causes more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks and other forms of transportation combined.

Researchers from the University of Chicago similarly concluded that a vegetarian diet is the most energy efficient, and the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by not eating animal products than by switching to a hybrid car.

Nearly 75% of the grain grown and 50% of the water consumed in the U.S. are used by the meat industry. (Audubon Society)

Over 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to grow grain for livestock. (Greenpeace)

5:04PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Meat production causes deforestation, which then contributes to global warming. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, and the destruction of forests around the globe to make room for grazing cattle furthers the greenhouse effect.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations reports that the annual rate of tropical deforestation has increased from nine million hectares in 1980 to 16.8 million hectares in 1990, and unfortunately, this destruction has accelerated since then. By 1994, a staggering 200 million hectares of rainforest had been destroyed in South America just for cattle.

4:58PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Agricultural meat production generates air pollution. As manure decomposes, it releases over four hundred volatile organic compounds, many of which are extremely harmful to human health. Nitrogen, a major by-product of animal wastes, changes to ammonia as it escapes into the air, and this is a major source of acid rain.

Worldwide, livestock produce over thirty million tons of ammonia. Hydrogen sulfide, another chemical released from animal waste, can cause irreversible neurological damage, even at low levels.

Livestock production affects a startling 70 to 85 percent of the land area of the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union. That includes the public and private rangeland used for grazing, as well as the land used to produce the crops that feed the animals.

By comparison, urbanization only affects three percent of the United States land area, slightly larger for the European Union and the United Kingdom. Meat production consumes the world's land resources.

4:50PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Half of all fresh water worldwide is used for thirsty livestock. Producing eight ounces of beef requires an unimaginable 25,000 liters of water, or the water necessary for one pound of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

The Worldwatch Institute estimates one pound of steak from a steer raised in a feedlot costs: five pounds of grain, a whopping 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about 34 pounds of topsoil.

Thirty-three percent of our nation's raw materials and fossil fuels go into livestock destined for slaughter. In a vegan economy, only two percent of our resources will go to the production of food.

4:49PM PDT on May 2, 2012

"It seems disingenuous for the intellectual elite of the first world to dwell on the subject of too many babies being born in the second- and third-world nations while virtually ignoring the overpopulation of cattle and the realities of a food chain that robs the poor of sustenance to feed the rich a steady diet of grain-fed meat."

--Jeremy Rifkin, pro-life AND pro-animal author, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, and president of the Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

"Carl Pope could probably affect the world more by being a vegetarian than through his job as president of the Sierra Club," quipped Jennifer Horsman in Please Don't Eat the Animals (2007).

3:11PM PDT on May 2, 2012

It's only fair that the people who are making billions off cattle ranching go stand behind cows and breath in all the methane. That would save the planet.

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