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Cow Belching
December 5, 2001 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Cow Belching and it's effect on the Environment. Not only is it rude, but it also bad for the environment.
posted by semper (20 comments total)

 
cow farting, too.
no, really. methane.
posted by moz at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2001


Haven't we know about this since the 80's? What new information is there?
posted by Rastafari at 8:14 AM on December 5, 2001


you should learn to use "i" in place of "we"
posted by semper at 8:18 AM on December 5, 2001


They shouldn't eat so fast, then. Wait, they don't eat fast...maybe if they ate their food like civilized beasts, instead of that incessant chewing on cud, they wouldn't have such bad indegestion.

Does anyone find it odd that, with all the nasty unnatural pollutants to go after, there is focus on one that is natural?
posted by adampsyche at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2001


its overabundance is not natural, adam. it's thanks to all those that breed cows for their meat (not that i don't eat red meat).
posted by moz at 8:25 AM on December 5, 2001


Methane itself is natural, but it isn't natural that there's enough of it in the atmosphere to be a problem. That's because if we didn't breed cows for beef and milk, there would be far less of them in the world.

When the article poses the question, What can be done? it seems mostly rhetorical, as if it's a given that humans ought to breed cows in humongous numbers all over the earth. This whole subject is old hat to vegetarians. And yes, it's farting that's the problem. How delicate of them. I've never heard of cow belching before this.
posted by bingo at 8:31 AM on December 5, 2001


What can be done?

Beano, I mean, Beano.
posted by rodii at 8:54 AM on December 5, 2001


just like rastafari says, it's nothing new. What shocks me tho, is that "they" try to make "you" believe all this is because cow farting, but hey, look at the figures, a plane is worst than a million cows. But it's easiest to blame it on cows, than on plane companies + travel agencies + fuel makers, hey
posted by aureliano buendia at 9:09 AM on December 5, 2001


It's like blaming smokers for air pollution, when my fifteen years of smoking hasn't put as much crap in the air as one day of a smokestack-lined industrial complex.

Not that Mother Gaia cares who's responsible. One day she'll belch and all mammals of the world will be thrown off the planet like bread crumbs on a picnic blanket.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2001


North America was once covered with vast herds of bison, probably not much smaller in number than today's herds of domesticated cattle. Surely the roaming buffalo, too, were flatulent?

Let's worry about reducing man-produced CFCs and greenhouse gases first (although I concede that if certain cattle feed supplements are inexpensive and will reduce methane, then why not use them?)

(Aside: What about gas produced by vegetarians?
http://www.parentsplace.com/expert/nutritionist/qas/0,10338,240069_112347,00.html)
posted by Vacaloca at 9:30 AM on December 5, 2001


the difference, vaca, is that the bison were largely a north american species (if not exclusively): domesticated cattle are not.
posted by moz at 9:52 AM on December 5, 2001


Re. the bison, even if we're just talking about North America, the bison were not bred in ranches to make hamburgers for millions of people every day. The reason they're gone is because there was no such system to maintain and increase their population (that, and pioneers killed them).

Re. vegetarian gas, I'm pretty sure that isn't mostly made of methane.

Re. the difference between the cow methane problem and industrial smokestacks. It's not like they are completely unrelated. Both are the result of industries that care more about making money than the health of the populace, or the planet. Not that it's an unusual paradigm or anything.
posted by bingo at 10:31 AM on December 5, 2001


"Let's worry about reducing man-produced CFCs and greenhouse gases first"

Animal gases make up a whopping 44% of this country's greenhouse-gas emissions. (New Zealand)

I just felt I had to share that to make myself feel better.
posted by Catch at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2001


Hmmm.... what about all those people out there who can belch the alphabet? Shouldn't they be arrested for "assalting" the enviroment? Or just for noise pollution?
posted by Katy Action at 11:32 AM on December 5, 2001


"Animal gases make up a whopping 44% of this country's greenhouse-gas emissions. (New Zealand)." What NZ agency produced this stat? And what kind of animals -- livestock? Most of their stock is sheep, no?

Moz: Yes, but the fact that domesticated cattle aren't endemic to N. America does not negate the possibility that other once-pervalent bovine species could also emit methane.

In terms of overall detriment to the environment, the cattle industries in other nations are surely more problematic these days than the U.S.'s. Some Asian countries, plus many in South and Central America, after all, are in the habit of clear-cutting forests for grazing land, a practice that (we hope) has fallen out of favor here.
posted by Vacaloca at 1:43 PM on December 5, 2001


I once heard someone suggest (and this is absolutely true) that we save all the methane that cows produce (he didn't specify how), and burn it as fuel. Sound like a good idea? ;)

Also, people who belch the alphabet (and other things) usually do it by sucking in air first, so it isn't a true, methane-producing belch.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:58 PM on December 5, 2001


Vacaloca:
Source.

Oh, and sheep. Yes. Good one. Everyone knows there are a lot of sheep in New Zealand.
posted by Catch at 5:03 PM on December 5, 2001


"In terms of overall detriment to the environment, the cattle industries in other nations are surely more problematic these days than the U.S.'s. " not sure tho; and i'd like to see figures
remeber that bush didn't agree to reduce ANY pollution (didn't sign kyoto agreement) - he just doesn't care what can happen when he is dead or what can happen in poorer countries (except if he is allowed to bomb them)
most asian and south+central america countries DID sign this tretay, even if it prevents them form buying cheap industrys
posted by aureliano buendia at 4:31 AM on December 7, 2001


How about mandating the use of cattle-itic converters?

I crack myself up
posted by rodii at 7:00 AM on December 7, 2001


I once heard someone suggest (and this is absolutely true) that we save all the methane that cows produce (he didn't specify how), and burn it as fuel. Sound like a good idea? ;)

Yep, pretty good.
posted by ceiriog at 11:04 AM on December 7, 2001


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