Did you even know we had a cow fart problem? We’ve really effed things up when reducing cow flatulence becomes a priority in the fight against global warming. Our large-scale agriculture industry, which has been booming since the mid-20th century due to our genius at making things convenient for ourselves, is responsible for 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.  A significant portion of those emissions comes from methane, a gas which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of contribution to global warming.

So methane is bad, but where do cows fit into this scenario? Apparently, cows emit a massive amount of methane through farting, but even more so through belching. Some experts say that cows pass about 132 gallons of methane a day which is comparable to the pollution produced by 1 car each day. Is this friggin’ ridiculous or what? Well it’s not. The massive farting and belching is a big problem and big business needs to find a way to fix it.

There are 1.5 billion cows in the world and billions more of other grazing animals that emit methane like goats and sheep. These animals are classified as ruminants which means they’re a certain type of animal that have 4 stomachs and digest their food in their stomachs rather than in their intestines, like we humans do. Stomachs of ruminant animals are filled with bacteria that help them digest food but also produce that dang methane gas.

Here’s the kicker, we humans made this methane cow farting/belching problem by trying to be efficient. Big farming business consolidated thousands of cows into a few acreages. Cows graze on a variety of grasses and flowers that would normally be found in the pastures, but because feeding needed to be more efficient, pastures were reseeded with perennial ryegrass which grows quickly and in large amounts. The problem with ryegrass is that it’s the ‘fast food’ of grass, meaning it ain’t that nutritious and it’s hard to digest, thus creating our methane fart problem.

Now we’re trying to come up with solutions to curb the farts like giving cows methane-reducing pills, feeding them garlic, trapping the gas and selling it back to the electrical grid, and more. I’m just a feeble-minded consumer and not a scientist working for big business, but I’d like to propose a solution that has been helpful to me in my own experiences with gaseous emmissions. Say I eat my late-night fourth meal and get the stinkfarts (yes, Taco Bell, I’m talking to you). I’ve noticed that I greatly reduce my stinkfarts by NOT EATING THE THING WHICH CAUSES THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! It’s that simple. Give these cows the good grass they deserve.

We all know this probably won’t happen. It’s likely too expensive and too inefficient for these big businesses to switch back to natural, healthy-for-the-cows-grass. Sad to say, but looks like we made our cow-pie and now we have to lie in it.

Photo via: Greenopolis and Treehumper

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