Thursday, 10 July 2008

Reducing cow burping 'is key to tackling climate change'

Fun fieldwork for a team of Argentinan scientists who are measuring the levels of methane in cow belches in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, produced by cows, is a more dangerous global warming gas than carbon dioxide. One of the world's biggest beef producers, Argentina has some 55 million heads of cattle grazing on the famed Pampas grasslands.
Scientists have strapped plastic tanks to the backs of cows in order to collect their belches and study their methane levels. The scientists say that as much as 30% of Argentina's greenhouse gases could come from cows, and hope this study will find a way to cut down on emissions by changing the diet and lifestyle of the animals. The grass that cows eat is hard to digest and broken down by bacteria in the animal's four stomachs. With no oxygen, the bacteria turn into methane. Most gas comes from the front, not rear, ends of the cows.(phew!!!) The average dairy cow in the UK belches out about 100 to 200 litres of methane each day. Pardon you.

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