Silent But Deadly

Cows are gassing up the atmosphere with methane emissions.

December 03, 2015

Any way you slice it, the world’s ever-growing appetite for meat is unsustainable. And compared with other livestock, cows require more land, eat more grain, and drink more water. To add insult to injury, while they’re digesting all of those precious resources, they’re also farting and belching methane—a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. The atmosphere has such a big beef with beef that some experts say we’d do more for the planet by ditching burgers and steaks than cars.

In this holy-cow-clip, excerpted by the Climate Desk from the documentary Racing Extinction, researchers at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology hook up heifers to inflatable bags to measure exactly how gassy they are. A single cow can fill a 50-pound bag with methane every day, and there are about 1.5 billion of them on the planet. Ruminate on that. 


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