Did You Know – Cows Contribute More Greenhouse Gases Than Coal Mines

I knew that I didn’t like beef but I don’t eat it because I don’t like all the antibotics and hormones that beef are treated with so they will grow up weighing more.  The more they weigh, the more money they bring in.   I also am a little afraid of the whole mad cow disease issue.  I know that there is little chance of eating beef that is infected but why take the chance, especially when you take into account my other reasons for not eating beef.  But hey, that’s just me.

I came across this article today in my local paper and it just put the icing on the cake as to why raising cattle for human consumption is not a good idea.  I didn’t know that cow burps were contributing more greenhouse gases than even coal mines.  I found it to be a pretty interesting article and want to share it with you now:

Cows exempt from greenhouse gas limits

Sunday, June 21, 2009
WASHINGTON — One contributor to global warming — bigger than coal mines, landfills and sewage treatment plants — is being left out of efforts by the Obama administration and House Democrats to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Cow burps.

Belching from the nation’s 170 million cattle, sheep and pigs produces about one-quarter of the methane released in the U.S. each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That makes the hoofed critters the largest source of the heat-trapping gas.

In part because of an adept farm lobby campaign that equates government regulation with a cow tax, the gas that farm animals pass is exempt from legislation being considered by Congress to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA under President Obama has said it has no plans to regulate the gas, even though the agency recently included methane among six greenhouse gases it believes are endangering human health and welfare.

The message circulating in Internet chat rooms, the halls of Congress and farm co-ops had America’s farms facing financial ruin if the EPA required them to purchase air-pollution permits. The permits amounted to a cow tax, farm groups argued.

Administration officials and House Democratic leaders have tried to assure farm groups that they have no intention of regulating cows. That effort has done little to ease the concern of farmers and their advocates about the toll that regulating greenhouse gases will have on agriculture.

Lawmakers and farm groups are now pressing for the climate legislation to guarantee that farmers will be compensated for taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases. That could lead to farmers getting paid if their cows pass less gas.

“I don’t think livestock should be ignored. Every industry has to play their role,” said Frank M. Mitloehner, an associate professor at the University of California at Davis, who has studied livestock gas for 15 years. But laws designed to reduce emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes won’t work with cattle, Mr. Mitloehner said.

“The belching is very hard to collect,” he said. “You cannot capture these gases.”

The climate bill specifically excludes enteric fermentation — the fancy term for the gas created by digestion and expelled largely by burping — from the limit it would place on greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation directs the EPA not to include it among the various sources that could be subject to new performance standards.


From the Sunday, June 21, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle