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Science in Seconds | Rants

Rants: Cow Farts

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October 13, 2011


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Note:  Adult Language.


Cows are pretty harmless animals - they chew their cud, wait to get slaughtered or tipped and generally are inoffensive creatures. 

Until you smell their farts.

Cow farts are one of the most toxic things on the planet, the amount of methane they produce makes the oil industry look like angels.  So why is that people are flocking to their hybrid cars on the way to the steakhouse?  New research is suggesting that the global population has to reduce our meat consumption by up to 40% just to maintain the current state of the environment.  With countries like China increasing their demand for beef at alarming rates and North Americans unwilling to give up their 72 ounce steak-eating contests, our ability to decrease meat consumption seems all but impossible.

That is, until Science in Seconds tells you that you have to.  Put down the hot dog (oh..nevermind, that's not meat).

Host:  Torah Kachur

Photo credits:  All images are from Wikimedia and are copyright free.

Pelletier, N., & Tyedmers, P. (2010). Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000-2050 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004659107


Julia on October 08, 2010
Oh good, another reason for me to avoid beef! The first of course being the ever-present, albeit extremely unlikely, chance of coming across a few stray prions in my T-bone.

Great video!
Kate on October 20, 2010
You would have to do more than cut out beef from your diet. You would also need to cut out milk, cheese and other products made from cattle. A dairy cow can produce almost double the amount of methane as a beef cow as they eat more throughout their lives. Although the number of beef cattle out their is probably alot higher than the number of dairy. Most of the methane doesn't actually come from their farts it comes from their burps not that it really matters.
Brit Trogen October 20, 2010
Interesting study out recently regarding the dairy vs. beef cow effect: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018163743.htm
Kate on October 22, 2010
Cool thanks for the info, I don't have to worry about milk and cheese intake. Keep up the videos they are awesome.



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