Genetically engineering cows that will produce less methane, reducing greenhouse gases

My previous article explored what types of livestock contribute to the problem of greenhouse gases and how to take that into account when choosing a socially responsible meal, never mind that it might have once been a cute and fluffy critter.


Thank goodness for science. The Telegraph reports that the cow of the future is nearly upon us.

The potential for breeding a new race of super efficient, less burpy cattle is being examined by Stephen Moore, a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. The goal is to examine the genes responsible for the production of methane in the digestive system of the cow, which has four stomachs for turning tough plant material into usable energy. Methane, as a bovine belch, is the by-product. Methane is also one of the primary gasses claimed to responsible for the greenhouse effect and thus, global warming.

Moore claims preliminary testing shows that cattle may be produced that give off up to 25% less methane gas in its lifespan, using a combination of techniques to breed superior cows.

The Telegraph

This post is partially a retraction and a correction. I have reported previously on how cow farts are filling up the atmosphere with greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane. Apparently, its not the gas from the tail end of the cow that's the problem. Its the belching. My bad.

Either way, it sounds like a premise for a bad episode of Captain Planet and a chain of visual images that eventually ruins lunch.

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