Global warming seems to be the hot topic of the day and every media outlet wants to have the newest, freshest angle on this topic. I also find that angles that take the direct responsibility off of human causes to global warming seem to be of greater fascination.
Who would have ever thought that cows, the placid, vegetarian animals we love would contribute to global warming? And if they did, it would be a big deal?
We all have natural rhythms of up and down, healthy and unwell. I always wondered about the natural rhythms of the earth and its environment. After all, humans did not contribute to the ice age. And, I always wondered how much of global warming is occurring based on the natural cycles of the earth and it’s environment, as I am sure warming and cooling of weather patterns have occurred throughout the lifetime of the earth since it’s been inhabited by human beings.
Ok, so this being the case, then wouldn’t cow’s burps be part of this natural cycle not to be tampered with? After all, we saw how tampering with cattle feed in the late 80’s and early 90’s was one of the causes that led to mad cow disease. In human’s selfish attempt to increase beef production, the thought was adding ground up waste products of other animals, including cows, to cattle feed, meat production would increase. Tampering with the natural cycles of nature can only come back to bite us, as it did. Cows being naturally vegetarian should not be eating meat, and on top of that waste products of animals that most like animals in the wild that kill other animals for food would not even eat.
So, as the methane in the cow’s burps are produced by a certain microbe in the cow’s stomach, scientists want to either eliminate this or genetically engineer these microbes to prevent methane production. The reason is because, as scientist, Ron Reimus states, “We feel that because they’re not absolutely required for survival, that you could get rid of them.”
I was listening to this on NPR while driving to work and began shouting at the radio! Ok, have we as humans not learned from our selfishness in cattle farming through the mad cow disease or other ways humans have tried to change the natural rhythms of the earth? Maybe this microbe in the short view (tunnel vision) doesn’t seem to be useful, but it is there for a reason. And, what is the real reason cow burp methane is contributing to global warming? Was this the case before cattle were raised in mass production for human consumption? Did this happen before cows were domesticated? So, again the reason methane seems to be a problem could be because of human’s need to eat a lot of cow products, mostly beef (wonder how dairy products factor into this). So, why not look to people to change their diets or McDonalds or other beef chains to do something about beef consumption rather than blame the cows and experiment on them?
Reference: In a Cow’s Stomach, Novel Approach to Warming, Christopher Joyce, NPR, June 19, 2007