What a load of shit
Cattle experts in Blighty and Ireland say they have discovered a much better way of finding out just how much methane is emitted by the world's cows - and thus, how much of a greenhouse-gas problem cattle actually are - by carrying out a detailed analysis of cowpats. Methane, though emitted from agriculture, industries, people …
Much cattle pasture used to be wetland. I'd be the last to argue against the biodiversity and wildlife refuge and refuelling for migrant birds provided by remaining wetlands. But methane isn't called marsh gas without reason. Other cattle pasture never was wetland, so was presumably either moorland, forest or grasslands or clearing grazed by wild animals. In a wild forest fallen trees generally rot, which presumably also generates some methane. So it's completely pointless arguing against cattle rearing based on methane production unless you know the comparable methane productions of alternative or previous land uses.
"So it's completely pointless arguing against cattle rearing based on methane production unless you know the comparable methane productions of alternative or previous land uses."
Well said.. also simply stating that there are a lot of cows out there passing gas isn't enough... And does John's cow pass as much gas as Mary's? What about effects of diet or local weather conditions? Does a healthy cow pass more gas than one in poor health? How about the differences between a dairy or a beef cow? Male or female? Age?
...to measure it directly?
I'm thinking of a sealed room containg a cow or 3, with air pumped in and out, and the methane content of the inlet and outlet gasses measured over a period of a few days.
I presume that some method can be devised to give an instantaneous reading of methane content - or, at worse to capture samples at regular intervals for later analysis.
It needn't be particularly cruel to the cows - you could paint the walls green, or show them soap operas on HDTV, or something.
Oh, I sometimes wish that you'd state where you get these figures from, or at least qualify it more meaningfully (viz. timescales).
Not telling us only makes me want to not stick my fingers in my ears and yell "LALALALALA I'm not listening" for the remainder of the article.
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