Much furore in the press recently about the news that Global Warming is not man-made as previously claimed, but cow-made.
A landmark study by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has revealed that the world's 1.5 billion head of cattle produce more greenhouse gases than all its cars, planes and other forms of transport put together. They emit more than 100 different polluting gases, including two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain. Their manure and wind produce at least a quarter of the pollution by methane, while wind from both ends of a single British cow produces the equivalent of 4,000 grams of carbon dioxide a day, compared to 3,419 grams from the exhaust pipe of a Land Rover Freelander on an average 33-mile day's drive.
And the FAO estimates that cattle methane emissions alone will, by 2030, have increased by 60 per cent.
Ranching cattle is said to be "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, while their overgrazing is turning a fifth of all the planet's pastures and rangelands into deserts. Cattle soak up a phenomenal amount of water: it takes a staggering 990 pints of it to produce just one pint of milk. And their wastes often pollute rivers and the sea. A giant "dead zone", stretching over 21,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico, is partly caused by pollution from U.S. beef production, carried down the Mississippi.
But perhaps the greatest surprise is that cattle are responsible for more of the pollution that causes global warming than are cars. Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow their food, to produce meat and to transport it accounts for about 9 per cent of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide.
The search is on for ways of making cows less flatulent. Scientists at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Aberystwyth say that feeding them grass with high natural levels of sugar, white clover and the leafy plant birdsfoot trefoil, would make their diet more digestible and cut down their methane production. Meanwhile researchers at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart have developed a pill that burns the gas into harmless glucose.
They're coming to get us …
Of course there wouldn't be so many cows in the world if we all stopped eating meat and drinking milk, so it won't be long before some eco-Nazi starts telling us all to turn vegetarian.
But … wait a minute … aren't cows vegetarian?
… totally merciless. We're all doomed …
Of course this is all just scientists talking, and we all know how reliable they are. There's only one person more likely to talk utter b*ll*cks than a scientist, and that's a Welsh scientist. For instance, a "research team" (that's academic-speak for a bunch of free-loading parasites without proper jobs) from the University of Wales in Aberystwyth are embarking on a three-year study that aims to show that cows will emit 50% less gases when fed with … wait for it … garlic. That's right, these Welsh idiots genuinely believe that garlic stops you farting. Boy, have we got news for them …
Mind you, the Welsh have much more of a problem than the rest of us. According to a spokeswoman for the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), cattle and sheep are responsible for about 30% of methane emissions in the UK, but in Wales the figure is double that. If their cows and sheep are any guide, there may yet be scientific proof of The GOS's contention that the Welsh are full of hot air.
Agriculturalist Professor Chris Pollock believes farmers, scientists and politicians need to look at agriculture's entire environmental footprint. "You need to have a common currency that allows scientists to look at benefits in one area and disbenefits in another," he explains with the scientist's habitual disfamiliarity with the English language. "A feed additive which reduces methane would be of no use if it has to be transported half way around the world, burning up fossil fuels. How much milk yield is a red squirrel worth?"
Hard to separate the sense and the dis-sense from this. We get the point about the disdesirability of flying stuff around the world disnecessarily, but how the hell did the red squirrel get in there? Since when were red squirrels being wiped out by Global Warming (or Dislocal Discooling, as we scientists like to call it)?
While we're at it, here's a link to PrisonPlanet with an excellent article about the Global Warming conspiracy. Do read it. I promise it wasn't written by scientists.
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