Cow belches and farts are a major source of greenhouse gases that affect climate change even more than vehicle emissions. A new type of cattle feed that is supplemented with oregano, developed by a dairy scientist, could help reduce cow gas emissions by 40%. It also improves milk production.
PhysOrg.com quotes its inventor, Alexander Hristov, as saying, “Cattle are actually a major producer of methane gas and methane is a significant greenhouse gas. In fact, worldwide, livestock emits 37% of anthropogenic methane.” (Anthropegenic methane is methane produced by human activities, such as agriculture). And methane has 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. [Thus] “any cut in the methane emissions would be beneficial.”
Methane is a natural part of the digestive process of cows and other ruminants, such as bison, sheep and goats. When the cow digests food, bacteria in the rumen, the largest of the four-chambered stomach, break the material down intro nutrients in a fermentation process. Two of the byproducts of this fermentation are carbon dioxide and methane.The herd that was fed on this new type of feed produced more milk. PhysOrg. Quotes Hristov as saying, “Since methane production is an energy loss for the animal, this isn’t really a surprise. If you decrease energy loss, the cows can use that energy for other processes, such as making milk.”
We have to be careful about what we feed our cows. And if we want to find out if they have Mad Cow Disease, we should look into their eyes. When researcher Jacob Petrich examined the retinas of sheep infected with scrapie, which a disease similar to Mad Cow, he found that they had a distinctive glow. But the problem with inspecting sheep and cattle for dangerous prions in this way before they are slaughtered is to get them to stop moving. would be to get the animal to stop moving (at least for a short period of time). In BBC News, Katia Moskvitch quotes Petrich as saying, “My wife, for example, can’t stand still to have her eyes checked by an eye doctor for a glaucoma test, and if a human can’t sit still for a test for five seconds, I think it’s going to be much harder to do this for an animal.” But if performing the test on living cattle turned out to be too hard, “you would have to do it immediately post-mortem.”
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