The innocent-looking, cud-chewing bovine has been under attack of late as a cause of global warming and climate change. The digestive process of this trusty farm animal is known to release methane into the environment, while their stinky cow patties release ammonia. Currently, cows are estimated to contribute 9.5 percent of global greenhouse gases. As debate heats up over climate change, cattle farming, and vegetarianism, researchers are looking at ways to protect you from the noxious gases released by these gentle beasts. Read on to see what is being done to protect your nose, your air, and your water supply from the effects of cattle.
6. The Drug Experior
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug called Experior, which is used to reduce the emission of ammonia from cattle waste. This drug is specifically targeted to beef cattle. The benefit of this drug is that it decreases ammonia gases in the atmosphere, which have a foul odor and can cause a gassy haze in the environment. In addition, it prevents runoff of ammonia from cow manure into lakes, streams, and rivers. Ammonia can also travel to water sources through rain and wind. Studies show that Experior is safe for beef cattle and causes no adverse effects in humans who consume this beef.
5. Seaweed Cattle Feed
Studies at the University of California, Davis show that the addition of seaweed to cattle feed decreases the amount of methane gas burped by the animals. Digestion in cows entails a fermentation process that occurs as food travels through the bovine’s four stomachs. Gases released in the fermentation process include methane, which cattle discharge into the air by belching. Seaweed seems to decrease methane production by inhibiting an enzyme. An added benefit of the seaweed diet is that it increases milk production as well. Studies in Australia have shown that seaweed can decrease methane emissions from cattle by as much as 99 percent.