Monday, June 22, 2009

One Man's Gas Guzzler Is Another's Sacred Cow!

As I was reading the paper this morning I found an article that pointed out a misconception I had about cows and the gas they produce. Here I thought it was what was expelled from their hind end that was problematic. But, no. It's their belching!

The article tells us this belching causes the diary industry it's biggest problem when it comes to their contribution to global warming. That they contribute a mere 2% of the total doesn't seem to be of any consolation. The total figure includes growing the feed for the cows along with the processing and delivery of milk. It's a rather vicious circle, don't you think? Perhaps if we would quit eating yogurt and butter and drinking milk the problem could easily be solved. No need for dairy cows. But, no.

Research is under way to develop grasses that produce less gas in the cows' systems. The hope is to reduce the gas produced by 25% by 2020. If successful, the dairy industry would then only be responsible for .005% of our greenhouse gases. The bonus for the cows is a more glossy coat and fewer foot and stomach problems. I can understand the better coat. When we got Bacchus off his junk food diet, his coat, too, improved, as well as his stomach problems. I'm not sure where feet figure into the equation.

Now let's equate this to the cap and trade issue. It's basically where a cap is established for emissions. If your operation comes in beneath the cap, you can sell your excess credits to someone who has exceeded them. I never quite understood how this was beneficial since I see the emissions remaining the same while credits are being bandied about, but then I am not a student of the theory. In essence, I see it pointless if one group is trying to clean the environment by altering the food a cow eats while another is trying to save the non-productive of the species which requires feeding them whatever they can afford and is readily available!

My point here can be illustrated by another article I read this morning. This one in the Wall Street Journal telling of how enclaves of Hare Krishnas are putting together fund raising efforts to save cows who are no longer productive. You see cows are sacred to Hindus. They've calculated it takes around $1000 per year to feed a cow with an average lifespan of twenty years! That's a lot of adopt a cow programs! Especially when the majority of American consumers see cows in a somewhat different light. Candle light maybe. On a sizzling platter with a bottle of good red wine!

What to do! In browsing around I find that the research for these low gas grasses is ongoing and not expected to hit the market for several years. In the meantime, perhaps the Krishnas and the researchers should get together. The grasses need to be tested and the cows need to be fed. The Krishna cows would no longer be adding to the problem, instead helping solve it. They would be productive again. Their coats would be shiny, their stomachs and feet would be healthy. How better to treat a creature considered sacred?

There you are. Another Dogwalk solution!

1 comment:

Word Tosser said...

When I read this a few months ago, I wondered... how come this was not a problem, say 50 years ago..when we had 500% more cows then, than we have now? Ah, humans I bet with their cars? So how much comes from that? 2% seems awful low to worry about. And I have been around a lot of cows ..around both ends.. never notice problem. But I sure have noticed a lot of human's who exhaust was of concern.