Could a Different Livestock Diet Reduce Methane Emissions?

Going green — By on April 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

In the never ending debate regarding how to reduce greenhouse gases, there are some that believe that we should be looking less to our vehicles and more to our dinner table.  Factory farms are cited as a major contributor to climate change, but with a different livestock diet, we could reduce methane emissions.

image004 Could a Different Livestock Diet Reduce Methane Emissions?

Reducing methane from livestock like cows and sheep

New research funded by the British government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs found that, feeding livestock a diet including maize silage, naked oats and higher sugar grasses could reduce gas in the animals.  That’s right – fewer farts with a different livestock diet.

Think farts are funny?  This is some serious stuff!

In the UK, factory farms are responsible for about 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this comes from sheep, cows and goats.  Overall, farming contributes 41% of Britain’s overall methane emissions.  Simply by including high-sugar grasses in livestock diets could reduce methane emissions by 20%!

So it turns out that considering our own diets is only part of the global warming picture.  A vegetarian diet is the greener, healthier way to eat.  But since we probably won’t convince the entire planet to give up meat, switching livestock to a lower-methane-producing diet is a step in the right direction!

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