Canadians breed cows to burp less

Special cow could cut down on greenhouse gases

Canadian scientists are working to breed a special kind of cow that will burp less, an effort to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. According to Environment Canada, cows are behind nearly 75 per cent of total methane emissions, most of which come from their burps—20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. At the University of Alberta, Stephen Moore, professor of agricultural, food and nutritional science, is looking at genes behind the methane produced in cow’s four stomachs to make them more environmentally friendly. To make cows “greener,” ranchers could breed cattle that grow faster, thereby reducing the time they’re in the field and getting them to market sooner. Through breeding, they could also be made more efficient at converting feed into muscle, producing less methane and waste, Moore told Reuters. Already, farmers are feeding livestock a diet higher in energy and edible oils, which ferment less than grass or low-quality feed, thus reducing methane emissions. In Alberta, those who follow this method can earn carbon credits that range from $1 to $10 per head.


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