As the world steps up in its efforts to cut down carbon emissions, scientists revealed this week that farmers can breed more environment-friendly cattle by 2020, as per international reports. Scientists have reportedly stated the carbon emissions of the livestock industry can be brought down by breeding cows which grow faster but consume less. This new breed of cows will reportedly cut methane emissions up to one-third of its current emissions.
Professor of Livestock Informatics Mike Coffey of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) stated in a media briefing that methane emissions from best and worst cattle were about 30%. He added, "Farmers are saying we are prepared to reduce our share (of greenhouse gas emissions). We will lead on that by producing cows that produce less methane, cows that grow faster and eat less feed." Moreover, he said that if every farmer in the UK used the best animals, the country could save about 30% of emissions in cattle.
Explaining the future scope of the new breed of cows, Coffey stated that methane emissions from groups of animals can be measured. He added that in the near future there will be product labels that will mention the carbon impact of the food. He also warned that while going vegan is a preferred choice by many environmentalists, 'the world going vegan' was no solution to the current environmental problems in the farming sector.
According to scientists, cattle contribute to greenhouse gas emissions by burping and passing gas. Scientists estimate that since the effect of methane is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, the effect of it being released by cattle is significant. Cows and other grazing animals host microbes in their stomachs that help break down the nutrients from the grass they consume.
These microbes then produce methane as their waste, which is passed out through both ends of cattle. Moreover, the manure passed by cattle also acts as a site for microbes, resulting in higher methane. With over 1.4 billion cattle in the world, cattle approximately contribute to 40% of the annual methane production.