Monday, 22 December 2008


Forget harmful emissions from passenger aircraft damaging the ozone layer and think Cows. Forget carbon footprints and think hoofprints.

Cows emit some 100 million tons of hydrocarbon yearly - by releasing gas. Otherwise known as methane, it is a potent greenhouse gas and puts the cow up there with cars, as one of the planets biggest contributors of harmful emissions.

Perhaps the Prime Minister could lead the way in combating Global warming, by banning cows?

Torquay Herald Express

Below are some remarkable facts about cows that you could bring up during your next dinner party:

* The average lifespan of a cow is 7 years. The oldest cow ever recorded was Big Bertha. She reached 48 in 1993. She also holds the record for producing 39 calves.

* Cows don't have upper front teeth

* Although a cow has no upper front teeth, it grazes up to 8 hours a day, taking in about 45 kg (100 lb) of feed and the equivalent of a bath tub full of water.

* A healthy cow gives about 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

* A cow has four stomachs: the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum. The rumen is the largest stomach and acts as a fermentation chamber. The abomasum is last of the four and is comparable in both structure and function to the human stomach.

* With all its grazing and many stomachs, it is no wonder that cows are one of the main contributors to the hole in the ozone layer. Apart from CFC, the biggest culprit is hydrocarbon emissions from cars and cows. Yes, cows! Cows release some 100 million tons of hydrocarbon annually - by releasing gas. To give you an idea of how much gas a cow emits: if the gas of 10 cows could be captured, it would provide heating for a small house for a year. But unlike what you think, cows release hydrocarbon mostly by burping.

* A cow emits a large amount of methane gas in a single day; 95% of this methane is produced through belching, not flatulence [5]. As methane is a potent greenhouse gas (23 times as warming as carbon dioxide), research is underway on dietary supplements that can reduce these releases.[6

* A single cow emits enough gas in a single day to fill 500 litre bottles


  1. Lazz Hewings is correct to say that Cows are as much threat as our cars, Points of view, January 13.A recent study carried out by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said that the amount of methane emissions produced by livestock worldwide had a greater effect on climate change than transport.

    It appears that cows and sheep are the animals that produce the most methane emissions.

    A cow typically produces about 90kg of methane every year. Since methane has 23 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide, this is almost equivalent in global warming terms to a year's motoring by the average family car.

    There is, as far as I can see, a number of solutions to the problem. For example, cattle feed can be altered to reduce the emissions, but because we have to reduce greenhouse gases by 90 per cent, it is clear that we are going to have to change our diet to eat less meat, especially beef and lamb.

    It isn't necessary for everyone to become a vegetarian (or more importantly, a vegan), but it is essential that we change our diet very quickly.

    This is a serious matter and an issue that has been neglected for too long. It is time we woke up to the fact that even our diet is creating very real dangers for future generations.

    Harriet White

  2. WITH Lazz Hewings of Shepherd's Bush suggesting that Tony Blair should ban gas-producing cows, should we now all live in fear that Lazz may also want a ban on the sale of baked beans?