Cows’ effects on climate change

April 7, 2020


Photo courtesy / Wikimedia

A herd of cattle grazing in a field, increasing global emissions.

There is an ongoing debate in the world on whether cows are negatively affecting climate change. Many scientists argue that the gas that cows emit when they belch or pass gas, methane, is contributing to the damage of climate change. Those opposed say that climate change isn’t a real issue and cows don’t affect the climate in any way. Both of these arguments are fairly true in their own way, but generally, cows are affecting our climate – but not greatly.

According to NPR, in 2011, methane from livestock accounted for 39 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted from agriculture. Climate change’s impact will be experienced to a degree in the present and more so many years from now. Mitigating future environmental damage caused by cows is reasonably easy and doesn’t require drastic changes.

There are many solutions to the impact of cows on Earth that avoids the cancellation of meat consumption. Changing the diet and foods that farmers give cows will be beneficial to slowing down climate change. The foods that cows are consuming currently are very gassy foods, such as corn and soy. Other supplements such as alfalfa will help and also won’t be too extreme of a change for the cows to have to endure.

There are recent studies done on cows to investigate if cutting into cows to alter their microbes will be too damaging for them. These tests were conducted to help researchers further understand the possible solutions to cows’ release of methane. There is not enough evidence present to show for this, but the risk is large. The vaccine would prevent methane from escaping from cows and will allow for the continued meat consumption by humans, but it is unnecessary because there are numerous other ways to allow people to keep eating meat.

Small changes by farmers will help either way to prolong possible inevitable climate change so that cows are no longer an environmental threat to our planet.

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Sean Morrison, Editor

Sean Morrison is a senior and in his second year in newspaper. His favorite part of newspaper is being able to write about sports, which is his main passion....

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