Many folks up in arms about the human contribution to climate change have long held the opinion that a cow’s farting is a big, if not major, contributor to greenhouse gases. It’s been claimed the carbon footprint of a cow is as bad as an automobile or at least a lawn mower. I suspect there are more cows than lawnmowers, and the bovines eat all day, every day.
Cows and other ruminants produce methane, including domestic and wild sheep, goats, and the American bison. The gas they release is produced more by belching than farting. So if we were to do away with the beef industry in favor of eating goats and sheep, we’d solve nothing.
I looked up “flatulence” in my thesaurus, and I was amazed how few words with the same meaning can be found without using a phrase – “breaking wind,” “hot air,” and so on. I could have used “passing gas,” but that would apply to emanations from either end of an animal. “Flatulent” is used as an adjective, “flatulating” as a verb, or as the medical term “to expel flatus.” Farting is a far better term; everyone knows what we are talking about and that even women fart, in spite of what some members of our culture would have us believe. At least, that was true when I was growing up.
Before all this greenhouse gas and carbon footprint worry began, the majority of the plains states contained millions of American bison gassing up the environment with gusto. I’ve read that Bison produce more gas than any other ruminant.
These increased emissions from keeping grass-fed ruminants can be mitigated through what is called carbon sequestration by rotating herds across different pasture lands to encourage new plant growth while working manure and other natural fertilizers into the soil. To explain carbon sequestration is beyond the scope of this article, but most people deep into the carbon footprint reduction movement will understand.
One major factor increasing the carbon footprint of ruminants is the production and transportation of animal feed for those animals raised on grains within feedlots. I’ll add that it’s a horrific and inhumane way to raise animals for meat consumption. Much of the carbon footprint of ruminants, mostly beef, comes from growing grain to feed the animals, which requires fossil-fuel-based fertilizers, pesticides, and transportation. Research and statistics on the subject are available via Google search.
You might wonder where you’d be able to buy healthy meat that’s raised in pastures using no fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and not fed grain. Are you aware that within twenty-five miles of downtown Ennis, there are several sources of the same, easily found on the internet? There is also a group purchasing club, an aggregate of individual orders monthly that focuses on employing sources of natural healthy foods. I personally buy beef locally and raise my own grass-fed sheep and goats.
The best food sources one can buy are from local farms, where you can get to know the owners and visit the operation. For those who say it costs more, I challenge you to find out for yourself. I buy grass-fed beef at prices competitive with our local grocery stores. Contact me, and I’ll be happy to point you to my suppliers. If anyone out there raising such healthy meat products has not yet met me, let me know. I’d love to visit your operation and hear your story.
BTW, when I got married, I found out that women fart. My wife is living proof – Pewwww eeee!