Experts said the slow digestive system of cows makes them a key producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide.

In a bid to understand the impact of the wind produced by cows on global warming, scientists collected gas from their stomachs in plastic tanks attached to their backs.

The Argentine researchers discovered methane from cows accounts for more than 30 per cent of the country’s total greenhouse emissions…

Scientists are now carrying out trials of new diets designed to improve cows’s digestion and hopefully reduce global warming. Silvia Valtorta, of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations, said that by feeding cows clover and alfalfa instead of grain “you can reduce methane emissions by 25 percent”.

I can think of a few politicians who might advance the cause of science with one of these tanks plugged into their whatchmacallit.




  1. bobbo says:

    I hope they also measure in some way the protein quality and taste of the final product?

    I’ve heard “Kobe Beef” is fed beer, but don’t know what their main feed is.

    We are only a few years away from protein from bacteria so this type of study is only catching the tail end of an old way of life.

  2. The Monster's Lawyer says:

    Finally an entry in this blog that is meaningful. Forget that Rove refused to obey an order to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing today. We got cow farts to examine and findings to discuss!

  3. moss says:

    Anyone surprised over Rove refusing to testify – and getting away with it – must be shocked every day when the sun rises.

  4. FRAGaLOT says:

    you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. I nearly fell off my chair when looking at the cows fart pack!

  5. deowll says:

    A small observation.

    Large herbivores are a natural part of the environment that have been around for a long time before during and after various ice ages.

    They may produce gas but unless there is some reason to think the number of large herbivores has vastly increased in the last few decades they aren’t the problem.

    Duh!!

  6. Mac Guy says:

    $5 to the first person who nails one of these backpacks with a flaming arrow.

  7. adogg4629 says:

    I am just glad that the EPA isn’t involved or they’d be spending billions researching methods of Cow-Fart Sequestration.

  8. wbskeet37 says:

    Thanks Mac Guy. Now I have the theme to Dukes of Hazard stuck in my head…

  9. Judge Jewdy says:

    I know a few people that could use these.

  10. Paddy-O says:

    #5 & #8 – Are you saying that methane (a MAJOR greenhouse gas according to scientists) isn’t going to be a cause of global warming and therefore global destruction?

  11. admash says:

    So, how many farts does it take to fill the bag?

    Are we sure that this is not a front for new bio-terrorism research, say a new type of Dirty Bomb?

  12. hhopper says:

    So I guess in the future, we’ll be pulling up to the nearest cow station to fill up?

  13. admfubar says:

    “I can think of a few politicians who might advance the cause of science with one of these tanks plugged into their whatchmacallit.”

    in the case of politicians, a whatchamacallit would be their mouths…. 😛

  14. Sinn Fein says:

    The REAL, indisputable, cause of Global Warming: ALL THE HOT AIR SPEWING OUT OF CAPITOL HILL, WASHINGTON D.C.

  15. Sea Lawyer says:

    #9, except those bison were grazing on grasses, not feed grain. That’s the point of this research, according to the article.

  16. eyeofthetiger says:

    Plant a tree.

  17. boru says:

    There’s an interesting article in the August issue of Discover magazine that discusses an Australian company which is attempting to address the methane production from grass-fed cattle. The advantage of grass-fed cattle are reduced carbon footprint, fewer antibiotics required and beef with less fat, but the grasses cows often eat are difficult to digest because of a tough, woody component lignin, resulting in considerably more microflora in their stomachs pumping out quite a bit of methane in the digestive process. In the U.S., 20 percent of released methane is attributed to cattle, and methane is considered to trap heat in the atmosphere 20 times more effectively than carbon dioxide.

    So a new genetically developed grass is proposed in Australia by Gramina that would have less lignin for easier digestion and reduced methane production.

    I believe there is a typo in the linked telegraph.co.uk article provided by Eideard above that possibly should have read “…every cow [in Argentina] produces 800 to 1,000 litres of emissions every day.” Not 8000 to 1,000 litres.

  18. the answer says:

    Science has gone too far. They have made… The Ultimate Stinkbomb! And on the backs of cows. poor cows 8(

  19. jlm says:

    forget cow tipping, cow fart bag exploding is going to be much more fun

  20. Mister Ketchup says:

    You know those cows will be competing to see who can fill up their bag first.

  21. Kelvington says:

    Um… point of order… aren’t they tapping the wrong end? More methane comes out of the cow’s mouth than their rear. This must have been done by people who aren’t farmers.

  22. Special Ed says:

    “…feeding cows clover and alfalfa instead of grain “you can reduce methane emissions by 25 percent.”

    I like my beef low-emission.

  23. JimR says:

    #22, that would be a pssssing match.

  24. Rick Cain says:

    Blame idiot-boy Ronald Reagan, who claimed that cow farts and forests were the cause of pollution.

    Now the Bushies are trying to prove it!

  25. Glenn E. says:

    9.GetSmart – Oh thank you for bring that to everyone’s attention. The same thing occured to me as I saw the Cow with the gas tank on its back. There were herds of a million head each at one time. The total far exceeding all the domestic cow herds today. The buffalo now only exist in the hundreds. Their rapid decline didn’t lead to any noticeable climate change. And their replacement by cattle and sheep shouldn’t cause any either.

    There’s also the dinosaurs. When they were plentiful, I’m sure they emitted all matter of gases. Did they fart their world to death, or was it some plague that wiped them out? Probably the latter, as they inbred their immunity away. And cost them in the long run. A lesson we’ve haven’t learned either. Today’s germs, and our ignorance, will probably kill us all off, long before the G.W. does.

  26. QB says:

    “The Argentine researchers discovered methane from cows accounts for more than 30 per cent of the country’s total greenhouse emissions…”

    In the US, college dorms account for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions…

  27. Jägermeister says:

    #27 – Glenn E. – There were herds of a million head each at one time. The total far exceeding all the domestic cow herds today. The buffalo now only exist in the hundreds.

    Really… There are between 250,000 to 350,000 bison today.

    Their rapid decline didn’t lead to any noticeable climate change. And their replacement by cattle and sheep shouldn’t cause any either.

    13 million bison were killed… compare that with this chart on number of cattle in different countries. 13 million is a piss in the Mississippi in comparison, so what effect would it have had?

    This is the second truly ignorant post from you this evening…

  28. Winston Smith says:

    Why is this a problem?

    We already have a solution: Beano!

  29. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    who wouldn’t want to be the grad student that gets to insert the hose

  30. dcphill says:

    No tube coming out of the mouth to collect belches, no tube in the anus or the cow can’t
    shit. So where are they collecting this flamable gas? I think this is a very funny hoax
    a little late for April fools.


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