Animal Aid

Methane & cows : GM is not the answer

Posted 10 July 2007

All the evidence points to livestock farming as being inefficient and environmentally destructive - as well as appallingly cruel to the animal victims. But rather than confront this reality, ‘science’ offers an endless stream of fake solutions. The latest relates to the massive emissions of climate changing methane produced by animal farming. It is an irreducible fact that cattle and sheep emit large quantities of the gas during digestion. GM companies are now holding out the promise that cattle feed can be engineered to contain more sugars and thus allegedly reduce the methane burden. Given that 70% of all British agricultural land is devoted to growing grass and crops for livestock, would the British public be happy for so much of the countryside to be subjected to a genetically-modified fix? Researchers are also exploring the alarming idea of genetically engineering the digestive system of sheep and cattle.

Burping and farting from the cows themselves only accounts for part of emissions from the livestock industry. In total, animal farming is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gases - more than that generated by the whole of the transport sector. Holding out the promise of GM ‘solutions’ will make biotech companies a tidy profit, but won't change the fundamental reality about the massive damage, cruelty and inefficiencies that are integral to animal farming.

There is a clear way to solve the problem: moving over to a plant-based diet. This is one of the reasons Animal Aid promotes a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is good for your health, good for the animals, and good for the planet.

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