Could breeding burpless sheep help a country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions?
According to an article in the Herald Sun, Australian scientists at the Sheep Co-operative Research Center are planning on finding out. They are in the process of testing 700 sheep with 20 different genetic lines in the hope of discovering, if not a burpless sheep, at least which ones will burp less methane into the atmosphere than others.
So how do you measure the methane in a sheep’s belch?
Fairly simply, according to study leader John Goody. First you feed them. And then you accommodate them in specially designed booths capable of calculating the amount of methane gas per belch.
Given that agriculture, and in particular grazing livestock, accounts for at least 16 percent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, the ability to selectively breed sheep genetically less predisposed to belching methane could possibly be a plausible way of helping to reduce Australia’s total emissions.
Woolly thinking or major scientific breakthrough? You decide.
Image: brew ha ha