Everyone has heard the factoid about cow farts: The methane from cattle passing gas is apparently a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. (Though apparently cattle burps are an even bigger problem).
It sounds like something you’d see on Snopes but it’s actually true. And believe it or not, scientists are trying to fix it by tinkering with the animals’ diets. Even if cattle eat a natural diet of grass – which applies to so few modern farmed cattle anyway – apparently there’s a lot they can do by introducing new grasses and clovers.
Reducing meat or cutting it out altogether is one of the most effective ways you can tackle global warming, not just because of the flatulence but also because of the energy and land needed to grow animal feed.
However, if you are looking for a red meat fix with a (relatively) clear conscience, proponents want you to try kangaroo. The iconic Australian marsupials might be cute but they are also popular eating – a lean red meat not wholly unlike venison.
Now there’s another reason to eat them – apparently, kangaroos have a far more genteel digestive system so that flatulence problem does not arise. They’re reared on the land, rather than intensively farmed. Their soft paws do not damage the land and cause erosion, which can be a problem with hard-hooved animals such as cattle, especially in Australia.
Importing meat from the other side of the world is never going to be a green solution and I’m not sure if kangaroo farming would work in other countries without such vast land resources. But if you’re in Australia, you might want to consider buying kangaroo meat for yourself or as pet food.
Not everyone agrees that eating kangaroo is a good idea. Maybe it’s not the whole answer, but it’s certainly worth thinking creatively about how we can break the meat habit or get our fix in more environmentally benign ways.
Image: Mr. Imperial