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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cow 3.0, a climate change solution

Cow 1.0 ate mostly grass for the last few thousand years.

Then after World War 2, the U.S. inadvertently created Cow 2.0 by creating cheap grains.

As this (free registration required) great New York Times article describes, cattle methane emissions can be cut somewhere in the range of 18% just by switching them to the diet that they're adapted for - mostly grasses.  So everything old is new again.
Photo creative commons licensed by publicenergy, some rights reserved at

So what's the takeaway? Get your beef from a (preferably local) grassfed producer and if possible, your dairy as well. I think the latter is harder to find. And when someone tells you that beef should be avoided, point out that there at least less bad options. Besides, grain fed usually goes with confined feedlots which are also linked to antibiotics resistance in humans, water pollution, and poor animal health. I don't think that the God that mandated a day off for livestock per week and letting threshing animals eat their fill would care for confined feedlots.

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