The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.reply to post by superdebz
Now these are problems I can get behind!
The amount of land being cleared for grazing is definitely a problem. However, it is a problem that is solvable without removing meat from the diet.
Cows have no problem living in wooded areas, but they need large amounts of fodder. Grass simply doesn't contain much energy; therefore cows (and
other grazers) need vast amounts of it.
A solution was proposed back as early as 1876:
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful
garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who
used the plant for ornamental purposes.
Kudzu's main focus back then was as a livestock feed, although it is true that it gained acceptance in America as an ornamental vine instead. It
makes a wonderful feed source, however, and at a growth rate of 1 foot a day combined with high protein yields, it makes an excellent livestock
Kudzu can be used by grazing animals as it is high in quality as a forage and greatly enjoyed by livestock. It can be enjoyed up until frost
and even slightly after. Kudzu hay typically has a 15–18% crude protein content and over 60% total digestible nutrient value.
Here in the South, it is fairly common knowledge that cattle will tromp through acres of alfalfa to get to kudzu. What is not common knowledge is that
kudzu makes a great hay for winter feed as well; the one problem is that it cannot be harvested like more common hays. It has to be cut 'low' and
Kudzu received much bad press back after it was produced because the long tough vines would have their way with farm equipment if this procedure was
not followed. Also, those who became disgusted with trying to work kudzu found it has another attribute: the stuff is practically immortal! there are
reports on top of reports of kudzu roots surviving decades of constant attempts by farmers to kill them using herbicides, fire, and manual
Kudzu has another characteristic that makes its use ideal: it does not need open areas to grow. It is as much at home in wooded areas as it is on farm
fields, meaning there is no need to clear land to use it.
If we could convince farmers and ranchers that kudzu is a great feed source and workable, it would drastically decrease the amount of land needed per
head of cattle. Attempts are underway to do just this, but old concepts die hard.
That is one solution; I would be surprised if others did not exist as well.
As to the methane production problem, there are also solutions:
Australian researchers have created a vaccine that inhibits gas-producing microbes
in a sheep's gut. And high-grade alfalfa grass pastures have been found to reduce windy side effects in grazing cows.
New Zealand scientists trying to curb their country's influence on global warming may have found an answer to belch about: Livestock that eat
plants high in condensed tannins produce up to 16 percent less methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
But, thanks to research carried out in Queensland for the past four years, and released last month, the marsupial's cleverest trick is its
ability to produce environmentally friendly farts. Researchers have isolated the bacteria in the stomach lining of kangaroos that means their farts
contain no methane, a greenhouse gas far more damaging than carbon dioxide.
The team, led by Dr. Athol Klieve, believes that unlocking this secret could lead to the creation of more climate-friendly cattle. Between them, the
flatulent farm animals produce so much methane that they account for 14 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, second only to power
stations. But if the kangaroo bacteria were added to cattle feed, the researchers hope they could create herds with much lower carbon
All of these are noble research efforts IMHO. The difference between them and the article that started this thread is that they focus on continued
research within the bounds of what may be practical, as opposed to a poorly-considered quick fix that is unworkable.
Or, as I prefer to refer to it, human laziness...
As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.