Sometimes, you really don’t need to make up an April Fools joke. Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction, except for the part about “four gallons” which is part of the original Telegraph article 😉 – Anthony
From the Telegraph UK, by Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Cows which are fed omega 3 fatty acids belch out less greenhouse gases that cause climate change, according to scientists.
Cattle produce large amounts of methane as they digest their food and then belch out most of it through their mouths.
A herd of 200 cows can produce annual emissions of methane roughly equivalent in energy terms to driving a family car more than 100,000 miles (180,000km) on more than four gallons (21,400 litres) of petrol.
The omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils can also help the heart and circulatory system and improve meat quality.
Speaking at the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Harrogate, Dr Lorraine Lillis, one of the researchers, said the study could help the agriculture industry cut emissions.
She said: “The fish oil affects the methane-producing bacteria in the rumen part of the cow’s gut, leading to reduced emissions.
“Understanding which microbial species are particularly influenced by changes in diet and relating them to methane production could bring about a more targeted approach to reducing methane emissions in animals.”
The UK is committed to cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050.
More than a third of all methane emissions in the UK is produced by farm animals. By volume, methane is 20 times more powerful at trapping solar energy than carbon dioxide making it a potent greenhouse gas.
Jonathan Scurlock, an adviser at the National Farmers Union, said farmers were willing to modify feed in order to reduce emissions but at the moment there are few affordable options on the market and he encouraged more research into the area.