As more and more people realize the environmental and health impacts of the meat and dairy industries, they’re beginning to eat less meat, to go vegetarian/vegan or at least to switch to more sustainable and environmentally friendly sources of meat, such as smaller local farms with pastured animals.
But the problem of methane gas emissions from cattle remains a huge environmental issue, as it is said to be a major contributor to climate change and to harming the ozone layer.
Now scientists in New Zealand believe they have a new method for reducing methane gas in cattle: a vaccine that could reduce the animals’ emissions by a total of 30 to 90 percent. The vaccine is being developed by Dairy NZ, and is now in the animal testing phase.
The target of the vaccines are methanogens, the gut bacteria that produce methane within the cattle. An auto immune response is created so that the body “attacks itself” according to the researchers. The vaccine is the result of five years of industry work in this field, according to a report from ABC Australia.
Reservations About the Vaccine
While the vaccine is being pushed, it’s fair to wonder whether this could be another case of a complex “solution” for a problem that requires a different method of thinking and demands to be addressed at the root causes.
Most cows are fed an unnatural diet of genetically engineered corn and soy in the United States, which contributes to irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and other problems that lead to more belching and cases of flatulence, contributing to more methane gas emissions.
The elephant in the room is also whether we need to eat less meat as a society in general at a time when meat consumption is rising in many countries outside of the United States.
Globally, livestock raising accounts for about 18 percent of total methane emissions according to the UN.
And of course no one knows what the side effects may be for people eating meat from cows given such a vaccination; health problems are a notorious side effect of Monsanto’s infamous growth hormones of course, and no one knows what types of additives and preservatives may be added to such vaccines should they ever be used on a large scale. These additives could inevitably get into the meat and dairy products produced by the cows.
“It must be stressed that these are early days. Further trials are needed to confirm that these compounds can reduce emissions in the long term, have no adverse effects on productivity and leave no residues in meat or milk,” said AgResearch’s Ron Ronimus.
At any rate this is an interesting development to watch going forward; you can read the full article by clicking here.