Reporting on a UN study in 2006, the Independent reported:
‘Cow ’emissions’ more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars. Meet the world’s top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane, or even George Bush: it is the cow. A United Nations report has identified the world’s rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs.’
So, a Scottish study, announced today, which can lead to the breeding of ‘low-emission cattle’ is very big breakthrough indeed. Professor John Wallace will lead a study which is:
‘the result of a collaboration involving Scotland’s Rural College, The University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and The University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute, identified a genetic link between host animals, the microbial community in their digestive tract and the methane that they produce. The findings could ultimately help farmers respond to the growing global demand for meat, while minimising the associated environmental impact.’
The team have won a prize of $5 000 to develop their breath-taking research. It seems a bit mean if it might save the planet.