Livestock are one of the main “contributors” of greenhouse gases, accelerating climate change. The key to reducing these gases could be in the diet.
There are around 1,500 million cows in the world. But also 1 billion sheep, more than 900 million pigs, almost 400 million goats, etc. These herbivores feed us, but they are also highly polluting.
First, the food needed to feed them and the facilities for their care and maintenance are resource-intensive. But also livestock, through their diet, emit a huge amount of methane, a greenhouse gas, which increases climate change.
It is such a serious problem that New Zealand has already proposed to reduce its livestock by 15%, and gurus like Bill Gates have asked that we stop consuming so much meat, and opt for other alternatives.
The contamination of livestock comes from their diet. They are herbivorous animals that feed mainly on grass and hay, and its digestion generates a large amount of gases, like methane, which is a greenhouse gas. It is estimated that between 10 and 20% of greenhouse gases come from livestock.
Since this methane comes from the diet … could it be improved to reduce it?
A research team from the University of California has conducted an experiment for five months. Has been adding every day to livestock feed 80 grams of seaweed daily of the species Asparagopsis taxiformis, and have verified that methane emission is reduced by 82%.
Climate change is going to severely affect the Mediterranean. According to a study, in 100 years the sea level will rise one meter and the temperature will be 5 degrees higher.
They have also compared the weight of the animal, the taste of meat and milk, and there are no differences between the cows that consumed the algae and those that did not. Nor does it imply any alteration of the diet, since there are only 80 grams of algae among the several kilos of grass and hay that they consume per day.
Although it seems an effective and innocuous solution, there are other issues to be solved. Although its use was approved there is not enough algae of this type to feed all the livestock, we would have to find a way to be able to cultivate them at an industrial level.
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In addition, an important part of the cattle feed in the open air, consuming the grass on the ground, and a way would have to be found to supply them with the algae.
They are important logistical problems, but if it is achieved solve the problem of greenhouse gases from livestock, it would certainly be a breakthrough.