What cows give us is a common question in primary classes. Ordinary people will give me milk, dung and meat. But some say it gives oxygen and gives cow urine. No one really talks about what the cow gives us. That is the gas methane. Even those who laugh when they hear that a cow gives oxygen do not know that they are methane emitters. Although the cow is poor, methane is not a poor gas. Methane is one of the major causes of climate change, one of the major crises facing the Earth.
Between cow and methane
Methane is a gas that cows regularly emit. It is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Therefore, a significant reduction in methane emissions will help mitigate the effects of global warming. Agriculture and livestock account for about 40 percent of methane production. The fossil fuel industry emits the rest of the methane. Most of the methane is produced by the digestive system in cows. About 95% of the methane produced by cows comes from their mouths or noses.
There are billions of cows around the world. How can we control the amount of methane they emit on a daily basis? This is a significant research topic in the world. Cargill, the largest agricultural production corporation in the United States, has developed a mask to cover the noses of cows in collaboration with the British startup Zero Emissions Livestock Project. This mask filters methane and converts it into carbon dioxide.
Gislaine Boucher, head of the Kargil Animal Nutrition team, said the filter would reduce the impact of this molecular global warming. Methane emissions were halved with the use of the mask. However, he added that the mask needs to be re-tested before it can be marketed.
Adding red seaweed to the feed of cows will help in reducing the excretion of methane. Studies show that feeding seaweed reduces methane emissions by more than 80 percent.
Even so, the methane problem can be reduced to some extent. There are limits to the technical approaches that can be adopted to address methane emissions. Researchers say improving animal husbandry and adopting a vegetarian or low-meat and dairy diet could reduce methane emissions by 65-80 million tons per year over the next few decades.
Between cow and oxygenIn
Now comes the important question. Whether the cow expels oxygen. Soma M, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi, explained the basics of the respiratory system in animals. This is what Rai says. ‘The body uses only 4-5 per cent of the 21 per cent oxygen we breathe. The rest is being released. It also emits carbon dioxide and other emissions. This process is the same for all living things, including the cow, and the cow alone has no special ability.