Sorry vegans, we’re going to talk about eating meat here so if you’re squeamish this article probably isn’t for you. If you’re still interested in learning about how feeding cows seaweed could cut down on greenhouse gasses though, read on!
Cows are probably the best and worst animals on the planet. On one hand, we use them for dairy and meat products that sustain a major portion of the average diet. On the other, they have probably the worst case of IBS and are 65% of the 14.5% greenhouse gas emissions caused by livestock around the world. To be fair though- that’s mostly our problem for over breeding them so that we can harvest them but that’s a whole other story.
Is this beano for cows?
Kind of… Scientists recently discovered that by feeding cows seaweed, their output of methane was decreased by 82%! They were also able to more easily digest the plant and keep a healthy weight that is ideal for livestock.
According to a recent journal entry by PLoS One seaweed is the way to go when reducing cows gas emissions. Red seaweed (Asparagopsis taxiformis) supplementation reduces enteric methane by over 80% in beef steers.
Agriculture may be making a move soon to harvest seaweed to feed cows across the world instead of using the hay and silage they are now. One thing that could cause a problem with this though is overharvesting seaweed. So while it could possibly help our atmosphere and slow down global warming, we could also be destroying the ocean to do it. More studies will have to happen to see if this will be a viable solution to the methane output of cows in the future.