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Solution to Cattle Methane Pollution: Wine and Shrink Rays

Poor cows: it's not their fault they're gassy, and yet their flatulence is blamed for all kinds of horrible things like global warming and melting ice caps. Solutions to livestock methane pollution, which is basically cows burping and farting, may include getting the animals liquored up, or just making them (and therefor their methane output) smaller.

A Canadian cattle rancher is finishing her cattle with wine, which researchers have hypothesized may reduce bovine methane production. Every day for 90 days before slaughter, cows receive 1 liter of local red wine, and chefs who have used the beef say the flavor and aroma are amazing as "it already comes pre-marinated." Also, the cows aren't complaining: "They moo at one another a little more and seem more relaxed."

Another way to reduce methane pollution from cattle? Shrink the cow. Ranchers across the country have begun raising "mini-cows," also known as "teacup cattle." 20,000 mini-cows exist in the US today, and produce the methane of 2,000 full size cows. The logic there seems a bit circular (won't you have to raise more small cattle to get the same amount of meat?), but since 10 mini-cows can be raised on the same amount of land as two full-sized cows, there's a land-use advantage as well.

· Wine-Fed Cows a Hit With Chefs [Vancouver Sun via Dr. Vino]
· Why Mini Cows Could Save the Planet [Guardian]
· All Cow coverage on Eater [-E-]

Paula Sue the Miniature Holstein [Photo: Guardian]

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