Good news — researchers have debunked the cattle and climate change myth! Check out the latest findings and share this blog post far and wide!

Amanda Radke

December 5, 2018

3 Min Read

Cow burps are destroying the ozone layer — we’ve all heard that one, and frankly, it’s time for the industry to ditch that myth once and for all.

As our industry zeroes in on topics of sustainability and ways we as beef producers can improve for the better, I continue to beat the same drum — cattlemen and women already do a spectacular job of managing our land and water to produce more beef using fewer resources.

Simply stated, beef production isn’t just sustainable; it’s regenerative. And despite what the naysayers claim, cattle grazing and consuming by-products of crop production play a critical role in our ecosystem.

Our consumers should be able to enjoy beef without guilt because it’s good for them and the planet. Period.

Yet, the link between cattle and climate change really seems to have caught hold. From the Meatless Mondays folks to the increasing sentiments that plant-based diets are far superior, we have a tough road ahead of us if we are ever going to change public perception and continue to foster feelings of trust and confidence with our consumers about our product.

New research conducted by agrobiologist and scientific researcher Albrecht Glatzle is a good place to start. He is a professor with INTTAS (Initiative for Research and Extension of Sustainable Agrarian Technologies), Filadelfia, Paraguay.

Related:4 facts on cows & climate change that can’t be ignored

According to newly published research by Glatzle, who has written over 100 scientific papers and two textbooks, “There is no scientific evidence, whatsoever, that domestic livestock could represent a risk for the Earth’s climate.”

That’s news so good you better read it twice! New research is proving what we’ve known all along, and now it’s our job to spread this research far and wide.

As printed in the Climate Dispatch, Glatzle writes, “Our key conclusion is there is no need for anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and even less so for livestock-born emissions, to explain climate change. Climate has always been changing, and even the present warming is most likely driven by natural factors.

“Between 1990 and 2005, the world cattle population rose by more than 100 million head (according to FAO statistics). During this time, atmospheric methane concentration stabilized completely.

“These empirical observations show that livestock is not a significant player in the global methane budget. This appreciation has been corroborated by Schwietzke et al. who suggested that methane emissions from fossil fuel industry and natural geological seepage have been 60–110% greater than previously thought,” he writes.

Related:Study ignores nutritional factor when evaluating climate impact

“We could not find a domestic livestock fingerprint, neither in the geographical methane distribution nor in the historical evolution of the atmospheric methane concentration. Consequently, in science, politics, and the media, the climate impact of anthropogenic GHG emissions has been systematically overstated.

“Livestock-born GHG emissions have mostly been interpreted isolated from their ecosystemic context, ignoring their negligible significance within the global balance. There is no scientific evidence, whatsoever, that domestic livestock could represent a risk for the Earth’s climate.”

Please share this blog post on social media today to help spread this message with our consumers. As the industry attempts to tweak and fine-tune this already well-oiled beef producing machine, this is an important conclusion to share as it truly reinforces what we’ve always known — beef producers were the original environmentalists and conservationists.

We’ve been improving the soil through cattle grazing for centuries as cattle aerate the soil with their hooves, fertilize it with their manure, reduce the spread of wildfires by grazing brush and promote new growth with each bite. Plus, by keeping grasslands intact instead of converting to monoculture farming or commercial/residential development, cattle help store more carbon and promote biodiversity of the soil.

It’s about time we get credit for our environmental efforts, don’t you think?

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

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