Cattle Are Ruining The World

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renegade

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I have heard about people saying that cattle cause global warming but i never thought anyone could believe that.  Well in goverment yesterday we got into a little about global warming and some one said that cars were the main cause and then two girls spoke up and said it was actually FARM ANIMALS!!!!!  I asked if they were kidding and they said no, they had read an article on it, like every article you read is true.
 

Rocky Hill Simmental

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I actually found that artical a few weeks ago when I was doing a research paper for my environmental biology class (I think I may have posted it before).
http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3312
Personally, I think they streched the truth a little too far. Even if there were no livestock, we would still have to tear down forests to make more land for crops for humans to eat. And if you get rid of all your animals you either have to butcher them or set them free. If you set them free then they'll be eating off crops anyway because they have to have something to live on.

Not to mention- The organization's wonderful choice in photographs to represent their research - Dirty, light weight holstein heifers and a guy slobishly eating fried chicken.

Needless to say, I didn't use that source for anything on my paper nor did I use anything from that site.

Something you got to consider about researchers is their organizations. If you check the particular organizations that funded the research for this project, it was a vegetarian organization so of course you would expect these results. Maybe you should mention this to your classmates. It might make them think a little bit more about what they're reading.  ;)

I'm not an expert on global warming so I don't really have any idea what most of that stuff means but I think that more than cattle are contributing to the problem. Just look at the growing population of humans and easier access to more power and energy consuming technology. Another thing to think about.
 

shorthorns r us

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feedlots are terrible greenhouse gas emitters.  grass-fed beef is remarkebly environmentally friendly.  what i have eaten tasted like poo but is environmentally friendly.

before settlement of the american west there were 3x as many buffalo as cattle today.  that would be further magnified by the unimaginable populations of other ruminating wildlife.  whether or not global warming is occurring as a result of GHG accumulation, mankind is industrializing our way to these levels of atmospheric GHG levels.
 

CPL

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I believe it was MSNBC News that had a gentleman on the other day that said some of the trends we are seeing in the current situation of global warming have taken place in the past about 10,000 years ago. While I believe we all should be doing our part and keeping our environment clean, people should know that a certain amount of global warming MUST TAKE PLACE NATURALLY. If this didn't happen then our planet would not be able to retain heat. The problem is for us to find a balance. Most of us have over stayed our lives here and I applaud those who are taking steps to minimize their outputs into our environment.

As for the comments about cattle and other farm animals, most land the cattle graze on have far more trees than any nieghborhood in New York City, Chicago, etc. Also cattle have always been a part of the earth, cars and other fossil fuel emiters were recently only added in the 1800s.
 

DL

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Global warming and green house gases are a complicate multifactorial issue and as livestock producers I believe we have a responsibility to provide accurate information and not fall into the habit of the sensational press - as RHS suggested you need to look at the source not only of the funding of the "research" but also the leaning of the press in question.

My recollection is that the number 1 creator or greenhouse gases is solid landfills (ie the dump) but I could be wrong - maybe RHS would be willing to share the info from the environmental bio class and educate us all so we don't perpetuate the cattle are ruining the world myth
 

knabe

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i have posted on this a few times.  one of the biggest spikes in global warming was when the temp gauges in siberia went offline when the soviet union fell.  also, a lot of temp gauges are in cities and are subject to a heat island effect.  of course the researchers will say this is compensated for.  look up the contributions of peat bogs in the northern hemisphere, gases from the ocean vents, volcanoes, termites (termites are a ruminate).  people never knew there were organisms that live off of methane till they started to look for them.  this is all about an agenda to redistribute wealth and basically is a communist plot.  there is almost no one who is for this who is providing jobs other than through regulation or subsidized government mandates who is for this.  acting green is a survival strategy, and as long as it generates profit to sell products to these zealots, companies will gladly take their money.  the biggest  culprit of this is of course government in the form of redevelopment associations which mandate growth by declaring blight so that property tax revenues will be repegged so that governement can keep expanding and education departments run centrally either by the state or federal government can keep growing.  how can you possibly be for growth on one hand, yet demand everyone be green?  you can't, but of course the public is too stupid, yes, stupid to notice.  just like generating revenue from smoking cigarettes to pay for health care, and when people quit smoking, where will the revenue come from?  well of course they will raise taxes again as they can't ever cut a program.  socialism is not that hard to notice.
 

Rocky Hill Simmental

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DL said:
Global warming and green house gases are a complicate multifactorial issue and as livestock producers I believe we have a responsibility to provide accurate information and not fall into the habit of the sensational press - as RHS suggested you need to look at the source not only of the funding of the "research" but also the leaning of the press in question.

My recollection is that the number 1 creator or greenhouse gases is solid landfills (ie the dump) but I could be wrong - maybe RHS would be willing to share the info from the environmental bio class and educate us all so we don't perpetuate the cattle are ruining the world myth

I believe my professor mentioned that deforestation, pollution, and population overgrowth are really hurting the environment (and agriculture). He never mentioned livestock so that's what I was kind of surprised back when I found that article (until I noticed the organizations and people mentioned in the text).

Yes, there is deforestation taking place in the livestock industry -but with the growing population, there's a lot of trees being removed to build more cities/suburbs too. If you watch a city grow, even in areas without many trees (maybe because the field was already being used for ag purposes) then the farms have to move further away to a new area (which may cause more deforestation). If you look at any of the new suburbs in old cattle fields then you'll notice they take out all the remaining trees anyway. I have to say, I haven't saw too many livestock fields without trees. When I go to Saint Louis I never see as many trees as I do in my cattle pasture. Saint Louis covers a lot more territory than the 100 acres my cows run on.

And yes, cattle do produce a lot of gas (so do horses but they won't get blamed because they're slowly slipping away from being considered livestock). But cattle have been around a lot longer than automobiles and industrial factories. People and their machines produce a lot of gas too.

Let's not forget about population growth, even though 90% of it takes place in less developed countries - that's still a 10% increase in more developed countries. Everytime a new person is born, they need another lifetime of food. More food means more meat, dairy, and plants. And the dairy and meat animals need plants to live on. Pasture sounds good too - I would hate to see a cow locked up in a dark shed her whole life. And I don't think people and other canivous animals are going to give up eating meat forever. Even if they did- where would the cattle go?

It comes down to the fact that people don't want to blame themselves so they try to put the blame on others. Vegan/vegetarian organizations love to blame ranchers anyway since we're raising meat animals. Like I said earlier, if someone shows you extremely unbelivable negative research over meat animals ask them where they got the research and who funded it. It might change their mind.  ;)

And I agree with DL, landfills are one of the top emitters greenhouse gases- not to mention, they take up a lot of land. After they're finished with, they put a clay cap over them but if they were reopened then it would be highly toxic and dangerous.
 

chambero

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The environmental field is my day job, so I'd like to make a few comments here:

Cattle are a major source of methane.  It's not debatable, there are lots of cattle in this country that produce lots of it.  Wildlife and other ruminants aren't even in the same ballpark magnitude wise.  We push lots of feed through cattle and they naturally produce it.  They are definitely a bigger source than landfills (there aren't that many landfills and most large ones actually collect and either burn it off or sell it).  I think they are probably the single biggest source of it.  Methane is one of the worst, but definitely not the only, contributors to the "greenhouse" effect you hear so much about it.  Methane is very "strong" in its effects on the atmosphere compared to other gases like CO2, NOx, SOx, etc.

People in agriculture get way too offended and reactionary when they are mentioned as being part of any kind of environmental issue.  Facts are facts.  No federal or state environmental agencies are making any attempt whatsoever to regulate cattle "emissions".  The only real environmental regulations on the livestock industry are related to control of pollutants from runoff from "point sources" like feedlots, some handling requirements for chemicals which are actually required because people won't use common sense, and some endangered species habitat issues that affect a few limited locations.  Lots of people don't like those constraints, but other industries and people living in cities are regulated in a much more stringent manner.  Those regulations on other industries keep people like me in business.  Whether anyone will admit it, agriculture is still a "sacred cow" (pun intended) that regulators can't mess with much.

Global warming and the greenhouse effect is extremely complicated, but our climate is getting warmer due partially to natural variability but largely due to carbon emissions that have been going on since industrialization.  Nobody (at least governments or mainstream environmental groups) is trying to make anyone do away with cars, industries, agriculture, etc.  We can't reverse the process, but hopefully implementation of a little common sense will keep us from stampeding off a cliff.  Agriculture ought to be the group most worried about this issue (whether its manmade or not) instead of trying to pretend it isn't happening.  Lots of people that grow crops won't be able to someday due to lack of water.  How many of you make posts on here worrying about droughts?  In the future (our lifetimes) they are very likely to get more frequent and more severe.

Lots of cities are starting to fund programs to plan on how to deal with these potential changes.  Nobody knows for sure what will happen and it will be gradual, but a little planning now can make things a lot less painful 100 years for now.

The media may get a lot of blame for how they cover the issue, but we are to blame for overreacting and exagerating what they say.  Whether you like it or not, the day is coming where we won't be growing cotton in the desert (that common sense thing again) and doing other things in places we don't need to be.  The plains are naturally covered with grass that was intended to be grazed.  That is a good thing for cattleman.  I expect you'll see more cropland converted to pasture in the longhaul as conditions become drier.  Take care of your land and don't overgraze and things will be fine.
 

knabe

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for a little different spin
http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2507851.ece
http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/1997/Dec/hour1_120597.html
http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html
http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

http://www.designnews.com/article/CA6493634.html?industryid=43656    this link is great, written by someone on the California air resources boarad CARB and has a link to michael crighton's web page about global warming.

http://www.michaelcrichton.net/
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1107/6772.html  notice comment in this one about belief, not the scientific method where you fail to disprove, not believe.

the american public is a bunch of parishiners with absolutely no ability to think for themselves as evidenced by this link where 6 in 10 think we aren't smart enough to make decsisons for ourselves.  of course let's let al gore decide everything, he's a scientist who uses the scientific method.  only a fool, 60% apparently would believe that.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/pew/20071107/ts_pew/57decliningconfidenceinpoliticalwisdomofamericans

we can reverse the process.  limit immigration to a lifestyle which produces 25% of global warming.  consume less, particularly items which require manufacturing for delivery of product each time, ie drinks.  limit purchases during christmas of essentially disposable toys, the entire economy of america and china essentially revolve around christmas.  this credit card debt fosters a belief system in children that they are entitled to too much without even working for any of it.  simply converting to actively doing something, ie learning music, participating in sports etc, rather than being a spectator which encourages mass marketing is achievable.  our parents and grandparents did it, but somehow the hippie generation became everything they claimed they hated.

one of the greatest ways to fix carbon is to use trees and replant them instead of allowing them to burn.  protesters at the university of santa cruz protested the other day when the university wanted to cut down TWO, yes just TWO redwood trees to build a new science building.  they said there wasn't enough public invovlvement in the process.  the university said the need to expand to absorb all the students from increasing population which of course these protesters are against limiting, remember, to them, there is no such thing as an illegal.  perhaps these students would attend classes around the koombyyah campfire while they work in the fields to feed are ever increasing population.  of course they won't, they will only decry industry for creating global warming.  not that it's any great consolation, but i have planted over 250 trees on my property.  this still doesn't offset my carbon footprint form my honda hybrid.  some of these trees are redwoods and they easily tap moisture from the heavy clay soil about 3 feet under my topsoil.  below this is a rock bed, under which is a water source not available to pasture grasses.  i wonder how many trees these student protesters have planted.  they complained about rubber bullets and pepper spray and have stated that hugo chavez is their hero, unaware perhaps that he has enacted changes to make himself dictator for life and that he authorized live bullets on student protestors.  of course the santa cruz protestors will not reimburse the university for security, which much be offset with lower quality of education as the university must pay for it.  it's pretty clear these mental giants know nothing about offsets.

we deride china for trying to limit population, while we do all we can to increase it.  the population curve and subsequent reeducation of peoples around the globe to convert to our consumer mentality is the greatest contribution to global warming.  entire societies and religions, both catholic and islam, are centered around maximizing their population by any means necessary and are not even worried about our time here on earth.

just think if we didn't have to waste resources, both mental and physical, on housing and our population was static.  of course eveyone would panic that social security needs an ever increasing poupulation so we won't do it.  the natural cycle is war.  population is the issue, always has been, always will be.

the reason agriculture needs to be worried the most is because our population is the least.  consumers won't regulate themselves, EVER, why would they, 40% rely on governement assisstance, and the government only knows how to penalize not reward, thus rasising prices on everything.

where should we grow cotton?  china, which they are, i think they are either 1st or 2nd.  the only reason not to grow cotton or lettuce, for that matter in the desert, is evapotranspiration losses and water use inefficiency.  solve that, and there is no reason not to use marginal land for a non-food crop.  there are lots of opportunities, but as long as we focus on no child left behind, rather than science, which bascially is not even taught in k-8 in california, we are doomed.

i agree with chambero, this is easy.

here's a good summary on methane sources.  so, with landfills the number one source, will the public do more to reduce it by reducing their consumption which drives the largest source?  some is being done to sort trash, which pays about 10-12 dollars an hour in CA.  we even have a methane pipe to release it and it is inventoried.  converting it to water vapor would be a good thing, but then, water vapor is a green house gas.  think about the toys you buy such as fisher price, they are oil and we are importing it from china using ships that burn massive amounts of diesel fuel while they sit with their engines on idle in the docks while they unload and we haven't done a good enough job mandating they change.  some progress has been made, but more needs to happen.

blah blah blah
kids, keep reading
 

knabe

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hey renegade,

here's an interesting article about gm food and those who would stop it.
http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9876
 

chambero

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http://www.epa.gov/methane/sources.html

This link with official data from EPA does show landfills as being the largest methane source, but what it doesn't show is that a lot of that is captured in gas collection systems at large landfills.  Ruminants (enteric fermentation) are a close third.  Much of the gas from natural gas production is flared off or captured which reduces actual emission levels there also.

Despite these numbers, the world isn't going to do away with landfills, natural gas, or cows.

Knabe - I glanced briefly at some of the links you suggested.  There are some pretty basic flaws on some - for example water vapor isn't really considered a greenhouse gas although it does definitely trap heat.  As the temperatures get higher more evaporation does occur which helps accelerate its own cycle.  Also, while methane makes up for only a small % of gases on a volume basis, its relative strength or contributing effect to the problem is much higher than other more prevalent gases which is why so much attention is focused on those sources.

As everyone knows, climate is an unimaginably complicated and interelated system.  But scientists can make some pretty good educated guesses (i.e. models) to predict what may happen.  Believe it or not, a lot of it is done by agricultural scientists (there again - the agriculture industry should be the group most worried about it - not trying to ignore it).  Aggie scientists do a lot of work in this field.
 

shorthorns r us

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i've don alot of research on this  issue.  since being injured i have accumulated and read an unbelievable amount on evironmental change.  much of it seems to be very biased one way or the other.  i am not an expert nor do i claim to have THE answer but my inclination is that we must stop desertification.  i believe the need for water WILL make our current "energy crisis" seem like "cupcakes and lollipops".  only time will tell.
 

Joe Boy

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China is now the greatest contributor to air pollution and other types.  20 of 30 dirtiest cities in the world are in China.  It take 8 days for their coal burning trash to be in our air.  They do not try to practice environmentally safety controls.

Hog methane gas is more lethal than cattle.  I have built both type of barns for customers with liquid manure pits.  You cannot have one very close to a hog barn.  I would love to see cities use manure and human waste as a means of generating electricity.  This is a renewable resource and is economical.  You young people, can change the world for the better by developing other energy sources and some of them could be used to improve the environment.

Farmers like many in industry have made vast improvements in managing environmental unfriendly things.  As a kid, I saw lots of land ruined by dumping salt water on it by the oil industry.  I saw natural gas burned needlessly on flares.  As a young adult I witnessed propane (a waste product from making jet fuel) simply burned in western OK during the Veit Nam War.  As a child I can remember crossing rivers at night that smelled like a sewer.  In New York and Washington D. C. while on a high school trip in the early 60's we were told not to get into the rivers.  They looked like our stale ponds during late August when it had not rained in three months.  Great strides have been made in my lifetime and there is more that we need to be educated in and do all we can do so our decedents can have a beautiful earth.

Scientist have not yet found all the answers to why we might be warming.  If you look at our local temperatures, as I did last week, for about the last 100 years, we are not having higher temperatures than we had in the past.  Other places differ.   Memory is not a good source of accurate information.  All the old men say that our winters are not as cold as they use to be.  To my memory, I only saw it below zero once in 1966 when it was 6 below in January.  I have seen it 1 and 2 in the last 10 years.

I think Al Gore has something to say, but I do not agree with him and recognize to get things done someone has to take the heat and overstate their position.  Too many of us draw a quick opinion of something and need to wait until all the facts are learned.

SRU, has a great point.

You now can buy land in Wilbarger County to farm or ranch that the City bought.  There will be all types of restrictions on the land as the City will be getting the water out from under the property.  I would not touch it unless I was a New York lawyer.....ha..
 

knabe

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chambero, concur with your sentiments.  there are flaws everywhere, consensus being the biggest.  making money off emotion seems to be the only consensus.

sanity?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/11/09/do0905.xml
 

chambero

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Joe Boy said:
You now can buy land in Wilbarger County to farm or ranch that the City bought.  There will be all types of restrictions on the land as the City will be getting the water out from under the property.  I would not touch it unless I was a New York lawyer.....ha..

We  haven't even started to see the "creative" things that cities and other entities with serious money will go to in order to find water for their residents.  We are designing pipelines to bring water from East Texas, trying to buy excess water in rivers from OK before it reaches the Red River which is really to salty to economically treat, etc. etc.

Honestly, I think over the long term we will see lots of land returned to grazing from cultivation.  And the environment and economic situation is most likely to favor cattle that can do most of their growing on native, drought-resistant grasses.
 

CAB

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  What are some of the  ill effects of the ethonal industries rise, if any Chambero?
 

knabe

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here's a site about tracking temperatures.

http://www.surfacestations.org/

also, remember, that siberia stations went off line, and guess what, overall temp went up.

obviously, this site, cherry picked a site where the temp actually went down.  they also point out locations of sensors, but didn't point out that these are supposedly adjusted for.  i would like to see how they are adjusted for, particularly when city effects called heat islands can account for temp increases down wind of between 5-8 degrees F.  how many heat islands can raise global warming, ie, my contention that cement is causing some warming, ie, san francisco used to be freezing when i was a kid in the summer (relatively speaking), less so today, it's almost mild.
 

chambero

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Concrete has a huge impact on the heat island affect.  Still, urban areas are still a small fraction of the world's total surface area and I don't believe their impact on overall climate is that significant due to this issue.  The U.S. Green Building Council and the LEED rating system is a good source of alternative construction techniques.  There are some real innovations and changes that actually involve common sense in building design. 
 

DL

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Few tidbits I have accumulated re the issue
1. There is ongoing research re cattle and methane production = since cattle are ruminants are were not necessarily created to eat what we feed them they produce tons of CH4 (methane) - trying to change the production of CH4 by altering diet is the goal of this study (can't remember where I read this). It also explains why all those BFLO and antelope and other ruminants don't produce lots of CH4
2. Many of the landfills are utilizing methane digesters or something like them (help chambero!) to utilize the gas to create usable energy
3. Some of the really big dairies have their won methane digesters (for manure not cows) and are able to cut their purchased electricity way down or to zero - of course the cost of these little buggers is not cheap...
4. I guess as a cattle producer I object to or am offended by the title of this thread- maybe it was tongue and cheek - which I missed, but if we denigrate our ourselves and our livelihood, why should others take us seriously. We owe it to ourselves to promote what we do in a positive but honest way ..PETA would probably love the title ...
 

knabe

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water soluble carbohydrates decrease methane production.  these have been selected for in high sugar ryegrass and supposedly work.

i live about 20 miles downwind of a proposed 6000 home development.  this is sufficient to raise the temperature of my town by 5 degrees.  if this isn't significant global warming, i don't know what is.  global warming alamists have begun to change their label to climate change.  they can't decide if you are going to freeze to death or die by warming.  to me, this is more about redistribution of wealth and the end of capitalism than it is is about the environment.  i want to know, within 20%, which is a rather large error, what percentage of global warming is caused by cosmic rays, the earth's magnetic field, the earths's rotational wobble etc and have it reprodcued in the lab (it has been done for cosmic rays) rather with computer models which have been fiddled with a little bit and data excluded to that the results fit the desired political (wealth redistribution) mantra.  why is the ice cap on the south pole increasing.  why don't we legislate fewer births.  why don't we legislate less immigration into the 2nd largest polluting economy in the world.  if we produce 25% of all the pollution, why are we increasing our population? our ecoonmy is centered on growth for profits.  our economy is, was successful because of rules disparity, not income disparity.  the rules disparity that allowed incentive is what made this country great.  we are tearing this down quickly.  imagine 300 years without america how much cooler the environment would be.  we have replaced christianity with fear, uncertainty and doubt (granted, a major theme of christianity) and have no concept of living without largess.  consider a family of 4 used to live in a 1300 sq ft house.  now, two people live in 4000 sq ft houses.  just look at al gore's house vs george bush's.  of course blowhard al can purchase offsets without having to change his behavior.  when that hypocrite actually changes his behavior is when i will start to believe that global warming is irreversable.  the only thing about global warming that is irreversable is big al's behavior.  guilt is the major motivator of the alamists.  it's inherent.  the global warming movement is more successful at revival techniques than christianity or islam ever was.
 
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