The Green Moo Deal: Solving the Methane Problem in Cattle and Dairy Cows
Many folks believe that cattle and dairy cows can no longer be tolerated on our endangered planet because of the serious greenhouse gases they burp during their digestion process. We simply can’t afford the additional methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, to be added to our already-compromised air.
The Davis Friends Meeting, Yolo Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, and the Cool Davis Coalition invite you to join Professor Ermias Kebreab, PhD, an Associate Dean for Global Engagement in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science and Director of the World Food Center at UC Davis Thursday, May 13 at 7pm online. Dr. Kebreab has a track record of looking for climate solutions, and he has tackled this very problem. This event is free and the fourth in the 2021 Climate Speaker series.
Register now for the free online event
Dr. Kebreab and his research teams are focused on reducing the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, and particularly greenhouse gas emissions globally. Currently, he leads teams interested in:
- a whole system approach to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, including mathematical modeling and mitigation of emissions from animals, manure, and soil
- development of energy and nutrient utilization/requirement models in cattle, swine, and poultry
- sustainable agriculture, in particular animal production in relation to environmental sustainability
While many folks have chosen vegetarian or vegan diets for a variety of reasons, many cultures and individuals so far have not. Our cultural practices run deep and are hard to change, and we have large human populations to feed. Kebreab’s work offers substantial relief from one major climate problem related to beef and dairy cows: the release of methane. This is a time to explore all solutions that bring us closer to the goal of living sustainably.
Kebreab is a contributing author to the International Panel on Climate Change and he chairs the feed additive committee of the UN FAO. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles and received several awards including Excellence in Ruminant Nutrition and International Agriculture from the American Society of Animal Science.
Cattle Super Food
A recent report states, “Kebreab’s research on seaweed in cattle feed has proven that seaweed is the super food dairy cattle need to reduce the amount of methane they burp into the atmosphere. Early results from Dr. Kebreab’s research indicate that just a touch of ocean algae in cattle feed could dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions from California’s 1.8 million dairy cows. In the past year, there has been even better news. Dr. Kebreab has found that seaweed reduces methane emissions from beef cattle, as well as dairy cows. The reduction in methane emissions is up to 80 percent.”
Of course, there are many more details to work out, like where to get enough seaweed and how to get range cattle to eat a pinch of daily seaweed. The research teams are already moving forward with questions like these.
Moreover, we still may have questions on the efficiency of growing grain to feed beef and dairy cows for those privileged to buy meat and dairy products, when that same grain could feed many people instead. We have to think about beef and dairy products from many angles in our global setting. Would this technique help in the Amazon as the rainforest is cut to make way for cattle? So…come with your curiosity and questions and join the conversation. Dr. Kebreab works with the United Nations is already planning research to tackle some of these very issues.
Register for the online session here. If you are unable to attend, register now and you’ll receive a follow up link to the recording of the event, which you may watch at your convenience.
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Cool Davis is a coalition of citizens, the City of Davis, and community organizations working to empower our community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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