Cattle are part of the solution, not the problem, when it comes to climate change issues

Methane emissions from cattle farming are often the focus of discussion on climate protection.

18-Feb-2022 - Germany

The discussion on climate protection often focuses on methane emissions from cattle farming. It is forgotten that methane from cattle farming is a short-lived greenhouse gas that is broken down in the atmosphere within 10 to 12 years and returned to the natural carbon cycle. As long as cattle numbers remain the same, this cycle does not put additional stress on the climate. Since the 1950s, the cattle population in Germany has been reduced by almost 30 percent. Although higher milk yields have increased the amount of methane per cow, this has been more than offset by the sharp decline in the number of cows. Methane emissions from cattle farming in Germany have thus remained roughly the same or fallen slightly over the past 70 years. Therefore, it can be concluded that methane emissions from cattle farming cannot have a significant impact on climate change. Rather, the causes of climate change are the sharp increases in the consumption of fossil fuels (hard coal, lignite, oil, gas) triggered by industrialization.

Cattle are an important factor for sustainable food production. As ruminants, they utilize a large part of the plant matter from agricultural production that is not edible for humans, producing high-quality animal foods such as milk and meat. In this way, cattle make an important contribution to the careful use of land and resources in food production. Demands to halve the cattle population or to abandon dairy products as well as beef as a foodstuff testify to a lack of knowledge of the history of agriculture and distract from the actual problem areas.


Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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