Yes, you read that headline right.  Our EPA wants to place a fee on the “digestive gas” that cows and pigs produce because evidently it is making a big impact on our environment.  You know, global warming!  The polar bears are dying!  The ice caps are melting!  We’re doomed!  And one of the major contributors to this environmental disaster in the making is the methane gas in cow farts.

It is true that having our bovine friends eat grasses like alfalfa will reduce the amount of methane that they produce.  Poor fellas, that corn just doesn’t sit right with them.  Having them eat grasses would also improve the nutrition of the milk they produce.

It would also raise the price of milk, beef and pork because corn is less expensive and easier to store than grass.  So that then would get passed on to us the consumer.

So would a fee.  Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who is the ranking member of the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming is concerned about how it may affect agribusiness.

However, methane gas is much more effective in keeping warmth in the atmosphere than CO2, but has a much shorter half-life,” Sensenbrenner explained. “To show you how ridiculous this is getting, the EPA has got the proposed regulation imposing a cow fart tax of $175 a year on every head of dairy cattle in the United States and $80 for beef cattle, $20 per head of hogs.

He also joked that maybe the solution would be “to develop the technology to strap a catalytic converter on the back of a cow.”

I think feeding them alfalfa would be much more practical, but honestly do we really want our government regulating cow farts?  I say not.

Update: Thanks Steve for your link in the ongoing fight against Cow and Pig farts.  Fight the good fight!

12 comments
  1. Maybe it's a good thing we killed all those bison after all. Let's go after wildebeests next.

    Wondering if we have anywhere near the number of cows in this country to make up for the gas passed by the various species which ran wild before we began raising cattle on the land.

  2. I was going to post about this and you beat me too it. Rather than type it myself, I linked to you!

    It's amazing where we are heading….

  3. It's in the pea family, as opposed to cereals, bamboo, reeds, sugar cane. (Hey, I'm a ranch kid *and* my mom's got a BS in animal husbandry with a minor in education; I've got to pick these nits. Besides, alfalfa is a LOT less painful to bail and stack than grass hay.)

    I've never seen cattle put out on knee-deep alfalfa for feed, because of the danger of bloating; sometimes fields with a bit of alfalfa in them, though– grasses are better, although my folks' usually go up on the forest instead.

    I am curious, though– the corn they're fed at the lots (hey, it's a grain!) is that in the form of silage or is it the corn kernels? If it's nearby, the silage would smell like vinegar…..

  4. I stand corrected on Alfalfa. They also are talking about cows being grass-fed (on pastures, etc.). There is a dairy we get milk from where that is pretty much what the cows eat.

    You're question about corn is way beyond me, and you are right it is a grain, but I couldn't tell you in what form it comes :).

  5. *turns pale green* Please tell me you don't drink raw milk.
    Natural, pasture-fed, free range…I can go for, but raw milk is like eating raw pork….

    I do know that the beef my folks get tastes a lot better than the stuff from feed lots, but it's impractical for most purposes– shoot, if the environmentalists get their way, we'll be kicked off of all state or federal land, and it'll be impossible for anyone not rich enough to raise their cattle on privately owned areas that don't have possible habitats for threatened species.

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