Cows and sheep apparently burp so much methane gas that livestock is a threat to the climate. Now scientists want to develop a vaccine that can silence the burps.
In New Zealand, several organizations have joined forces to produce a vaccine against the microbes that produce methane gas in sheep and cows.
- This is a very complicated task, says researcher at AgResearch in New Zealand, Peter H. Janssen.
They estimate that it will take at least seven years, maybe more, before the vaccine can be used by farmers.
Methane is produced by organisms that feed on waste products in the rumen of ruminant animals, and the gas comes out as a burp.
The vaccine they develop will stop the growth of the organisms that create the gas. Now they have mapped the genetic material of some of these and can begin the process of producing a vaccine.
In New Zealand, livestock produce 45 percent of the greenhouse gases, and export of meat and other products from sheep and cattle are the main export industry. But if they are to achieve the climate goals stated in the Paris agreement, without risking great losses, they need to come up with new ideas.
It is not clear if Africa will catch and release millions of ruminant animals such as zebras and wildebeests to vaccinate them, or risk that the world collapses in an inferno of methane gas. Thank God for people, without us it would surely happen.
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