Grangeneuve, Switzerland – While the most common greenhouse gas comes from automobile emissions, the most harmful one is actually methane gas as produced by cattle. So locating ways to improve the digestive process for cattle may offer one more solution to the problem of greenhouse gases. To gain better insights, researchers have specially fitted 14 cows with 8-inch diameter cannulas to maintain the aperture of holes they have literally drilled into the sides of the cows to peer into their digestive tract.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that animal rights activists have denounced the practice as animal cruelty. Cows that have been cut open in this manner are called fistulated cows. While the intention of this latest procedure is to derive a diet that both nourishes cattle and reduces methane gas production, the practice of fistulating cattle dates back to the year 1833.
Researchers cite the fact that the animals do not experience pain during the process of being fistulated and they live longer lives due to the improved care they receive. Their explanations are unlikely to sway the animal rights lobby.
The act of creating methane gas is a measure of energy inefficiency. The more gas produced, the less energy the individual cow receives from the food it consumed. On average, cows lose 12% energy which is considered significant. After grazing, researchers remove samples from the rumen (first digestive chamber) for analysis. The researchers stress that the cows do not feel any pain whatsoever from the extraction process.