UK politicians have set a goal to reduce the country’s methane emissions by 50% by 2030. Cows emit methane gas through burping and farting, contributing to climate change.
Around 14.5% of climate-damaging emissions are attributed to animal husbandry, with cows accounting for 2/3 of these gases.
To tackle this issue, politicians in the UK have developed strategies to reduce methane emissions, focusing on the use of methane blockers.
Decomposition of the cellulose by cow’s microbiome emits climate-damaging methane gas as a byproduct. Methane blockers or inhibitors are substances added to animal feed to reduce or eliminate the release of methane by cows. Researchers have studied various additives such as calcium cyanamide (CaCN2) and 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) to interfere with methanogenesis. These additives inhibit the transcription of genes associated with the enzyme involved in methanogenesis. By downregulating this pathway, methane production can be decreased.
However, some researchers criticize this approach, suggesting a need for a holistic plan that includes reducing intensive livestock farming and promoting agroecological methods. While methane blockers may offer some benefits, they do not address the larger issues associated with extensive livestock production. Additionally, there are concerns about the long-term effects on cow health and the environment, as well as the diminishing effectiveness of methane blockers over time.
Further research is needed to fully understand the implications of using methane blockers and to explore alternative solutions to reduce methane emissions. While the UK government and the Danish government see potential in the use of these additives, it is essential to consider comprehensive approaches that prioritize sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in livestock farming.