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back to article Irish boffins tackle cow-fart ecopocalypse with fish oil

Irish boffins believe they may be able to save us all from the scourge of cowfart-induced ecological catastrophe, according to reports. It seems that adding fish oil to the parping bovine planet-wreckers' diet can reduce their methane emissions. As any fule kno, methane (CH4) - produced in the guts of various animals including …

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Yay!

I can (continue to) has cheezburger!

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Can the fart jokes.

Its mostly emitted through burps.

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Anonymous Coward

Other effects?

Fish-flavoured beef? Not sure I fancy that.

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Anonymous Coward

I for one

Can't wait for my fish flavoured milk. Yum yum

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Flame

Udderly useless, surely?

I mean it's not like we've got fields of fish going about. And even if we could breed some sort of north-sea tolerant seacow that could provide us with the same- or higher- qualities of meat and leather the Spanish would turn up and swipe them before we'd got the first harvest.

All this amounts to telling us is that changing the diet of an animal changes its outputs. Which any fule know.

This study fails to moo-ve us any closer to a solution.

I do like the fart-sequestering idea, though- over the life of a cow you could have easily enough gas produced to properly flame-grill it into lovely steaky goodness.

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Anonymous Coward

Springfield

why dont we do what they done to that ecological disaster Springfield (Simpsons the movie) and keep cows in a dome where the grass will grow better due to being able to control the environment, giving the cows better feed and we can harvest the farts (and poo gasses) and use them for electricity. this is a win win situation.

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Hmm

I thought cows were obligate herbivores?

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Flame

Alternative Irish proposal to reduce methane emissions

Surely the Irish contribution to reducing methane emissions is to stop producing Guinness.

Had a /few/ the on Friday and I was thoroughly ob-noxious to share air space with all weekend.

Flames, because now we know what we have to do!!

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Boffin

Mad fish disease...

I can see how adding fish to a herbivore's diet is really going to help.

FFS! They've been farting methane for thousands of years! Trying to reduce it a little now, is a bloody waste of time.

Better off trying to harness the methane and burn it as fuel. Methane is 4x more green house gassy than CO2... That's a win win in my book.

Energy and less green house gas.

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Lego

I'm looking forward to seeing Lester's Lego version of this.

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Alert

Smell?

So it reduces the quantity but does it also improve the whiff factor? I am thinking more towards the results if this was adapted to deal with the human elements that are contributing to the problem. Fish can be smelly critters at the best of times without adding it to the mix along with usual beer guzzling curry fragranced smelly bum that can be captured in the wild most weekends.

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Ahhh....

Editorial comment true to El Reg's policy. Never let a good story get in the way of a cheap joke.

More of this please!

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Stupid Americans

Stupid Americans feed their cows on corn which is very difficult to break down and produces massive amounts of guff. In typical USAian nonsense talk the marketing scum came up with the slogan "Corn fed beef" with the implication that it was a good thing. If they fed their cows on food which cows can digest the methane output would be cut drastically. Doubtlessly the methane production could be cut further if they stopped eating so much corn based food themselves including fructose sweetened fizzy pop.

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Anonymous Coward

On ze breaking of ze vind

Hands up if you've ever done a fishy fart. Maybe it's just a speciality of the IBS sufferer who eats sushi (or any other fish related products) for dinner but I can tell you from experience that there's nothing remotely delightful about releasing or experiencing one. It's bad enough going through the countryside when it smells like a s**thouse, the thought of the countryside smelling like that is not at all appealing.

There is an issue. Cow farts, whilst the noise turns certain males of the species to schoolboy giggling hysterics, are a danger to the environment. As well as anyone stood near the dangerous end of the bovine as it blasts. But any IBS sufferer can tell you in gruesome and totally unnecessary detail how a change of diet can affect your output. That's not major news. A way of collecting these emissions so they can be used for something else would seem to be a logical way of getting rid of the issue.

I'm reminded how my grandmother used to feed my mother and uncle scrambled eggs to calm their stomachs down if ever they were ill. That would only worsen the problem...

Anyone remember an advert for Zantac 75 that went "Have the stomach of a cow"....?

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Eco Fuel

All those cows...all that methane...all that imported gas from Russia

What we need is some device to plug the cows into and, hey presto, "Cheap" natural gas.. and as long as we keep eating steak and burgers then the supply wont run out, and if it does we could always modify it to run off vegetarian's emissions

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Omega 3 source

Wasn't there something about loads of Omega 3 being sourced from clouds of ikkle fish and stuff -- you know, the food that bigger fish need. These are also the things that eat plankton before it gets out of control and blooms.

So, we stop cow farts and clog up the seas.

At least humans won't be around for long.

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Keep up the good work, Lewis...

Read the article, then checked the name of the scribe. Yup, twas that man.....

My days spent slaving away infront of an environment destroying computer are infinitely brightened by your prose.

Keep up the good work, Lewis.

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Coat

hmmm

a load of hot air

Though since the smoking ban, the smell of guiness farts in Dublin's pubs can be pretty acrid.

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IT Angle

Wrong end of the cow

Perhaps the researchers should have checked which end the methane comes from before wasting money on their 'research'. It has long been established that 95% of the methane released by cows comes out through the mouth (what with the rumen being nearest the front and all). I suppose belch jokes are less funny.

Also can someone tell me what the IT angle of the story was?

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Anonymous Coward

? cow farts ?

You mean cow burps....... The methane is released by burping.

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Happy

Problem? What problem?

Gotta love those smug vegans... ;-)

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Will this make healthy beef? Yeehaw!

If the cattle ingest suffficient Omega 3's, they should absorb enough of it to make the beef higher in Omega 3 proteins. Voila! - BEEF IS NOW HEALTH FOOD!

At least that is what the marketers will do to it. I should probably go patent this before someone else does it.

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ha ha ha ha ha

"She and her team of top Irish guff boffins....."

Bloody brilliant...

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If you give a cow fish oil

Does it become smarter?

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@ TooMuchCoffee

'Fish-flavoured beef? Not sure I fancy that.'

S'okay, it'll taste just like delicious whale - the ultimate free-range organic meat.

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Boffin

Cow evil geniuses a bad idea?

Isn't lack of fish oil the reason that all the little children can't read and write anymore?

If we start giving loads of it to cows won't they get smarter? Frankly a countryside ruled by the Evil Daisy and the herds of doom doesn't sound like a good idea.

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Paris Hilton

Wish I had a job like yours

I recall the phrase "Land of Beef and Bog" from antediluvian geography lessons. All is light.

Perhaps catalytic clip-on moustaches could offer even greater reductions?

Paris 'cos she's a gas too.

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You need Prostate Massage Treatment. PMT

"failing to light your farts is incredibly environmentally irresponsible.."

"perhaps a buttock mounted guff-blast detonator kit.."

"..or fart-propelled cars or something.."

My own suggestion is introducing fart-eating bacteria into everyone's asses, to save the planet.

Do the Americans think this bottom-burp fest is amusing? Or only those bottom-dwelling Brits.

Is this article accurate? Or is it all made up for a laugh? It's difficult to tell...

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@Seán

1)It's "grain fed beef" not "corn fed."

2)Grain fed beef produces less methane than grass-fed (google it).

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Jobs Horns

One thing is certain...

The 2009 Ig Nobel Award for Eco-Nutro-Bio-Physi-Agro-Chemi-omics is a foregone conclusion.

Let them eat Apples

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Coat

Cowpocalypse

Well

I don't thing we need to feed them fish oil to get Omega 3 as there a plenty of Green Plants with the stuff in we could grow and add to the feed stock thus keeping us in fish n chips for longer and them herbivores which seems to be a good idea since our last experiment in turning them into carnivores / cannibals didnt turn out too well despite the cost savings the farming industry made.

However i see 3 main side effects of this:

1) Cows will have increased Omega 3 in their diet and therefore bleed more when we kill em but i don't think they will mind as they wont be any less dead and they will have less heart problems just before we kill em as well ........ which will be probably not that useful for them either ..........

2) Cows will be less depressed given that increased omega 3 has been linked to reducing the symptoms of depression this will either make them more cheery about being killed or more resistant as they will obviously feel they have more to live for.

3) However the danger is that giving them this Omega 3 may increase their intelligence and lead to us living under vengeful cow overlords especially is they are more positive about future as per per point 2. This will be a problem at least until the ROTM, although i dunno what type of cylons the cows will build, might even turn out alright for us, i mean you dont see Human flavour Cylons looking to wipe out humanity and other herding animals, its probably just as unlikely as cow cylons will bother trying to do us in after they have crushed their Cow Creators / Salve Masters.

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Happy

Something...

"... burned later as fuel in fart-propelled cars or something."

Ha ha, nice work El Reg. The "or something" is an especially nice touch.

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Linux

@ Cow evil geniuses a bad idea?

I for one welcome our new super-intelligent herbivorous overlords. Remember Larry Niven's puppeteers? Indestructible spaceship hulls and stepping disks. Yay!

Penguin as they don't fart methane.

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The bacteria are there for a reason.

Cows probably don't just carry around bacteria just for the fun of making greenhouse gas problems. The bacteria are there to aid fermentation and digestion which is how ruminants manage to be reasonably efficient at extracting nutrients from their food. [A goose eats more than a sheep but produces far less meat.]

This fish oil malarkey inhibits the bacteria which likely reduces the effectiveness of their digestion which means they need to eat more which means that more rain forest needs to be chopped down to grow more soy to feed the buggers.

Sounds penny wise but pound foolish.

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manure

What relevance have cows to IT indeed. Once upon a time I worked for a software company set amongst the cow-filled fields of darkest Hertfordshire. With their mooing and moon-jumping those cows were an essential component of the software development process. It is exactly this sort of bovine ignorance that leads people to remark that the rumen is closer to the mouth and therefore cows do not avail themselves of the open air. As the chyme flies my stomach is closer to my mouth than my rectum but this has never stopped me from letting off a few beefy ones.

Incidentally, any cows reading this may like to know they can pick up a few bottles of omega-3 enhanced olive oil from Sainsbury's - nobody else is going to buy it - along with some garlic, basil and tinned tomatoes and perhaps rustle up a nice pasta dish for the herd.

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@AC (Mad fish disease)

"They've been farting methane for thousands of years!"

Fair comment. Where was global warming when the US was covered in bison? (The good old days.)

I wanted to suggest something about sea cows, but I see I'm far too late. I like Lewis's 'ecopocalypse' though.. :-)

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Pirate

Well...

@A J Stiles, "I thought cows were obligate herbivores?"

I've considered them carnivores since BSE was explained...

@Elmer Phud, "So, we stop cow farts and clog up the seas."

Double win: by allowing plankton blooms, more CO2 is absorbed and remains in the oceans...

which gradually fill up with dead algae sludge. OK, you can't have everything. But just you wait 50 million years, and you'll have new oilfields for the drilling.

icon: maritime occupation involving death.

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Flame

More hot air from scientists

More hot air from scientists. How do I know? Well I take my health inducing fish oil capsule every day and I can say with great certainty that my trouser cough situation remains rip-roaringly good!!! Now, where's the matches?

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Joke

US diet, whale oil

@Seán , hey man I hardly had any corn at all today, I had refried b*faaaart* umm, refried beans and rice. *toot*

So there's a shortage of fish for fish oil? How about some whale oil.

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