Cow Burps And Global Warming

j0284081Sometimes, when things come full circle, they just leave me dizzy.

Yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm put out a press release today to announce that it is starting a program to “naturally decrease” the methane that cows give off when they burp. How? Essentially by feeding the cows what Mother Nature intended for them to be fed in the first place.

I have, for a long time, found much to admire about Stonyfield. Its yogurt tastes good and free of junky additives. It was the first yogurt company to cut packaging waste by going lidless, and it recycles yogurt cups into products like toothbrushes, cutting down on landfill waste. But the company says that the biggest challenge to cutting its carbon footprint was the emissions given off by cows during digestion.

Stonyfield doesn’t say in the release what its cows were eating before. But their new diet will be “high in natural omega-3 sources, such as alfalfa, flax and grasses.” I’m not an expert in animal science, and I don’t intend to play one on TV, but this sounds strikingly like a cow’s natural diet–or what used to be their natural diet before the gurus of agribusiness threw all sorts of glop at them.  Stonyfield goes on to explain that the new diet will raise the milk’s omega-3 content, lower its saturated fat and put the cow’s main stomach, the rumen, back in balance. And when their tummies are in balance, the cows won’t burp so much.

It is amazing what Mother Nature can teach you when you are ready to learn.


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