Effects of Bovine 'Burps' on Global Warming Covered With Straight Face

It looks just like the type of story that would appear in The Onion but the funniest thing about this Reuters story about the effects of cow "burps" on global warming is that it was covered with a completely straight face. According to this story, methane released by cow "burps," not humans, might be the culprit in causing the rise in greenhouse gases. A scientific study on this phenomenom is being undertaken via cow "burp" collection:

Argentine scientists are taking a novel approach to studying global warming -- strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect their burps.

Researchers say the slow digestive system of cows makes them a producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide in efforts to fight global warming.

Scientists around the world are studying the amount of methane in cow burps and Argentine researchers say they have come up with a unique way.

Attaching a red plastic tank to a cow's back and connecting it through a tube to the animal's stomach, scientists say they can trap bovine burps and analyze them.

"When we got the first results, we were surprised. Thirty percent of Argentina's (total greenhouse) emissions could be generated by cows," said Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology.

Uh-oh! Don't those cows know they are in violation of EPA standards? Perhaps special filters need to be attached to the posteriors of all cows to prevent their "burps" from adding to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. The story continues on the dire threat of cow "burps" to the environment in all seriousness:

Berra said the researchers "never thought" a cow weighing 550 kg (1,210 lb) could produce 800 to 1,000 liters (28 to 35 cubic feet) of emissions each day.

At least 10 cows are being studied, Berra said, including some in a corral whose burps are collected in yellow balloons hanging from the roof. 

Greenhouse gases are widely blamed for causing global warming. Methane, researchers say, is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere and can be found in animal waste, landfills, coal mines and leaking natural gas pipes.

Quick! Someone notify Al Gore about the inconvenient truth that "burping" cows, not humans, are the real culprits in global warming. Fortunately, the article shows a way that our planet could be saved from cow "burp" pollution:

Scientists are working to develop new diets for cows that could make it easier for them to digest food, moving them away from grains to plants like alfalfa and clover.

The Reuters straight face on the subject of the polluting effect of cow "burps" is also maintained in their video on this topic. The only humorous hint offered by the Reuters reporter is her mention that this cow "burp" problem is a "stinky situation."

Although Reuters was careful not to be too blunt in their descriptions, the U.K. Telegraph did not shy away from being a bit less delicate in their headline for the same story: "Cow farts collected in plastic tank for global warming study."

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.