By Mike Barnett

I guess cow burps are big news. I’m seeing a lot more internet, newspaper and television coverage about gassy cows causing global warming.

Paul McCartney

Before we get started, let’s get a couple of things straight. Just as men sweat and women glisten, bulls burp, cows eruct. Just thought you ought to know the polite terms.

Even ex-Beatle Paul McCartney is moooooving in on the bovine debate, calling for “meatless Mondays” and for governments worldwide “to adjust their agriculture, development, environment and public health policies to reflect the role of livestock production in climate change.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Paul. We’ve heard it all before. Stick to singing, not slinging.

The music legend and his vegetarian chorus cite a 2006 report which says livestock production is responsible for more harmful emissions than the transportation industry.

The report, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” claims: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.”

The trouble is, the report and the ramblings of McCartney and his vegetarian cohorts are bull, says University of California Associate Professor and Air Quality Specialist Frank Mitloehner. Those two sentences were printed only in the executive summary and nowhere in the body of the report.

Those damning sentences have led to a whole lot of public confusion over milk and meat’s role in climate change. In reality, raising cows and pigs for food accounts for about 3 percent of all greenhouse emissions. Transportation, Mitloehner maintains, accounts for 26 percent.

The solution to climate change is not McCartney-advocated “Meatless Mondays,” the air quality expert says. It’s a matter of cutting the use of oil and coal for electricity, heating and fueling vehicles. That seems pretty straightforward to me.

He suggests the developed world not focus its efforts on reducing meat and milk consumption. Instead, efforts should be spent on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries, where hungry people need nutritious food.

Enough of confusing the issue, Paul McCartney. Give cows a break. Let it be. You’d be gassy too if you had four stomachs.

Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

3 Responses to “Cow burps and climate change; Let It Be, Paul McCartney”

  1. I doubt that Paul really belives cows are tooting are way to climate change. However, I think many american’s see the farm and ranch industries that are run by large business as short sided. The use of hormones, genetic modification and over effecient means of producing food have caused people to have negative veiw of some agri-business.

  2. This is not the first occasion for an apparently well meaning celeb to promote something they have not sufficiently researched much less understand. It concerns me the influence well meaning celebs can exert on their fan base that creates a “don’t contuse me with fact, my mind is made up” situation that is difficult if not impossible to address. A casual remark by celebs is too many times taken as gospel by fans and even by the press.

    I respect those celebs that establish positions when they are informed even though I might not agree with their position. Those that establish a seemingly popular position without subject knowledge, I have little use. While talented, it reveals, in my opinion, a serious flaw in the celeb’s ability to actually take serious and be totally responsible for the remarks they make and the consequences set in motion.

    Paul please take note, (pun intended) there is a lot of difference between a whimsical lyric and an uninformed statement that influences the thoughts of devout fans and affects the livelihood of many. Know of which you speak.

  3. Paul is not the only celebrity that wants "meatless Mondays". On PETS’s website, they have several celebrities that are on their side. Paul McCartney, Eva Mendes, Perez Hilton, Pamela Anderson, and the one that all young kids know, a Twilight star, Christian Serratos. County singers Carey Underwood and Kellie Pickler are also PETA lovers. These celebritites hold the view that all animals are treated badly and they plan to end "factory farms". What is worse you ask? They are not afraid to tell the media. Once they tell the media this, they jump all over it. To me, if the celebrities say this kind of nonsence they don’t have much status in my book. They need to back up their accusations and not with wrongfull PETA videos. Why don’t they visir a real farm to see how things work? They will soon see that farms do not treat animals badly. Animals are the way that farmers make their money so why would they treat them badly? It just doesn’t make sence.

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