Thursday, 26 November 2009

Holy Cow!

There is an interesting illustration (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/uk_politics/8379759.stm) of how not quite thinking things through can (almost) result in some very strange policy decisions. Apparently, the UK Government was initially enthusiastic about a plan to reduce the UK's contribution to global warming and improve the health of the population by proposing a cull of 30% of the country's cattle. Cows, even on 'special' grass, produce methane (from both ends) which is a very potent 'greenhouse gas'. In addition, their meat and dairy products, when eaten in excess, are risk factors in heart disease. A win-win situation? Not quite. It was eventually pointed out by DEFRA that this would be likely to result in a surge in the import of beef and dairy products from abroad (with associated increases in the 'carbon footprint'). This extra production might well be associated with further destruction of rain forest (in places like Brazil) to generate more land for cattle. Ho hum! Back to the drawing board. The cows breathe a sigh of relief.

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