Paul McCartney Calls for Meat-Free Mondays to Curb Animal Gas

By Alex Morales

June 15 (Bloomberg) -- Paul McCartney, the former Beatle and vegetarian pop star, asked fans to go meatless on Mondays to help slow global warming by reducing the amount of gaseous emissions from farm animals.

Cows, pigs and sheep bred for human consumption discharge millions of tons of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Livestock emissions account for about 18 percent of greenhouse gases, more than all the world’s cars, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says.

“If you want to fight climate change, it’s not only about electricity and coal-fired power plants: Agriculture is a huge contributor too and meat consumption is a big problem,” Jan van Aken, a biologist and agriculture campaigner for the Greenpeace environmental group, said today in a telephone interview from Hamburg. It’s “mainly burps” and animal flatulence, he said.

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Comment by Tara on June 20, 2009 at 1:37pm
THE INFLUENCE GAME: Excuse me! Lobby wins on burps

By DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer Dina Cappiello, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 17 mins ago
WASHINGTON – One contributor to global warming — bigger than coal mines, landfills and sewage treatment plants — is being left out of efforts by the Obama administration and House Democrats to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Cow burps.

Belching from the nation's 170 million cattle, sheep and pigs produces about one-quarter of the methane released in the U.S. each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That makes the hoofed critters the largest source of the heat-trapping gas.

In part because of an adept farm lobby campaign that equates government regulation with a cow tax, the gas that farm animals pass is exempt from legislation being considered by Congress to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA under President Barack Obama has said it has no plans to regulate the gas, even though the agency recently included methane among six greenhouse gases it believes are endangering human health and welfare.

The message circulating in Internet chat rooms, the halls of Congress and farm co-ops had America's farms facing financial ruin if the EPA required them to purchase air-pollution permits like power plants and factories do. The cost of those permits amounted to a cow tax, farm groups argued.

"It really has taken on a life of its own," said Rick Krause, a lobbyist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, which coined the term cow tax and spread it to farmers across the country. "This is something that people understand. All that we have to say is that (cows) are the next step with these proposed permit fees. And people are still talking about it."

Administration officials and House Democratic leaders have tried to assure farm groups that they have no intention of regulating cows. That effort, however, has done little to ease the concern of farmers and their advocates in Congress about the toll that regulating greenhouse gases will have on agriculture.

Lawmakers and farm groups are now pressing for the climate legislation to guarantee that farmers will be compensated for taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases. That could lead to farmers getting paid if their cows pass less gas.

Research has shown that changing cattle diet and boosting efficiency — such as producing the same amount of milk and beef from a smaller herd — can result in less gas, according Frank M. Mitloehner, an associate professor at the University of California at Davis, who has studied livestock gas for 15 years.

"I don't think livestock should be ignored. Every industry has to play their role," Mitloehner said. But laws designed to reduce emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes won't work with cattle, which can't be fitted with pollution control devices, Mitloehner said.

"The belching is very hard to collect," he said. "You cannot capture these gases."

The climate bill specifically excludes enteric fermentation — the fancy term for the gas created by digestion and expelled largely by burping — from the limit it would place on greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation directs the EPA not to include it among the various sources that could be subject to new performance standards.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has called rumors of the cow tax "ridiculous notions" and a "distraction."

On Thursday, Rep. Todd Tihart, R-Kan., successfully added an amendment to the spending bill that covers the EPA to block the agency from including biological processes of livestock — including the release of methane — as part of regulating greenhouse gases.

House aides and EPA officials say that controlling such emissions is unworkable. Cow burps make up about 2 percent of all the climate-altering pollution in the U.S.

But allies of farmers in Congress say the reluctance to step in the cow tax debate has a lot to do with the outcry from the agriculture industry and moderate Democrats from rural states whose votes are needed to pass the bill.

"I think they realized that if you are a Democrat in an agricultural state, a red state, that this is radioactive and I think that is why they have tried scrupulously to reaffirm that they don't have any intention of doing this," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. He is sponsoring a bill that would bar the EPA from requiring farmers to get permits for cattle burps.

Thune, whose state is home to a half-million cattle, first heard about the cow tax at a South Dakota Cattlemen Association's conference in early December. Within weeks he introduced his bill and recruited support from New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, whose state boasts three times more cows.

The origins of the cow tax can be traced to last July, when President George W. Bush's EPA released documents outlining how the Clean Air Act could regulate greenhouse gases.

Even though the Bush administration had no intention of using the law, farm groups seized on a single paragraph deep in the comments from various federal agencies. The Agriculture Department warned that if EPA decided to regulate agricultural sources of greenhouse gases, numerous farms would face costly and time-consuming process to acquire permits for barnyard burping.

The Farm Bureau quickly did the math and figured farms would have to pay about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog to purchase permits for emissions.

The cow tax was born.
Comment by Sweettina2 on June 19, 2009 at 3:37pm
I agree Bruce.
Comment by Bruce Hemming on June 19, 2009 at 3:31pm
This is so crazy only the most brain-dead gullible loser would fall for this lie. I guess the 40 million buffalo never farted to hurt the earth nope only cows can do that. I think the Moron Paul did way to much acid in the 60's is brain is fried.
Comment by Sweettina2 on June 19, 2009 at 4:40am

I am SO freakin sick of people who had a hit song or movie speak as if they know what in the hell they are talking about!!!!
These damn communist keep trying to shove crap down our throats and I am SICK of it!
Comment by luggnutz on June 15, 2009 at 8:02pm
Only meat reptilians eat is human. Always PLENTY of them at the shows, RRRRRRRighhhht!
Comment by TheLasersShadow on June 15, 2009 at 5:49pm
HAHAHA wow WTF!? Bomb sniffing dogs ... er i mean MEAT sniffing dogs? these people with millions get F'in weird like 99% of the time.
Comment by truth on June 15, 2009 at 5:36pm
I worked as a stage hand for the last McCartney shows in Ohio. Sir Paul ordered meat sniffing dogs to repeatedly search the arena for meat. All meat was banned from the show as it was stated in the contract to perform the show. His manager told me he worried that it was "bad energy".

All bags were searched for the evil meat. I was a vegetarian for a decade and still find this outrageous.
Comment by TheLasersShadow on June 15, 2009 at 4:47pm
Yea eco freaks have now become full fledged members of an elite group know as whacked out cult tards on a mission to kill humanity. I can only Imagine buying a ticket from the government so that I could use my own toilet .... in the future if we lose they would put a special toilet in your home that only flushed if you had enough 'turd credits' left on your 'I gotta shit card'. Prolly have a camera hooked up to it as well to make sure you don't "hack" it.

If there a way off this rock? anyone got a spaceship :)
Comment by Tara on June 15, 2009 at 4:36pm
LMAO....that's too funny LS! Did you notice in the article Sheryl, use one shit ticket Crow is part of saving the planet from flatulence fitting!
Comment by TheLasersShadow on June 15, 2009 at 4:24pm
I've got 6lbs of beef steak marinading right now lol screw that loser, what a brainwashed idiot hhah like cows change the climate. Shit if cows changed the climate the dinosaurs must have farted themselves extinct LMAO !!! I think i solved the dino extinction question~!!~

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