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Scientists are breeding farting sheep

You might not imagine that, in order to stop global warming, scientists in New Zealand are breeding sheep that fart less …

It is estimated that many people will be shocked when they see this: What is the relationship between climate change and sheep? It does matter. Methane emitted by sheep through burping and farting is one of the main greenhouse gases that causes global warming.

Sheep and cattle are ruminants. Eating grass will cause them to release a lot of methane and carbon dioxide during exhaust. Methane is the key to climate change, and the potential for warming is more than 20 times that of carbon dioxide. Large amounts of emissions will naturally exacerbate climate change. .

Improved sheep genes reduce farting
So what is New Zealand thinking about?

To put it simply, let the sheep emit less methane, take advantage of the difference in methane emission levels between sheep and sheep, and the characteristics that will be passed on to the next generation, pass the “good genes”, and finally breed sheep that emit less methane.

This research has been going on for some time. Scientists initially carried out experimental plans on 100 sheep: first, find sheep with less fart, and researchers will place the sheep in a “fart room” to observe methane emissions; second, according to sheep The condition of farting divides them into high-volume group and low-volume group, and breeds after screening.

According to the results of the study, the heredity rate of methane release from sheep farting is about 20%, and the third-generation “less fart sheep” has 10% less methane than before.

Why has New Zealand become a “hit area” for global warming?
New Zealand is the world’s largest sheep producing country. In 2016, there were 27.6 million sheep. Every sheep will snore, fart, and release methane, so the greenhouse gas emissions of sheep are not small.

According to a 2017 data, the greenhouse gas emissions from New Zealand’s livestock accounted for almost one-third of the country’s total emissions, which is also an important reason why New Zealand scientists have to work to solve this problem.

Diet can also reduce sheep farting
To reduce farting in sheep, in addition to improving sheep’s genes, another way is to change the diet. Scientists in New Zealand have also found “fart reduction packages” suitable for sheep. For example, sheep eating canola and sugar beets can reduce methane emissions by 25% compared to sheep eating grass.

However, it is not easy to persuade a large number of farmers to change the sheep from eating grass to eating vegetables, because farmers are worried that eating vegetables will affect the quality and taste of lamb.

Funny thing is that New Zealand has also taxed sheep farting. In 2003, in order to comply with the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, New Zealand introduced an “agricultural emissions research tax”, which intends to collect $ 8.4 million from farmers each year.

However, the bill was protested by farmers, calling it a “fat tax” and New Zealand had to abandon the controversial proposal.

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