Skip navigation
Assessing environmental impact of livestock industry

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Air quality specialist Frank Mitloehner of the University of California, Davis, has been selected by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization to chair an international committee to measure and accurately assess the environmental impact of the livestock industry.

Mitloehner:   We know that one of the main sources for greenhouse gases from animal agriculture is the rumen of the animal, where the feed is being microbially fermented.

Narrator:       The rumen is the largest compartment of the cow stomach, where feed is stored and ferments, causing methane gas to be expelled when cows belch. Mitloehner's previous research found that the livestock industry produces about 3.4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, which is far less than the transportation sector, which accounts for about 26 percent of emissions.

Mitloehner:   One of the attempts of this project is find out what is the impact of eating meat or consuming livestock products on climate, on air, on water.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.