In Defence of Cows

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Pete originally submitted this article to a national newspaper, but realising that he will reach a more appreciative, intelligent and responsible readership through AudlemOnline, he has allowed us to publish it here.

Professor Frances Corner OBE, head of London college of Fashion and reputedly a vegan, has, upon taking up her new post at Goldsmiths, taken the decision to ban the consumption of beef burgers and possibly milk on campus in order to defend the planet from the effects of global warming to which methane production is linked.

This is symptomatic of the general misunderstanding of the problem as recently expounded by Professor Myles Allen who explained that the production of CO2 will have a greater effect on planetary warming in the long term and that both CO2 and methane need to be tackled in tandem to achieve the greatest benefit, for only this week fracking has come under the spotlight as being the main culprit for the sudden alarming rise in atmospheric methane since 2008

The history of the domesticated cow goes back 10,500 years and this animal has been the keystone in the economic progress of mankind down the millennia. On the back of the humble cow we have enjoyed not merely a draft animal that produced milk, cheese and meat ensuring our healthy development, its manure providing fuel, building material and fertilizer essential to grow the crops enjoyed by all, which would otherwise require chemical substitutes. Its hide putting shoes on our feet, its bones utilised in the ceramics industry and its urine in certain pharmaceuticals. Little wonder then that the cow became a significant measure of wealth, not merely of its owner but also of the nation.

There are 1.4 billion cows on the planet currently producing up to 40% of methane emissions but this will shortly fall as new animal feeds and agricultural practices are introduced to reduce them. But 7 billion plus people are mainly responsible for the significant CO2 problem and it is the profligacy of the human population that is proving the real contaminant. We destroy the cow at our peril whilst we continue to pollute the planet with excessive travel, consumption and casual disposal, of which the fashion industry championed by Professor Corner, is prolific.

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