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Meantime in New Zealand, the population of beef cattle now nearly numbers that of people (4.1 million compared to 4.3 million) while dairy cows, at 5.8 million, outnumber the humans by a long shot.
Here in Canada, we have about 1.4 million dairy cows, and some 5.3 million beef cattle. If we use the average accepted number of 110 kg of methane produced per cow per year, that equals one hell of a lot of methane, especially given greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture increased just over 23 per cent between 1990 and 2007 (the last period the federal government has statistics for), accounting for about 7 per cent of the total increase in Canada's GHG emissions during that time.
As for the Long Shadow's contention that cars and trucks and planes are bad in terms of greenhouse gases, the fact is they are and remain so. Only our behaviour and policies are going to change that, if and when we get around to it.
Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning freelance writer who more and more eats less and less meat, and sure stays away from the industrial stuff.