Potty-trained cows: A new approach to reduce emissions

September 14, 2021 by  
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In a recent study, scientists “potty-trained” cows in an attempt to reduce the animals’ greenhouse gas emissions. The study, published in  Current Biology , included 16 calves trained to defecate in one spot. After several weeks of training, 11 out of 16 calves successfully learned to use the spot. Researchers suggested the calves that didn’t pick up the habit may just need more training to master the process.  These efforts are an attempt to reduce agriculture-based emissions . Currently, farming is the largest source of ammonium pollution, with livestock farming contributing over 50% of the waste. While ammonia from cow urine itself does not contribute to greenhouse gases, when it leaches in the soil, it is converted into nitrous oxide. This oxide is the third most prevalent greenhouse gas after methane and carbon dioxide. Related: Organic and conventional meat production cause equal amounts of emissions Researchers say that if all cattle could be trained to defecate in designated areas, treating the urine could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over half. There haven’t been significant attempts to train cows like this before, so the recent attempt helps gauge whether cows can learn and hold on to the training for a meaningful amount of time. The calves were trained using a system known as MooLoo, which directed them to defecate in a designated area in their barn . This was achieved by rewarding those that urinated in the right place and gently punishing those that did not. Jan Langbein, an animal psychologist at the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology in Germany, said cows can be trained much like dogs and other animals . “Cattle, like many other animals, are quite clever and they can learn a lot,” said Langbein “Why shouldn’t they be able to learn how to use a toilet?” The team is now working on creating a system that automates cattle potty training. They say that the system should be able to help train calves with minimal intervention from the farmers . “We want to develop some kind of sensor technology which is all-inclusive,” said Langbein. “In a few years all cows will go to a toilet.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Potty-trained cows: A new approach to reduce emissions

BreezoMeter’s real-time data tracks air quality and wildfires

September 14, 2021 by  
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Many natural elements affect our daily activities, including snow, temperature and rain. Additionally, air quality has become a primary concern in many areas, especially considering the dramatic increase in the number and intensity of wildfires in recent years. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the United States has experienced, on average, 100 more large wildfires every year than the year before since 2015. Wildfires are also growing in size and moving with a speed and intensity previously unseen. BreezoMeter, a company focused on providing air quality data to citizens, is unveiling a database of information anyone can access so the general population can have an accurate understanding of active fires and their effect on  environmental  air quality.  Related: Wildfire smoke linked to almost 20,000 COVID-19 cases last year The new wildfire tracking technology is available via a free app and provides information about the location of fires and the resulting air quality. It also provides visuals of the total area consumed by the fire, its name, the wind’s speed and direction, the estimated time of containment, and the time of the last update. The team behind BreezoMeter hopes those who track and fight fires can use the Live Wildfire Tracking data for better resource management.  “The free service is part of the company’s commitment to protecting people’s health by equipping them with more than what the eyes can see about the air they breathe, as the effects of climate change,  pollution  and fires increasingly affect air quality around the world,” BreezoMeter said in a press release. The real-time information combines some aspects of other technology already available, such as local sensors and air quality reports. However, BreezoMeter set out to improve gaps in that information to provide real-time visibility without time delays in reporting.  Ran Korber, CEO of BreezoMeter, says, “As wildfires worsen, the public needs the same level of accuracy around fires that they’ve come to expect of rain, snow, and other traditional weather forecasts. Our new technology enables people to protect themselves by adjusting their daily lives without any fear or doubt that the information they’re getting is reliable. It additionally gives companies the tools they need to adapt their operations and offerings, and authorities the real-time information they need to act quicker and smarter.” In addition to providing up-to-date data to citizens and firefighters, BreezoMeter hopes its information can benefit companies in the healthcare, smart home , air purification, automotive, lifestyle and cosmetics industries. The technology will work with GPS data to map the healthiest driving, walking, biking and jogging routes. This information can also benefit supply chain deliveries that may otherwise be delayed by wildfire activity. Along with smart home technology, BreezoMeter can provide evacuation alerts and enhance weather apps with information about air quality. + BreezoMeter Images via BreezoMeter 

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BreezoMeter’s real-time data tracks air quality and wildfires

Why American ranchers are feeding Skittles to their cattle

January 25, 2017 by  
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The next time you bite into a burger , do not be surprised if you taste the rainbow. American farmers have been secretly feeding rejected Skittles to their cows as an alternative to grass or corn. The great Skittles cowspiracy was brought to light after thousands of Red Skittles, bereft of their signature S, were found scattered across a rural road in Wisconsin . The X File was closed relatively quickly as experts asserted that these Skittles were likely en route to a cattle troth. Although Skittles are packed with high fructose corn syrup, as so many foods are , they are nonetheless cheaper than the real thing and surprisingly more nutritious, at least according to some experts. Joseph Watson, owner of United Livestock Commodities, said that sweets like Skittles have “a higher ratio of fat [than] actually feeding them straight corn.” Skittles also may be a greener feed product than corn, simply because they would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. Instead, these candies, edible but not nearly up to the mass production standards of a multinational corporation, are converted into animal mass, meat and fat. Related: This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels These particular Red Skittles, at first perplexing, were investigated and explained by local authorities. “The Skittles were confirmed to have fallen off the back of a truck,” wrote the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office. “The truck was a flatbed pickup and the Skittles were in a large box. Due to it raining at the time, the box got wet and gave way allowing the Skittles to spill out on the roadway.” While the average consumer has no idea that they may be eating candy-fed sirloin, this practice has been ongoing for several years. The use of this diet is believed to increased in 2012, when corn prices increased dramatically. This particular absurdity of growing corn to make the candy to feed the cows to make the burgers, while entertaining, is another sign that our food system has become disconnected from natural cycles. Via the Independent Images via Tim Green  and Gareth Jones

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Why American ranchers are feeding Skittles to their cattle

Amazing video shows 3 stranded cows rescued after New Zealand’s M7.8 quake

November 17, 2016 by  
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A magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook New Zealand early Monday near Canterbury, causing landslides that left thousands of residents stranded. Some of those residents are of the bovine variety, making them particularly vulnerable and uniquely in need of assistance. They received it Monday when rescuers successfully recovered three cows left stranded on a small plateau of land created by landslides on the coast north of Kaikoura. After the quake killed two people and caused thousands of destructive aftershocks, the bovine rescue offers hope to those still looking for missing loved ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Yoik3MmKgI Local reports say rescuing the stranded cows was not an easy task. Their owner reported that the rescue was delayed due to multiple aftershocks and the difficulty in reaching the cows’ location, due to soft soil. “We dug a track with a number of people; the soil was quite soft because it had all been tipped over and bumbled around, we managed to get a track in and bring them out,” the unnamed farmer told New Zealand’s Newshub . “They desperately needed water, cows don’t like living without water so that was the first requirement, and I think one or two had lost calves in the earthquake so they were a bit distressed.” Related: How seaweed-eating super cows will save the world The 7.8 earthquake hit near the small tourist town of Kaikoura just after midnight on Monday. The town, with a population of just 3,500 residents, is now isolated from the rest of the country due to as many as 100,000 landslides . Flooding and additional aftershocks continue to plague the area as rescue and recovery efforts are underway, despite dangerous conditions. In addition to the three cows rescued in the video above, the farmer reported that 14 other cows were also rescued after the earthquake. He said some livestock had been killed during the disaster, though the numbers were small. The stranded cows belong to a herd raised for beef, so the life-saving efforts of their rescuers will not ensure them a long and happy life, but instead return them to their original fate. Via CNN Images via Pexels and USGS

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Amazing video shows 3 stranded cows rescued after New Zealand’s M7.8 quake

New floating dairy farms could produce 260 gallons of milk each day

July 8, 2016 by  
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Picture a future where your milk and yogurt come from a farm floating in your local harbor. That’s exactly what the company Beladon aims to do, and they have support from the urban agriculture group From Your Own Town (Uit Je Eigen Stad) and dairy organization Courage . Their Floating Farm would house up to 40 cows who are expected to produce over 260 gallons of milk each day. The innovative floating farm would function through a closed-loop system. Cows would live on the top floor, where a soft ” membrane ” floor would allow urine to soak through. On the floor below, purified water from the urine would help grow grass, alfalfa, and red clover that would then be used to feed the cows. The lower floor would also house a dairy, where milk would be turned into dairy products for sale. Related: Could solar-powered floating farms provide enough food for the entire world? Cow manure, collected via machine, would be utilized onsite or sent to another farm close by. Cows living on Floating Farm would be free to amble between stalls and milking stations, and while the whole idea does sound kind of strange to animal lovers like us, the cows will be able to stroll across ramps to pasture on land. Floating Farm would be constructed with concrete and galvanized steel and solar panels would provide some of the farm’s energy. The project is expected to cost about 2.5 million Euros, or about $2.7 million. From Your Own Town co-founder Johan Bosman told The Guardian, “The world will grow, and more and more people will live in delta cities. Expanding cities need unbuilt areas and green space for housing purposes, so there’s less space for traditional food production. The logical consequence is that we will look to the water to produce some of the fresh food.” The first Floating Farm could be based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There, the groups behind Floating Farm are talking with the Rotterdam municipal council and harbor organization to plan out details like how to deal with the inevitable smells. Deputy major Adriaan Visser has shown some support; he said the idea fits with Rotterdam’s “drive for innovative activity.” Via The Guardian Images via Beladon and Floating Farm

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New floating dairy farms could produce 260 gallons of milk each day

Cowspiracy: “The Film That Environmental Organizations Don’t Want You to See”

September 19, 2014 by  
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Cowspiracy Official Trailer from First Spark Media on Vimeo . Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a feature-length environmental documentary following a San Francisco filmmaker as he investigates the most destructive industry facing the planet today: large-scale animal factory farming . As he investigates, he encounters a surprising resistance to discuss the subject amongst the very organizations he expected to find leading the charge against the industry. The film then takes a two-pronged approach: exposing the environmental destruction caused by factory farming and investigating just exactly why the world’s leading environmental organizations seem too afraid to talk about it. Read the rest of Cowspiracy: “The Film That Environmental Organizations Don’t Want You to See” Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , carbon emissions , cows , Cowspiracy , Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret , documentary , environmental destruction , factory farming , Film , habitat loss , livestock , meat production , methane emissions , natural resources , vegan , vegetarian , water issues

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Cowspiracy: “The Film That Environmental Organizations Don’t Want You to See”

Species Are Disappearing 1,000 Times Faster than in Pre-Human Times

September 19, 2014 by  
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The sixth mass extinction that scientists recently predicted may be upon us faster than previously thought, according to new predictions. A new study, which appeared in the journal Conservation Biology , shows species are disappearing 1,000 times faster than they did in pre-human times – instead of 100 times faster as was previously thought. And that number is expected to increase as time goes on. Read the rest of Species Are Disappearing 1,000 Times Faster than in Pre-Human Times Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Animals , change , climate , extinct , extinction , global , humans , MASS , species , study , warming

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Species Are Disappearing 1,000 Times Faster than in Pre-Human Times

Mishak Henner’s Apocalyptic Photos Show How Factory Farming is Destroying The American Landscape

August 31, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Mishak Henner’s Apocalyptic Photos Show How Factory Farming is Destroying The American Landscape Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aerial photography , agricultural runoff , beef industry , commercial agriculture , cows , factory farming , feedlots , Mishak Henner , open source , Photography , toxic waste        

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Mishak Henner’s Apocalyptic Photos Show How Factory Farming is Destroying The American Landscape

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