Answer by John Mackay and Diane Eager
The “harmful” gases being referred to are methane and carbon dioxide.
Neither of these are dangerous to the environment – they are part of it. We also need to note that cows are a minor source of these gases in the overall ecosystems of the world. Both gases are produced by other living organisms and by non-biological processes such as volcanoes.
Let’s deal first with what the student who asked this question has been told is a God problem from the Creator.
Methane is produced by all ruminants, including cows, sheep, goats, buffalo, as a result of bacterial activity in their stomachs. It is also produced anywhere in the environment where there are a lot of microbes breaking down organic matter, such as in wetlands and termite mounds.
What normally happens to it? When it is first released into the atmosphere some is broken down by chemical reactions with hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the air to produce carbon dioxide and water. The OH radicals are mostly formed when UV light from the sun splits ozone molecules, O3, into O2 and a free atom of oxygen, which reacts with water vapour to form two OH molecules.
Methane is also broken down by soil bacteria called methanotrophs – so named because they actually use methane as a food source. Such bacteria are also found in the gut of creatures that also exude Methane and they help stop its build up in the air. All of which indicates that the original created world which had its termites to remove dead wood and minimize methane build up, as well as the backup plan of OH radicals acting as air cleaners for a balanced number of ruminants that chewed their cud as they happily produced methane which was not an environmental threat at all.
This brings us to the real issue here, where school children are being taught that it is God who is to blame for inventing cows that destroy the environment. So, let’s begin to think about the fact that it’s us who run the intensive farming schemes and raise hundreds of cattle on sometimes only 1 hectare (2.2 acres) of land. Yet we know there are on average sufficient soil bacteria in a minimum of 1-3 hectares which can actually convert the methane of only 1 cow into more friendly environmental products. Why blame God when it’s us who is overstocking? Are there any solutions to this apparent dilemma?
The answer is yes! Just before Buffalo Bill gained his reputation by eliminating vast herds of Indian food on four legs called Buffalo, there were some 60 million Buffalo breathing out carbon dioxide and methane in North America. At present there are 9 million dairy cows in the USA, as well as 90 million beef cattle, and only 1/2 million Buffalo. So, can we blame God for the invention of “methano-cows” that are being blamed as a source of global warming? A reminder – it’s us who invented intensive beef breeding (mostly barn bred), and we have dramatically increased their numbers by 30% above the pre-1900’s world of “un-barned” field raised and wild cattle’, which had little serious consequence on the environment. We need to think again and blame ourselves for starters, but can we solve this alleged methane problem?
Any one serious about this should note that termites can also produce vast quantities of methane, but they actually have methane digesting bacteria in their gut to consume much of it. Anybody want to use this to solve the problem? After all we have heaps of biotic pills to put the helpful bacteria back in for your digestive system that our modern ‘city-barned’ life style has eliminated. One very probable cause of this dilemma is that our intensive in-barn, in house inbreeding programs, aimed largely at turning cattle into meat and milk machines raised in an environment shut off from the natural world, may well be the serious cause of loss of methane gut controls. So why not adapt termite gut bugs to a pro-biotic food for cows?
A good PhD research project here if anyone interested, but whatever you do, stop blaming the Creator God for any problems in the environment for which we have been the major cause.
Finally, what about the carbon dioxide from living creatures? This is also a naturally occurring gas that plants and algae use to make food for the rest of the living things on the planet. Therefore, it is an essential component of the atmosphere. Recent studies have shown that plants grow better when there is more carbon dioxide available. And studies in the Kalahari Desert show when CO2 is increased, plant growth will increase even in desert areas when the rainfall does not increase.
Carbon dioxide in the air does cause some discomfort to people at concentrations higher than one percent, and it is toxic at around five percent, but at the current concentration of around 0.04 percent it is no problem. So, all told, even if the concentration doubled, as climate alarmists claim it will, Creation Research predicts it will be a boost to life on earth due to improved plant growth, and not a death sentence. See our report “High CO2 Plants Bigger And Better” here.
Overall, both Methane and Carbon Dioxide are part of the natural carbon cycle that has been occurring ever since God created functioning ecosystems in the beginning, and cows are only a minor part of it.
The only reason school children are being brainwashed with this is the green politics of global warming. However, the fossil record and historical records show that carbon dioxide levels have been higher in the past, and the climate has gone through cycles of heat and cold, but we are still here.
Creation Research has written extensively on the issue of climate change and claims made about its causes. We suggest you go to the Fact File and search for climate, carbon dioxide and global warming.
Were you helped by this answer? If so, consider making a donation so we can keep adding more answers.
For USA tax deductible donations click here.
For UK tax deductible donations click here.
For Australia and rest of world click here.