Edited photo from Unsplash

French dairy giant developing cow masks to fight climate change

French food giant Danone has announced a new goal of cutting methane emissions by 30% by the year 2030, all in an effort to fight climate change.

Methane, which is considered a greenhouse gas, is commonly given off by livestock such as cows when they burp or break wind. This gas is then claimed to enter the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

As a result, the company announced on Tuesday its goal of cutting methane emissions by employing a number of methods, such as using breeds of cow which burp and fart less. The producer has also said it will look to improve the cows’ diets, and feed them substances that lead to less flatulence.

However, as reported by AFP this week, the firm is also looking at more unconventional methods of reducing emissions, as they have proposed some sort of face mask for cows that could trap burps and prevent them from entering the atmosphere.

“We will see how we can improve practices in general on farms,” company spokeswoman Jeanette Coombs-Lanot told the outlet.

Last year, such a cow face mask was designed by students at the Royal College of Art in the UK, with inventor Francisco Norris saying it would “play a part in the decarbonisation of the agricultural sector.”

This is not the first proposal which would see the amount of cow gases reduced.

In 2021, an experiment was run in which researchers managed to toilet-train baby cows to curb carbon emissions. This was achieved by playing harsh and uncomfortable sounds through earphones when the calves relieved themselves outside, encouraging them to go inside in a latrine instead. Where this didn’t work, the animals were splashed with water as another deterrent.

Newest plan to stop climate change: toilet-training cows

The study was conducted by Germany’s Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology and the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

“We thought this would punish the animals – not too aversively – but they didn’t care. Ultimately, a splash of water worked well as a gentle deterrent,” said researcher Dr. Jan Langbein at the time, adding that he hopes “in a few years all cows will go to a toilet.”




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