I just couldn't miss showing this to you. I know, I know, it's not a bellyache about Bill Richardson nor Dubya, but I laughed all the way through it. Keep in mind that kangaroos are marsupials. And that Aussies have a reputation as being the world's best con men. Anything for a joke used to be the rule there. It was published in the Brisbane Courier Mail.
AUSTRALIAN scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
Thanks to special bacteria in their stomachs, kangaroos' flatulence contains no methane and scientists want to transfer that bacteria to cattle and sheep who emit large quantities of the harmful gas. While the usual image of greenhouse gas pollution is a billowing smokestack pushing out carbon dioxide, livestock passing wind contribute a surprisingly high percentage of total emissions in some countries. Queensland Government senior research scientist Athol Klieve says 14 per cent of emissions from all sources in Australia are from enteric methane from cattle and sheep. "If you look at another country such as New Zealand, which has got a much higher agricultural base, they're actually up around 50 per cent," he said. Researchers say the bacteria also makes the digestive process much more efficient and could potentially save millions of dollars in feed costs for farmers. "Not only would they not produce the methane, they would actually get something like 10 to 15 per cent more energy out of the feed they are eating," Dr Klieve said.
Even farmers who laugh at the idea of environmentally friendly kangaroo farts say that it is nothing to joke about, particularly given the devastating drought Australia is suffering. "In a tight year like a drought situation, 15 per cent (more energy) would be a considerable sum," said farmer Michael Mitton. But it will take researchers at least three years to isolate the bacteria before they can even start to develop a way of transferring it to cattle and sheep. Another group of scientists has suggested Australians farm fewer cattle and sheep and just eat more kangaroos. The idea is controversial but about 20 per cent of health-conscious Australians are believed to eat the national symbol already. Peter Ampt, from the University of New South Wales's Institute of Environmental Studies, says the meat has health benefits. "It's low in fat. It's got high protein levels. It's very clean," he said. "It doesn't get drenched. It doesn't get vaccinated. It utilises food right across the landscape. It moves around to where the food is good. It's a good food."
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