Experts have said that there are 1.6 billion cattle in the world and their burps and farts pose a serious threat to the environment. A study has found that cows expel methane through farts and burps, a colorless and odorless gas, which is 84 times more toxic than carbon dioxide in terms of warming the planet. A study, which has been done by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has shown that joint greenhouse gas emissions of 13 largest dairy farms in the US are equal to those of top fossil fuel giants. Looking at the statistics, scientists have said that methane ousted from cattle contributes to the major amount of global warming. However, a UK based firm called Zelp has come up with a potential solution to this issue in the form of a burp-catching mask for cows, which has been made to inhibit the methane discharge from cattle by 60 percent. This firm has been founded by brothers Francisco and Patricio Norris. The family of founders has a livestock farming business in Argentina. The founders have said that they have found that methane emissions contribute to global warming majorly. They have said that methane reduction tools in agriculture are under research and are not as effective as they should be. Experts have said that there is a lack of innovation in the field of agriculture.
Experts have said that usually resolutions to the livestock industry’s methane emissions are available in the form of feed additives. These feed additives change animals’ digestive process and reduce methane production in the cattle’s stomach. Makers of the burp-catching mask have said that rather than changing the microbiology of the animals, Zelp allows cattle to digest their normal food without any obstruction. This unusual mask fits comfortably on the cows’ heads with a zip-tie-like method, which allows it to be adjusted according to different head sizes of the animals, which depends on the breed of the animal. It can be used on the animals after they are accustomed to different types of feed, typically at the age of 6 to 8 months, said the makers. This mask sits next to the nostrils, which allows the mask to absorb the methane from their breathing belches and burps. Experts have said that around 95 percent of methane emission from the cattle comes from their mouths and nostrils. The new technology identifies, absorbs, and oxidizes toxic methane gas when it is exhaled by the animals. There is a sensor attached to the mask, which detects methane gas exhaled by the animals. The sensor as well determines the percentage of methane emitted by the animals.
Scientists have said that when the level of methane is excessively high, the mask directs the gas towards an oxidation system attached inside. This oxidation system converts methane gas into carbon dioxide and water and releases it from the device. The makers of this new mask have said that it will reduce methane gas contribution to global warming by little less than 1.5 percent of its earlier value. They have done many behavioral trials in association with some institutions in the UK and Argentina. These trials have shown that these masks have no negative effect on the animals’ behavior and feeding. Experts have measured feeding activity, cattle location, and sexual receptivity in female cattle while designing the burp-catching mask. These details will help experts to track and monitor animals and early signs of any disease. It will also help experts to reduce costs on farms. The data collected by the new technology will help experts to determine how efficient animals are in polluting the environment. Eventually, it will allow experts to collect the data of animals’ activity across farms, which will help them understand the gas emission and cattle health at a local and national level. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has said that the consumption of beef and dairy products is going to shoot up in the next 30 years, which might create a global imbalance.