Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Problem with Cows

When you think cows there are probably lots of different things you think. For example…. Cows are so cute. Green meadows. Milk. Yummm, hamburgers. But when you think cows do you think pollution??? 

Probably not because cows quite frankly are not that, well, not that scary. And we actually depend a lot on cows. We get meat from them, they give us leather, and most importantly milk!!! But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for the environment. And this type of pollution has a name. It’s called Agricultural Pollution. And cows (but more importantly cow’s poop) play a major role in it. You see cows do this thing called excreting their waste products and when it rains the waste flows with it and drains into lakes, ponds and other bodies of water. 

From Wikipedia

Basically that’s a fancy way of saying when cows use the restroom, the waste flows and goes into a body of water. All that extra nutrients pollutes the water and causes algae blooms that are very toxic and harmful. And it happens a lot, overall the farming business across the world generates over 100 times more manure (cow poop) than human waste. So think about that there are 7 billion people on this planet and sewage and waste water is bad enough, so think about that times 100. That’s how much cows produce. And with more demand for milk, meat and leather it’s only going to get worse. 

Plus with global warming, there will be more and heavier rainfall. And when the cow’s waste pollutes lakes and ponds people won’t have a safe place to fish. About 1 in 7 people rely on the ocean and water to get food, that’s around 1 billion people who could be affected by this.

Not to mention that the waste when it breaks down releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and heats up the planet. An average dairy farm with about 2,500 cows give or take, produces just as much waste as a city with 411,000 people. So next time you're swooning over cows think about this.

Watch this video: The Dangers of Livestock Waste

Womach, Jasper. "Agricultural Pollution." Agricultural Pollution. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 22 May 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_pollution#Animal_management>.
by Ava


  1. This is a great view of how cows cause pollution. Usually we only talk about how cows may contribute to global warming through release of methane gas, but we rarely talk about how cows--or other livestock animals--may cause pollution in other ways. Great insight!

  2. Wow! I did not know there was such a thing as agricultural pollution! Your information was thoughtful and very well written! Do you think the same would be true for other animals such as horses and pigs?

  3. I am very impressed with your writing skills. I thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions and comparisons. And, you're right when I saw the title of your Blog I was intrigued - what do you mean there is a problem with cows? This made me click to read. Well done with your hook and delivery. I also have a better picture the amount of waste a cow produces - holy cow! Have you also considered researching what farmers are doing to reduce or reuse this waste?

  4. Great job on your report! I felt like you did a nice job of highlighting some important environmental drawbacks to relying so heavily on cattle for meat and milk. A lot of my farming friends work with dairy and beef cattle.
    Something that I found quite eye opening was completing a calculation of my ecological footprint-- I included a link below if you wanted to calculate yours! My footprint made me realize that I definitely need to carpool a bit more often!

  5. As a fellow science and environmental enthusiast, I was drawn to your very insightful blog! You are exactly right! Cow poop IS contributing to the global climate change, and is definitely harming water sources. Something else to think about, in case this is something you're into, the gas that cows release when they- um- fart is methane. Methane actually traps heat better than CO2. Basically, a jar full of cow farts will contribute more to climate change than a jar full of CO2. Anyways, great reading your blog, keep up the good work!