Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Burping Sheep

Australian scientists are aiming to breed sheep that burp less to help tackle climate change.

The scientists have been trying to identify a genetic link that causes some sheep to belch less than others. They say burping is a far greater cause of emissions in sheep than flatulence, reports the BBC.

John Goopy, from the New South Wales Department of Industry and Investment, said: "Ninety per cent of the methane that sheep and cattle and goats produce comes from the rumen, and that's burped out.

"Not much goes behind - that's horses."

Scientists in New South Wales have been conducting experiments in specially designed pens where they measure how much gas sheep emit by burping.

They have found, from tests on 200 sheep so far, that the more they eat, the more they belch.

But even taking that into account, there appear to be "significant differences" between individual animals, Mr Goopy said.

The scientists' goal in the long term is to breed sheep that produce less methane, which produces many times more global warming than carbon dioxide.

"We're looking for natural variations so we'll steer the population that way, " said Roger Hegarty, from the Sheep Cooperative Research Council.


1 comment:

Janet said...

Ha ha. April Fools. You are kidding with this, right? People really aren't spending money studying this, are they? I realize there are a lot of sheep down under but this is ridiculous!