This should be the point at which California's environmentalists and animal rights activists begin warring in the streets.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is on a new mission to reduce methane emissions by 40% by 2030. Their primary target in reducing the greenhouse gas? The flatulence and manure produced by the state's 5.5 million beef and dairy cows.
In fact, ARB is pushing the boundaries as far as calling for new manure-handling methods and -- wait for it -- "gut microbial interventions" [whatever that means] of the cows as a means of reducing their methane-output. State legislators are actually considering these measures.
Needless to say, dairy farmers and cattle ranchers are blasting the proposed measures, calling them "insane" and accurately stating that if cows don't release flatulence, they will explode. The Guardian reports:
California has moved to limit methane after the state’s glowing reputation for climate action received a nasty blow by a natural gas leak this year in the mountains above Los Angeles that took 112 days to plug and spewed 97,100 metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere.
But the state’s dairy industry has criticized the crackdown on methane leaking from cattle, launching a social media and email campaign that claims the ARB is overstepping its remit and raises the specter of exploding cows.
“The focus here is to highlight ARB’s efforts at over-regulating the dairy industry,” said Anja Raudabaugh, chief executive of Western United Dairymen. “By nature’s design, (cows) pass lots of gas. Quite frankly, we want them to expel gas so they don’t explode.”
The Milk Producers Council has also lambasted the prospect of new regulation, with the lobby group’s general manager Rob Vandenheuvel stating that the methane rules plan “threatens the future of the California dairy industry”.
“This is about fighting against the ridiculously stupid ‘go-it-alone’ strategy for implementing business-killing regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gases,” Vandenheuvel said.
"When a single state like California does it on its own, I call that absolutely insane," Vandenheuvel added.
If the state's bizarre environmental push is successful, we guess it will negate the claim made by the California Dairy Association in its long-running commercials: "California cows are happy cows."