Cows' sweet-smelling burps good for everyone

Sarah Gilbert

Much has been made of the belches of dairy cows. Reports from various environmental organizations and vegetarian activists suggest that raising cows for meat and milk is the leading cause of climate change (even worse than the trucks that move meat, veggies and dairy around the continent), due to the methane in their stomachs. Progressive foodies who believe in "sustainable" eating have long pointed out that, were cows to simply eat grass, and not corn or soy -- the diet of the vast majority of cows raised for American consumption today -- they wouldn't produce the ruinous methane.

A new experiment by Stonyfield Farms could change the dairy industry for the greener, without having to move all the cows to huge pasture (surely the preferred solution, but change of this scale would be slow). Not only does changing the cows' feed to alfalfa and flaxseed reduce the methane content, making the cows healthier and more fun to be around, but it also improves the health of the milk they produce.