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UK Gov’t: Farts May Bring On The Apocalypse If You Don’t All Eat Healthier

The UK government is telling people to eat less meat to fight global warming, especially meat from sheep and cows which emit methane when they (literally) pass gas.

Unfortunately, lamb is the main ingredient for a lot of Greek food. That means eating fewer gyros, a beloved Greek pit wrap served all over Europe and North America. It’s also a favorite of college kids stumbling home drunk at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning — in other words, the perfect food.

But the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says that people need to eat less meat to keep the world from warming, reports the UK’s National Monitor. DECC just released a carbon footprint calculator to see how much global warming you’re causing, including from eating. It tells people to eat less meat because of its high carbon footprint relative to other food sources.

Specifically, DECC’s carbon footprint tool tells people to stop eating ruminant animals, like cows and sheep, because they release methane through their belches and flatulence. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that scientists say contributes to global warming. The UK government says eating fewer cows and sheep can lower man-made emissions and fight global warming.

“This change in the type of meat we eat could free up 290 million hectares of land, otherwise used for animal feed and pasture, to ultimately become land for forests, which acts a carbon sink and reduces the need for abatement elsewhere,” according to the DECC.

Cows and sheep are called “ruminants” because they get nutrients by fermenting food in one of their specially designed stomachs before it is digested. Bacteria inside animal “rumen” produce methane  that gets released when these animals belch or flatulate.

The United Nations urged people to reduce meat consumption back in 2006, arguing cattle-rearing is a “major source of land and water degradation” and “accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants.”

In general, environmentalists worry that increasing global prosperity has allowed more people to eat more meat than ever before, which could drive more global warming and environmental damage. Despite the increase in meat consumption, global temperatures have remained flat for the past 18 years and 3 months.

Last year, the Obama administration released a national methane strategy that included cutting emissions from the dairy sector 25 percent by 2020. Republicans slammed the president for attacking dairy farmers and warned of a potential tax on cow flatulence.

Scientists have also been looking at ways to reduce or capture methane emissions from sheep and cows. New Zealand scientists have been looking into ways to produce sheep that emit less methane. Researchers in Argentina have theorized that giant cow backpacks could be used to capture methane and turn it into green energy.

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