Ireland and Australia may reduce cow and camel populations to cut methane gas

Ireland officials are discussing a plan to cull or reduce the number of the nation’s cows by 200,000, and Australia is considering culling the camel population although the country has not yet set a specific number. Both proposals are designed to cut methane gas. 

Methane gas from livestock contributes to a major portion of the world’s greenhouse gasses, with methane accounting for 44% of total livestock emissions, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. 

Methane is the primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant and greenhouse gas, exposure to which causes 1 million premature deaths every year. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas. Over 20 years, it is 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide.

Under pressure from the European Union,  27 member states primarily in Europe are pushing for a reduction in methane emissions. The proposed plans would occur over three years. As proposed, the plans are causing a backlash from Irish farmers.  

In Australia, a camel produces methane equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide a year, making the animal one of the country’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, it noted.