Since nobody is going to re-engineer the ruminant digestive tract anytime soon, the solutions are limited: stop eating meat or at least eat other kinds. (A 2010 study from the Science and Environment section of the Library of the U.K.’s House of Commons reported that a pair of Australian biologists have recommended eating marsupials instead of livestock, since kangaroos and their kin produce almost no methane when they digest.) But there’s one more answer too: reformulate the diet of the animals themselves. If you change what goes in, you should be able to change what comes out.
That’s the conclusion reached by a just-released DEFRA study, which not only argues that traditional animal feeds must be replaced, but suggests what the new mealtime fare should be. The big three additions to the livestock lunch-line, according to the DEFRA scientists, should be maize silage, naked oats and grasses higher in sugars.