Sharp­shooter

Meth­ane is bad for the planet; cows and sheep pro­duce huge amounts of it — so do those on plant-based di­ets. More pheas­ants, fewer ve­g­ans!

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - ALASDAIR MITCHELL -

There is a great deal of heated dis­cus­sion go­ing on about hot air. Or rather, green­house gas emis­sions. Of th­ese, meth­ane is by far the most po­tent. In its lat­est re­port, the Gov­ern­ment’s ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on climate change (CCC) has said the num­ber of sheep and cat­tle in the UK should be re­duced by be­tween a fifth and half.

The re­duc­tion is needed to head off the sever­ity of climate change, ac­cord­ing to the CCC. Cat­tle and sheep pro­duce much more meth­ane than pigs, let alone poul­try. We need to re­duce the na­tional beef and sheep herds, says the re­port.

Well, per­haps. But I’ll tell you who do pro­duce an aw­ful lot of gas; ve­g­ans. Ha­bit­ual lentil-munch­ers are al­ways break­ing wind. It’s a ver­i­fi­able fact. And in that very spe­cific sense, this ad­di­tional meth­ane can­not be good for the planet. If le­gions of fart­ing cows are such a prob­lem, what about their hu­man equiv­a­lents? I think there is the stench of hypocrisy about the way some ve­g­ans de­monise cows.

And what about the way cer­tain ac­tivists go on about pheas­ants? The num­ber of pheas­ants re­leased an­nu­ally is thought to be in the or­der of 35mil­lion. Yet, as the CCC says, poul­try are rel­a­tively be­nign in terms of pro­duc­ing green­house gases. But there are up to 66mil­lion peo­ple in the UK. And hu­mans pro­duce two litres of gas a day, of which about seven per cent is meth­ane. Veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans pro­duce the most, of course. Per­haps we should have more pheas­ants and fewer ve­g­ans?

Let’s take the heat off con­cerns about the biomass of re­leased game birds and start wor­ry­ing in­stead about the ex­po­nen­tial growth in the na­tional herd of flat­u­lent ve­g­ans. The Gov­ern­ment should im­pose a meth­ane tax on cer­tain items, such as baked beans — or the Guardian.

There are other in­ter­est­ing con­sid­er­a­tions. Take bi­son. Es­ti­mates vary, but there may have been as many as 30mil­lion to 60mil­lion bi­son trundling over the prairies of North Amer­ica be­fore the US was founded. Num­bers dropped to 1,000 by 1900, but have since re­cov­ered to a few hun­dred thou­sand to­day. Bi­son are bovines — es­sen­tially gi­ant wild cows. Like their do­mes­tic cousins, they pro­duce colos­sal amounts of meth­ane. So how much meth­ane, in to­tal, were all those zil­lions of bi­son pro­duc­ing back in the day? Was it re­ally so much less than that com­ing from do­mes­tic cat­tle?

Car­bon cap­ture

An­other part of the CCC re­port rec­om­mends plant­ing more trees. It pro­poses that farm pay­ments should be redi­rected in or­der to raise the pro­por­tion of UK land un­der forestry from 13 per cent to 19 per cent.

The re­port says this in­creased tree cover will help with car­bon cap­ture.

This could be good news for the shoot­ing com­mu­nity. Who is go­ing to do the deer con­trol that will be needed to pro­tect all this new plant­ing? It could be a huge op­por­tu­nity for the ex­pan­sion of stalk­ing. That in turn could fuel new mar­kets for veni­son, a healthy form of red meat, high in iron and with less fat than fac­tory-farmed chicken. Per­haps the en­vi­ron­men­tal lobby will is­sue bumper stick­ers say­ing “eat a deer, save a tree — and the planet”.

It gets bet­ter. All those new wood­lands will be per­fect for pheas­ants. I think I’m get­ting the hang of this green group-think.

“The Gov­ern­ment should im­pose a meth­ane tax on baked beans — or the

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.