The fast-food chain, McDonald’s, is looking at how its cattle suppliers can cut down on the amount of methane produced from cow flatulence.

“McDonald’s believes it can use the results of its study, the first of which are due in April, to help suppliers reduce methane through changes to farming practices,” reports The Telegraph Media Group, parent company of The Daily Telegraph in England.

The goal is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Source: The Telegraph Media Group

All kidding aside, the goal is an admirable one — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. And, there’s already some science behind this. Last spring, researchers from University College Dublin in Ireland reported that fish oil can cut down on methane emissions from cows. In a study, the researchers fed three levels (0, 10 or 20 grams per kilogram of dry matter) of a novel fish oil product in the diets of beef cattle. The fish oil was novel in that it included elevated levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Methane emissions were reduced by 20 percent at the high fish-oil level. So, nutritional strategies exist. The question then becomes, Will McDonald’s require its suppliers to modify the diets of their cattle? If so, at who’s expense? These are the kinds of things that could be coming your way someday. – Tom Quaife, editor