The livestock industry is one of the major sources of man-made greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change. While becoming a vegan is a tough choice some are making to save the environment, people may not have to let go of their meat and dairy intake. Experts have noted that some cattle breeds are eco-friendlier than others. Farmers across the United Kingdom might soon be switching to these eco-friendly breeds.

Mike Coffey, professor of Livestock Informatics at Scotland's Rural College, conducted a study on the methane emissions of different cattle breeds. He noted that certain cattle are 30% more methane efficient than other breeds of cattle. If the methane efficient cattle are bred, then we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a third.

Apart from the reduced methane emission, farmers have another incentive to breed the eco-friendly cattle. The cattle breeds being recommended grow faster, require less feed and produce a significant amount of milk. Earlier, diary farmers avoided cattle which required less feed since they produced less milk. However, selective breeding of certain breeds can ensure that even with a low feed intake, the cattle can produce a substantial quantity of milk.

Jay Wilde vegetarian farmer
selective breeding can reduce carbon footprint of the livestock industry Twitter/VegWorldMagazine

Bulls from breeds that have been identified as more efficient will be bred to produce a new generation of eco-friendly cattle. Once the farmers start the selective breeding process, experts will proceed to the next phase of making the livestock industry eco-friendlier.

Coffey pointed out that researchers will start to measure the methane emission from the cattle which are produced from selective breeding. Researchers will be able to determine the methane emission and the environmental impact of the cattle. The information would then be printed onto the animal products being sold.

By having information about the environmental impact of each livestock product, consumers can make eco-friendly choices.

The Bolton News pointed out that turning to veganism and vegetarianism to help the environment might be misguided.

Geoff Simm and Andrea Wilson, professors at the University of Edinburgh, claim that veganism is not a solution to environmental problems. Simm pointed out that veganism does not minimise the usage of land. Wilson concluded that the real environmental impact of veganism is yet to be determined. While a lot of research has been dedicated to determining the environmental impact of the livestock industry, little is known about the impact of the vegan food sector.