Written by on January 18, 2023

A twitter post claiming that livestock don’t cause climate change is false.

“I have often said this when people talk about cows and sheep causing climate change. No, they give back to the environment. It’s the en masse grain production that destroys everything. Including harming the livestock and slowly killing humans. It’s all absurd,” states the claim.

According to Our World in Data, animal agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and these include nitrous oxide and methane, water pollution as well as destruction of forests and other wild areas which are useful in regulating the atmosphere.

Research published by Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), raising animals for food contributes to at least 16.5% of greenhouse gas pollution.

When measured on a scale of 100-year global warming potential, nitrous oxide is 300 times more potent compared to Carbon Dioxide.

Several farming practices add to nitrous oxide pollution and these include soil management practices such as the application of synthetic and organic fertilizers to grow food for both people and animals, handling manure from raising animals for food and burning crop residues. In the U.S, these practices account to 74% of total nitrous oxide emissions, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency figures.

Source: EPA

Methane on the other side has a 25% more impact compared to carbon dioxide. It accounts for almost 11% of U.S anthropogenic gas emissions, with the agriculture sector being the largest producer according to EPA.

Source: EPA

Another source of emissions is methane from livestock manure, especially significant from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, of hogs and dairy cattle that store manure as a liquid.

We looked into this claim stating that livestock don’t cause climate change and found it to be false.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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