It has been found that drugs in particular antibiotics administered to cattle lead to a doubling of flatulence. These cow emissions contain greenhouse gases.
While antibiotics do have their benefits, they tend to cause resistance among bacteria which become immune to their fighting capabilities with the passage of time. This is so in case of both human beings and animals.
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Yet another side effect of these powerful infection killers is environmental degradation. Use of antibiotics among cattle has led to the production of cowpats that release twice as much methane gas into the atmosphere.
The current emissions of cow flatulence is estimated to be equivalent to 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. In the USA alone the emissions from cows equal one-fourths of the net emissions from other forms of pollution.
80% of the agricultural methane and 35% of the man-made methane is what the ratio is composed of currently. The antibiotics seem to have a deleterious effect on the microbes in the guts of the cattle. This leads to a lot of wind and cow pats being released by the cattle. All this is harmful for the environment even though it is natural.
Thus we see that natural sources of pollution exist in this world too. Yet here too, the human-administered antibiotics are to blame so once again we cannot exactly point a finger at Mother Nature alone.
A group of ten cows were experimented on to determine this thesis. The antibiotics seem to activate certain bacteria that feed on methane in the cows’ guts. This causes greater release of methane gas and cow dung.
Some of the antibiotics were ineffective against archaea in the cows’ guts. Since the antibiotics suppress bacteria in the guts and the cow pats, methane is released into the atmosphere in huge quantities.
This methane causes global warming to increase by a significant amount. In fact, the heat generated by methane is 21 times higher than that generated by carbon dioxide.
The greenhouse effect is the result and here everything gets botched for humanity and the rest of the planet’s life forms. What was not tested was the belching of the cows.
This too may be a source of methane gas and carbon dioxide that is released into the surrounding environment. More monitoring of cattle is needed and different drugs must be created to cater for the health of livestock.
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This study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.