The world is being told to hate cows as climate culprits. This began as an embarrassing fart faux pas by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez when she targeted cow flatulence for elimination (ignoring that 95% of cow methane arises from burps). Despite the profound ignorance of AOC’s cow claims, the attacks on cows have morphed into a sustained, widespread attack on gentle bovines. Humans have more to fear from this perverse ideological initiative than they may realize.

Cows do kill humans. An average of 22 people a year are killed by cows. The CDC cautions that “Working with bulls involves higher risk for injury,” a commonsense conclusion even a child could understand.

There are about 94.4 million cows in the United States, so the cow homicide rate (of cows killing humans) is very close to zero. In contrast, the 2020 homicide rate in America was 6.52 per 100,000 people, a 28.64% increase over 2019. Gun deaths for 2021 were 48,830, of which 54% were suicides. Cows don’t commit suicide, or shoot people with guns.

A 1996 comedic song titled “Cows With Guns” tells the story of a herd of cows who rebel against their human captors. The chorus offers an apt cow-liberty refrain:

We will fight for bovine freedom

And hold our large heads high

We will run free with the Buffalo, or die.

Current calls to ban cows mirror in real life the satirical Animal Farm message. There have been recent calls to increase buffalo herds to “save the climate,” even though that is admittedly impossible, and there are only a few hundred thousand buffalo in the United States. Climate urgency cultists still howl to eliminate cows, and even suggest they would be doing cows a favor by liberating them from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Bill Gates via Wikipedia

In What’s Bill Gates’ beef with flatulent cows?, a Gates-fawning writer employs cow-liberating imagery that sounds much like a silly song:

Last week, billionaire and long-time committed burger eater Bill Gates became the latest champion of the cows’ cause (namely: please stop eating us). He said the time had come for inhabitants of all wealthy nations to cease enjoying beef and instead to make do with a synthetic substitute. According to him, it’s the only way to prevent civilisation ending in a cow-fart fireball apocalypse. ….Obviously, if livestock could only talk, the whole gruesome business would end tomorrow.

PETA and other animal rights organizations purport to talk for cows, but their voices ring hollow: the plan for all those Dutch and Belgian farms is not to release cows to run wild with bison, but to slaughter them. If cows could talk, they’d say “We don’t like the prisons called CAFOs, but we appreciate local farms that allow us out of the barn to enjoy grass dining.” The relationship between cows and humans has been symbiotic for ten thousand years: humans broke the bargain when they corralled cows into buildings to concentrate not just animals, but profit.

Now the voices of the chattering laptop class clamor both for and against cows: cows are destroying the world they say, so let’s save cows and the planet too, by eliminating all cows! It is not merely AOC, but a chorus of voices dumber than cows:

Farting cows are waging a war against mankind’s noses…and habitat. ….Cow farts, or as others colloquially call them, bovine emissions, comprise a significant part of an existential threat to humans. ….Some people consider beef “the cadillac of meats,” but it would be more apt to compare it to a V12 Hummer with flamethrowers mounted on the sides. Beef has a larger carbon footprint per pound than any other popular meat: two times larger than lamb, six times larger than pork, and seven times larger than chicken. ….Beef production takes 28 times more land to produce than chicken or pork, and 160 times more land compared to staple crops like wheat or rice. Some say we have already reached “Peak Meat” (yes, Peak Meat). While rising seas and industrial smokestacks may be the first images that pop into your head when you hear the phrase “global warming,” don’t forget the cows.

Comparing cows to V12 Hummers with flamethrowers and claiming they are waging an “existential war against humanity” is absurd. Indeed, so too are the various claims made about their impact: the opposite is the truth.

Beef’s “carbon footprint” in CAFOs is much higher than rotationally grazed cows on grass. CAFO cows are fed a diet of grains produced using large amounts of fossil fuels; their waste is mechanically collected into huge mounds or lagoons, then spread using more tractors. Even hay is harvested and delivered to them mechanically, all increasing fossil fuel consumption. But critics focus on their farts (itself a skewed slander, inflating the impacts of methane relative to carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas).

Comparing chickens and pork to cow flesh is ridiculous. Cows are ruminants and can be raised wholly on grass. Blades of grass are solar panels, directly capturing energy from the sun for cows to create healthy meats. Chickens and pigs are monogastric, create manure far more toxic than cows, and are dependent on grains farmed using conventional destructive industrial agricultural methods that compact the soil, increase soil erosion and water loss, and are dependent on fossil fuel energy and massive quantities of chemical additives.

This is true also of Bill Gates’s patented synthetic meat, dependent on toxic farming methods from which cows offer humans liberation (not the other way around). The key industrial fertilizer is urea, a nitrogen source manufactured using natural gas. Cow manure is the top candidate to replace factory-manufactured, soil-harming synthetic fertilizers!

Modern industrialism, aided by corporations and government regulations, is what pushed cows (and chickens and pigs) into CAFOs that cause environmental and animal harms. Now that same industrial conglomeration of corporate-government interests is exploiting the harms of that very system to blame cows for the consequences of their captivity and to offer yet more pollution and dependency to supposedly cure the problem.

Similarly fraudulent is the notion that these industrial interests will now save both cows and humanity by liberating cows from confinement: those who slander cows have no such intentions. When cows are replaced with fake meat, or eliminated to cease their belching (and manure production), they are not being released back to pastures but pushed across the concrete aisle to be slaughtered.

Yet Bill Gates is the expert, we are told:

Gates says we won’t much miss the taste of a good steak after making the switch, or not for long anyway. ‘You can get used to the taste difference,’ he told MIT Technology Review, ‘and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time.’

Gates’ track record of being right when it counts is hard to ignore. First, he democratised home computing and now through his charitable foundation has done a vast amount of good where it is needed most in the world. He saw the pandemic coming before the rest of us, too. If he says artificial meat is ‘the future of food,’ then perhaps we should listen to him – especially if the alternative is death by cow fart.

Death by global totalitarian genocide is more threatening than cow farts. Surely Mr. Gates was aware of the pandemic coming because he was aware of the gain-of-function tinkering that created the virus he foresaw. Now he similarly positions himself to “save the world” by buying up farmland and patent rights to artificial meat, peddling it as world-saving while calling to exterminate all the world’s cows. If he says artificial meat is “the future of food,” humanity should run for the hills—hills upon which cows freed from CAFOs and antibiotics bound happily, spreading their soil-nurturing plops liberally. Shifting cows regeneratively back to the land would sequester carbon, improve soil health, and decentralize farming profits.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm related an allegorical tale of cows liberating themselves from humans: it’s true theme concerned humans liberating themselves from socialist totalitarianism. Cows do not plot global genocide. Cows do not offer dubious experimental vaccines as urgent salvation from manmade (gain-of-function) viruses. And cows do not offer more toxic industrial food as the solution to the toxic industrial food system that has tortured, imprisoned, and now scapegoats cows.

Cows do not kill people; people kill people. Especially people who claim cows are the problem. Cows are key players in solving the problems created by industrial agriculture. Instead of listening to cow-critics or buying CAFO beef, find a local farmer raising grass-fed cows and buy a side of beef.

Bill Gates and his paid cowtrolls are full of bull.

Image Credit: Anton Mauve, “Changing Pasture” (1880)

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  1. Can we please get a serious article on this topic? It may seem like a joke “haha the greenies are worried about cow farts, they’re so dumb!!1!11!!!!”, but it’s deadly serious. They’re going to confiscate farms, maybe you’ve read about it other places (not here at FPR for some reason) and how it’s caused massive upheaval in the Netherlands for a year now, and shut them down and mandate elimination of vast number of farm cattle. It’s moving to Ireland next, and they’re going to proceed country by country while the rest of us laugh as if it’s all so funny.

    • I submit that the article is quite serious. I also have this recent one, re Ireland:

      And this one, re Gates:

      And this one re John Kerry, climate envoy (which warns that they are coming for our cows in the US):
      John Kerry recently

      • Nice substack piece, John. Vandana Shiva has been one of my heroines since I read her book Monocultures of the Mind, which was promoted by Consumer Association of Penang 30 years ago. She explained how grain yield is “gamed” by modifying crops to be shorter (to reduce water consumption), which decreases the denominator even though the actual grain production (numerator) remains constant.

        As for industrial cows, the same bizarre “defense” was offered in regard to caging chickens (aka “chicken hell”) that was popular in SE Asia before the Avian Flu almost-pandemic. International TV interviewed small-time poultry raisers in Vietnam, etc. explaining how crowding the birds was actually healthier “because we give them antibiotics to stop diseases” (which of course were much more likely due to the crowding).

      • As for Gates, the bizarre blend of esthetics (“nicer red” for tomatoes) and outmoded concern for distributors (“bruise less easily” — squarish ones were bred decades ago exactly for that reason, and tomatoes have tougher texture now, too) is only part of the narrow-mindedness.

        For the great savior plant soy (which Sally Fallon exposed as NOT a food widely used in Asia centuries ago, mostly a nitrogen-fixing plant), the GMO geniuses in air-conditioned labs assumed “higher volume to surface area ratio” is obviously better because it means more yield. So they bred bigger soybeans. However, soy has some negative nutritional effects that are only ameliorated by mixing with meat OR fermenting the soy.

        But fermentation of something like tempeh works better if there is MORE surface area on the bean, exposing it to spores in the air.

  2. Laughter is a tool of the oppressed (e.g., court jesters centuries ago). And it’s not hard to recognize that mass hysteria in social media and academia is oppressive.

    I strongly recommend this 23-minute video:
    debunking the urgency of eliminating meat from human diets

    It includes stats on how much of grazing land (about 1/3) is arable, contradicting simplistic “transitions” to farming being proposed by Gates et al.

    In fact, ruminants like cows, sheep, and goats have turned UNfarmable land into edible protein for centuries. Fanatics don’t want to discuss that.

    Regarding methane, the element “carbon” is now being demonized with almost no discernment in the popular media. Termites produce more methane globally than cows do, as noted in this BBC presentation:

    As for meatless burgers, can someone explain to me why Burger King prices them the same as beef burgers? How is that kind of replacement pricing going to “save” impoverished people?

    • “Laughter is a tool of the oppressed”
      A tool, as in one particular tool. Not the only tool, and one with quite limited utility, one that should be deployed alongside serious debate and discussion.

      “(e.g., court jesters centuries ago).”
      I don’t think the guy standing next to the king telling him “jokes” was a particularly effective tool for fighting oppressive authority. Get too far from the “entertain the oppressor” and it was “off with his head”, no?

      At any rate, my point is, this article would be fine, IF there had been a significant number of articles actually addressing the outrageous actual actions being taken to destroy (small) farms already, in an (alleged) attempt to “save the planet”, but there’s been nothing, and this is actually a deadly serious issue.

      • Well, it’s got to start somewhere, no?

        Perhaps you can write an article here that will seriously address the issue?

      • I guess you haven’t read FPR as far back as this past January:

        That article is also by John, who succinctly states this serious summary:

        Consider that 1) grass-fed cows convert current sunlight (collected in “renewable” annual grasses rather than sunlight stored in ancient fossil fuels) into nutritious food; 2) the primary fertilizer replacement for natural-gas-dependent synthetic fertilizers is manure; 3) rotational grazing sequesters carbon and restores soils, reducing water use and improving water retention while reversing soil erosion; 4) managed grasslands sequester far more CO2 than forests; 5) the mega-corporations that spew millions of tons of soil-depleting, water-polluting, human-sickening chemicals to support federally-subsidized patented GMO-based monocultures have motives to eradicate cows that are less than altruistic.

  3. It’s not necessarily an either-or. The market can adapt if there are fewer factory cows coupled with less demand due to people (ignorantly or otherwise) going veg.

    I suppose the key question then would be: how would that shift impact a low-income person who still wants to eat beef? Those already buying “designer label” beef that is from well-treated cows probably will continue to afford such beef.

    Let’s assume that more people like John produce happy cows so that the supply increases somewhat, but would it be enough to match a major shift in consumer demand from CAFO prisoner cows to free-range cows?

    John, what’s your producer price for beef compared to agro giants? And how does that difference/ratio pan out at the retail level at present?

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