Angry Cow Disease

Posted on April 27, 2012


The recent identification of a Mad Cow in California is not to be taken lightly.  Mad Cow Disease is frightening on several levels.  But this writer knows squat about the intricacies of bovine spongiform encephalopathy so she will leave the big scientific stuff to the scientists.

What she does know about is Angry Cow Disease, a real condition that has the potential to ruin our lives.  Angry Cow Disease is caused by production of methane by ruminants (as opposed to those who ruminate).  There are about 150 species of ruminants which include both domestic and wild species. Livestock are ruminants. Cows are livestock. There are a lot of cattle all over the planet.

Globally, ruminant livestock account for about 28% of global methane emissions from human-related activities. They are one of the largest methane sources. In the U.S., cattle emit about 5.5 million metric tons of methane per year into the atmosphere, accounting for 20% of U.S. methane emissions.  This is why we don’t have cows living in our homes, or even just invite them to dinner parties.  Cows, themselves, get annoyed when they have to stand so close to each other out in the field.

We all know about climate change, specifically global warming.  What is lesser known is that all the methane being expelled into the air is a real culprit in the scenario. Extreme weather events can wreak havoc on agriculture, water sources and coastlines.  Tropical diseases and pests that affect plants and animals could increase their range. So land mass would shrink, while insect habitations would get larger. Have nightmares about that, if you will.

Of all ruminants, scientists have targeted beef cows as producing especially noxious  levels of methane.  A spokescow for the World Ruminant Council had this to say:

“We are appalled that, once again, our integrity is being maligned.  In all of history, we have been the scapegoat.  Jack sold his cow for a handful of beans. I mean, really.  Had he kept the cow, he would have had the effects of endless bean production right at his doorstep.  Oh, but I hear your little squeals.  Magic beans, magic beans!  Up the beanstalk, kill the giant, get the gold!  Right.  According to my calculations, Jack would have had just enough time to unwisely invest in tulip futures before the Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637 occurred and he and his family were back to eating grubworms and wearing shoes without soles.

“And let’s talk the Great Chicago Fire: Bessie the Cow tips over a lantern and a major American city goes up in flames. Please.  If I had eaten my lunch recently, I’d be gagging now. Mrs. Catherine O’Leary and her cow were publicly blamed for starting the fire for many years, until evidence came out that the story was fabricated for dramatic effect by a journalist, and Mrs O’Leary was officially exonerated.  Poor Bessie was never exonerated.  The World Ruminant Council has now hired attorneys to represent the descendants of the Bessie Family and lobbying Congress to clear the family name.

“And the worst. Oprah.  I can’t even say that woman’s name without activating my IBS, thereby producing even more methane than normal.  We give our lives to put bacon cheeseburgers into her mouth and she rewards us with a lawsuit that plays out on national TV.  I’m honestly not sure which makes my milk curdle faster, the negative things being said about my kind or the launching of Dr Phil into the pages of US magazine.  Come on, folks. Anyone want to sneak into her house now and watch her eat?  My bet is she isn’t existing on a ruminant’s diet.  She’s existing on ruminants.”

The Spokescow’s angry tirade didn’t escape Rush Limbaugh, who spoke about it recently on his radio show.  “Needless to say, I’m following these events carefully.  I’ve always believed that the serious consequences of methane production have been fabricated, especially as it relates to global warming, which doesn’t exist anyway. I, personally, will continue to be a proud supporter of the production of methane on my show.”

Posted in: animals, humor, satire