Thursday, May 26, 2016

Feeding Antibiotics to Farm Animals May Worsen Climate Change

California rancher Nathan Carver delivers hay to feed his herd of beef cattle on his ranch on the outskirts of Delano, in California's Central Valley, on Feb. 3, 2014. (Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
There may be another reason to discourage farmers from feeding antibiotics to livestock:  global warming.

A study published this week finds that when cattle were fed a common antibiotic, their manure produced even more methane than normal — a potent global warming gas.

The antibiotics do this by killing off bacteria that compete with methane-producing microbes, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of antibiotics increasing methane emissions," the team wrote.

Farmers have already been asked to stop feeding so many antibiotics to their livestock.  The drugs make the animals grow faster and bigger — for reasons that are not fully understood.  But many studies have now shown that the practice has helped drive the rise of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs."

Read more at Feeding Antibiotics to Farm Animals May Worsen Climate Change

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