A team from the University of Bristol and Rothamsted Research has developed an assessment method that records the environmental impact of each animal separately before calculating the overall burden of a farm. The scientists say the method better accounts for the disproportionally large amounts of methane produced by poorly performing animals. Although this measurement method is likely to show higher carbon-footprint estimates for ruminant animal agriculture, the researchers point out that it can also identify individual animals with reduced impact. This could make it easier to select for whole herds of animals with less impact over time, which, the scientists point out, meshes with their goal of optimizing "the positive contribution grazing livestock can bring to us as part of a well-designed food supply chain."
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