I recently saw a TV ad I believe was produced by an environmental group recommending that people eat less beef to reduce the cattle population, thus reducing their methane gas production and it's effect on the atmosphere.
This got me thinking about the Yaks in my pasture and what affect they, as a species, have had on the environment. An adult Yak is thought to consume 1/3 of the feed that an adult beef cow will consume to generate the same food value. I can profess to the comparison values, having had experience with beef cattle and seeing what gluttons they are when left in control of their own diet, and having fed and watched my Yaks for the last couple of years, I would agree the 1/3 comparison is reasonably accurate.
The majority of the methane gas produced by beef cattle is released when they regurgitate their cud to chew, a smaller portion is produced from the excrement.
Logic says if the Yak eats 2/3 less it will regurgitate less and will excrete less; it is reasonable believe this will produce approximately 2/3 less methane. This is a huge reduction in green house gasses in the production of meat for human consumption, while the animal is still on the hoof.
One of the latest "green food" trends is to look at the carbon footprint of the foods we consume. Our Yaks are pasture fed when the grass allows, other times of the year they eat only hay produced on our fields. Of course we burn fossil fuels to produce the hay but as it is baled close to home there is less of an impact on the environment from trucking. Yaks do not require and are not fed a grain based feed so there is no impact on the environment from grain production. Our Yaks are not injected with vaccines nor fed medications or chemicals as beef cattle are; nor do we use any fertilizer other than our own composted manure on our fields.
Considering the 2/3 reduction in methane gas released, the small carbon footprint left on the environment and that we do not add chemicals or medication to our Yaks, it is clear that Yak meat is a greener choice of meat then beef.
Yaks are an environmentally friendly food product in addition to being a healthy, chemical free, delicious source of red meat.