Kill farting camels, say environmentalists

Posted by Emma Woollacott

An Australian environmental group is calling for hundreds of thousands of camels, pigs and waterbuffalo to be slaughtered - because of their farts.

A study for the Pew Environment Group and Nature Conservancy has concluded that the country's outback is currently storing around 10 billion tons of carbon.

But, it says, that amount could be increased to 11.5 million if land was better managed, wildfires were reduced, cleared vegetation was regrown - and feral animals were culled.

Apparently one windy camel can release methane equivalent to a tonne of CO2 per year.

They also eat plants and damage the soil, meaning less carbon can be stored by the ecosystem. And the problem could get worse, says the study, as climate change extends the animals' range southwards.

Unlike some environmental reports, this one isn't the slightest bit soppy about animals.

"Feral pest management is a 'no regrets' initiative leading to net economic gain (because of productivity gains in the grazing industry)," it says breezily.

"As well as their environmental and social impacts, feral pests have been estimated to have an annual economic cost of $719.7 million."