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Beware of the evil, belching cows - Curt Yeomans

Tell me why a cow lets rip a foul sound from its lips.

I swear these columns just write themselves - sometimes.

That's what I thought to myself when I was going on Google recently and saw the FoxNews.com headline "Sweden to study belching cows." The article was about how scientists at an agricultural university in Sweden received nearly $600,000 last month. The caveat is that the researchers who received the dough, are studying how much greenhouse gas is released into the atmosphere when a cow belches.

I also learned something else from a Swedish scientist, who was quoted in the story - apparently almost all (more than 90 percent) of the methane produced by a cow exits the body through the bovine's mouth.

Oh, but it's not just the Swedes interested in burping cows. Canadian scientists have already begun conducting similar research, or so says the Fox News story.

Sigh.

As if the furniture from Ikea, and songs by ABBA, didn't provide big enough clues, this latest nugget of news confirms the Swedes are odd. I'm being nice when I put it that way, by the way.

Now, I didn't spend a lot of time on my grandmother's farm when I was growing up, but I don't remember hearing cows belch when I did make trips to south Georgia. I'm not saying cows don't let one from the pits of their guts, but I don't know what a cow belch would sound like.

Would it be something akin to "muuurp"? "Moouurp"? "Mooorp"?

Is it rare like the cry a rabbit, which only comes out when the rabbit dies?

The belching cows story sort of reminds me of this story I heard in high school, at band camp actually. It was at lunch, and this girl was talking about how she once saw the rarest of cows - The constipated cow, which allegedly made a slow, painful cry somewhat along the lines of "mu-uh-ooo! mu-uh-ooo!"

Double sigh.

I guess cows do make some pretty oddball sounds.

What's truly odd, however, is the kinds of hits one can get when he, or she, does a Google search for "belching cows." I found a web site called www.terradaily.com, which had a story from 2005 called "Belching cows join the Apocalypse." The story is a whimsical look at the issue, and includes the appropriate level of humor.

Where do belching cows fall in the grand scheme of the apocalypse, though? Are they up there with popular Youtube star, Nora, the piano playing cat, or are we talking about a small insignificant role in the end of humanity?

Yeah, it sounds stupid, but lets be honest, we're talking about belching cows. How seriously can you take the subject?

Why can't scientists stick to doing what they have seemingly been doing so well in recent years - unnaturally reproducing animals via cloning? The Food and Drug Administration recently cleared cloned animals as being safe for human consumption.

That's a big money producing market out there for scientists.

The researchers also don't have to spend all of their time listening to the foul sounds ripping from a cow's mouth.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.