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Norfolk Town's Schools First To Be Heated By Burning Cattle 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the burn-it-up dept.
A "trailblazing" Norfolk town has begun heating many of its buildings - including the schools - by burning oil made from melted-down cow and pig carcasses. The strategy is described as "equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas." Should schools have to offer vegetarian heating?

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Norfolk Town's Schools First To Be Heated By Burning Cattle

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  • What seriously could go wrong!
  • Possibly... (Score:1, Troll)

    by More_Cowbell (957742) *
    The most effed up thing I've seen in a while. Who in their right mind would think this is better than wind or solar power?
    • I see nothing in the article that says they feel this is better than wind or solar power. Instead, it is simply stated that they feel this will reduce their carbon footprint relative to using heating oil or natural gas only. Renewable energy sources aren't mentioned in the article, at all.
      • Re:Possibly... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:16PM (#26804853) Homepage Journal

        Uh, cattle are renewable.

        -Peter

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:19PM (#26804911)
          Incidentally, so are babies. Which begs the question: why aren't we looking into babies as an alternative source of energy? I'm sure they can be melted down just as easily and I'll bet we can find plenty of willing producers.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Which begs the question: why aren't we looking into babies as an alternative source of energy?

            I saw a movie about that.

          • by mackil (668039)
            Why not! Babies are already used as cheap alternatives to turkey at Christmas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Senility)
          • Re:Possibly... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @08:19PM (#26806533)

            There's a good reason for this. If you had read the article, they said that proponents of burning animal carcasses admitted that, by itself, it's a very inefficient method of heating, since so much energy has to go into raising these animals to maturity; you end up getting less energy from burning them than you did getting to that point.

            However, the animals' primary use is for food, not heat. The carcasses burned are just a leftover waste product normally, so burning them for heat makes sense because otherwise the carcasses would just be trash.

            Babies, unlike farm animals, aren't normally used for food. So, applying the logic above, it wouldn't make economic sense to raise them just to burn them.

            I hope this answers your question.

            • by setagllib (753300)

              Clearly we must burn dead people instead.

              Oh wait, that's already very common and well accepted.

              • We use a vastly greater amount of fuel to burn (cremate) dead bodies than they would provide as a fuel source.

                And it's been that way since bodies were first put on funeral pyres.

            • Babies, unlike farm animals, aren't normally used for food. So, applying the logic above, it wouldn't make economic sense to raise them just to burn them.

              I'd be voting for you, should we elect a /. advocate for, say, free software. Just to hear your arguments. In fact, I tried getting into your rhetoric mood to come up with a few possible examples. And failed. Horribly so.

          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            What a modest proposal

          • by sa1lnr (669048)

            That is a truly offal idea.

          • Now there's a modest proposal.
          • by neight108 (974915)
            Sounds like a modest proposal [google.com].
        • Ok. Fine. The article says nothing about traditional renewable resources. Happy?
      • Yeah, I read the article, I know renewable energy sources aren't mentioned. That was kind of my point. If they want to reduce their carbon footprint, they should look in another direction. Seriously, just on a practical level, the energy it takes to grow the animals has to offset any 'savings' gained.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bluelip (123578)

      So we should bury the refuse instead of utilizing as much as we can?

      Clearly, you've been educated beyond your intellect.

      • Indeed, and so are the losers who are against using waste fat for fuel. [slashdot.org] America has both a fat problem and an energy problem that can be fixed through liposuction and the candle and fuel industry.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And I suspect we always will.

      And lots of the parts will only be eaten by Anthony Boudain and such and as such we will cow parts to dispose of.

      And our heating/power systems are geared to use hydrocarbons.

      Sounds like a win-win to me.

      I thought biodiesel and such was as green as it gets.

      Cold-pressed cow sounds like a renewable source of hydrocarbons.

      • No, these parts are eaten by the masses in the form of bologna and hot dogs. There are very few parts that need disposal, 4000 years of cow herding has made humans very adapt at using every last morsel. And then there is always pet food, and army rations.
      • by davidsyes (765062)

        A win-win. I say, WHEN WHEN? Hehehe...

        And if the kids learn not to to prattle, addle, they can write masterfully, and engage in learning, and kerning battle...

    • Someone with carcasses they need to dispose of anyway?

      -Peter

    • by nasor (690345)
      The carbon in the cows came from plants, which came from CO2 when the plants where doing photosynthesis - so it is carbon neutral.
  • Granted, this is idle, but the sensationalist headlines are getting old.

    Caus, you know, making oil from slaughter by-products is pretty much the same as "burning cattle for heat"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    burn mor chikin

  • I'm sure PETA will have an orgasmic heart-attack or two for this one.

  • by wandazulu (265281) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:08PM (#26804721)

    Should schools have to offer vegetarian heating?

    You want to heat your school by burning vegetarians? You people are sick! Sick I tell you! Sick!

    Next you'll be telling me that soylent green is people. Yeah, sure, like the government would let that happen.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Next you'll be telling me that soylent green is people.

      Soylent Green hasn't been made from real people for years. They've been using a manufactured petro-chemical substitute, but most people didn't notice the change. I personally think it's a lot more bland and kind of ashy tasting. You can still get the good stuff at some import markets, though.

    • by zlexiss (14056)

      Umm, cows _are_ vegetarians!

  • by Kingrames (858416) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @06:16PM (#26804855)
    It's a wonderful leap forward in green technology. By eliminating the sources of methane gas, the world gets a lot greener.

    Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by The Creator (4611)

      Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

      Thtat's easy, we'll start making fuel from human ears aswell!

    • Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

      Did you miss the word "carcasses" in TFS? Think rendering plants.

    • Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

      Luckily cow hide is very insulating.

  • Could be worse... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...at first, I'd assumed it was a truncated headline, with the word "dung" left off of the end.

    That would be nothing new at all, anyway.

  • When you consider the energy required to grow a fat pig or cow, how could this ever be practical?

    It takes thousands of pounds of feed grain to raise a big pig or cow. Only a small percentage of that energy gets captured as oil or fat.
    Then you need to expend more energy to melt out that oil or fat.

    I suspect it would be about ten times more efficient if they just burned the feed grain in their furnaces.

    • by Aneurysm (680045)

      The proponents of tallow-based fuel admit that raising livestock in order to burn their corpses for energy would be a very carbon-intensive way of making biofuel. Rearing cattle or pigs involves the emission of lots of greenhouse gases. But that's not the idea: rather, the thinking goes, people will raise livestock anyway in order to eat it. Thus it makes sense to use the waste products for energy.

      The point is you're not raising cattle or pigs in order to make the oil you're using an otherwise wasted by-product. Take for instance an old dairy cow that has lived past their efficient milking years or fat byproducts stripped for otherwise useless butchers waste. Also I would imagine turning sick animals into usable oil would be a better alternative to just burning them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Grishnakh (216268)

      Don't be stupid. People aren't raising pigs and cows just to burn them; they're raising them for food. The carcasses are a by-product that would be wasted otherwise.

      Of course, it'd be more efficient if people just ate feed grain directly instead of feeding it to cows and then eating the cows (and burning their carcasses). However, people don't like feed grain very much, whereas cows are quite tasty.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday February 10, 2009 @07:24PM (#26805831)

    "Equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas."

    Is someone here trying to tell us that prepping farmland, sewing and growing crops on it, feeding it to cattle which then ist slaughtered and/or dies of natural causes and blended into a pulp in order to get oil out of it has a lower carbon footprint than natural gas? And what about turning just the crops into biogas and skipping the cattle all together? Is this cattle-industry PR for the extra-stupid, or what?

    Lower carbon footprint ... Give me a f*cking break! Everybody with more that 2 braincells knows that modern livestock agriculture has about the worst eco-balance you can get, apart from maybe burning coal for electricity or something. From entire state-sized patches of rainforest being uprooted each year for argentiniean beefsteak and Mc-Donalds Burgers, south-american soy being shipped halfway across the globe to austria to be fed to their cattle while the people there are starving all the way to long-chained uber-pesticides for chowcrop monocultures that seep into the groundwater and polute the entire foodchain for decades to come, industrial mass livestock is one of the cornerstones of our current enviromental problems and ought to be taxed heavyly worldwide. 30% VAT on every livestock - dead or alive - crossing international borders just to cover the eco-balance is what we really need. I strongly suspect the linked article to be some PR rubbish launched by a meat industry in recession.

    Bottom line: Complete and utter bullshit. Mod accordingly and move along.

    • I know, I know, this is Slashdot, but you really need to read articles before commenting on them, because /. article summaries, are, as a rule, always incorrect in some important detail (yes, hopeless, I admit, and I also admit to making the same mistake in the past, but. . .).

      From the fine article:

      "The proponents of tallow-based fuel admit that raising livestock in order to burn their corpses for energy would be a very carbon-intensive way of making biofuel. Rearing cattle or pigs involves the emission o

  • universal rule. never forget. it doesnt matter what you think, what you believe, how you rationalize, or how you see fit, who you are, whom you are with.

    what goes around, comes around, sooner or later. and it grows. if it comes later, its impact is bigger due to cause-effect chains, if it comes sooner, it may come back as it went.

    the relevance ? well. our current civilization has become an increasingly brutal civilization ... think and imagine.

    • our current civilization has become an increasingly brutal civilization

      You're not very familiar with the history of the human race are you?

      • by unity100 (970058)

        the brutality in history is disorganized and comparably small by percentage.

        today its mass manufactured, standardized, spanning the globe.

        • Tell that to Alexander the Great. Attila. $ROMAN_EMPEROR. Genghis Khan. The European colonial powers. General Sherman.

          Even a century ago (just before the outbreak of WW I), nobody thought much of minimizing the impact of war on civilians. No one cared about collateral damage. The term didn't even exist. Go back another 50 years and it was still widely considered a normal part of war to wage it upon civilians as well as military personnel. The enemy was the enemy.

          Fast forward to WW II and you find a lot of t

          • i said that the civilization grew increasingly more brutal, and you actually spoke against this but actually supported it ?

            that being said, brutality context here is not limited to wars and brutality in between mankind.

  • Oh, wait, I thought you said Burning Castle.

    Never mind.

  • I used to live in Norfolk, Virginia, and I never thought they would have resorted to this.
  • Since most vegetarians are skinny and frail, I don't think they'd burn long enough to really be efficient
  • And after you melt the cow can you cast it into a new cow?

  • We need a god of evolution to make cows which burn better. Someone contact Ponder Stibbons.

  • freeze dry in liquid nitrogen, use the resulting powder as fertilizer. wrote a diary a few years back:

    http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/11/6/0016/23536 [kuro5hin.org]

  • That school is SO metal!!

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!

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