The biopolitics of cattle methane emissions reduction: governing life in a time of climate change

Andrew McGregor*, Lauren Rickards, Donna Houston, Michael K. Goodman, Milena Bojovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we analyse ongoing attempts to mitigate cattle methane emissions
through the lens of biopower. Drawing on IPCC and FAO reports as well as the
scientific literature, we detail how the problem of cattle methane has been made
visible and the subsequent efforts that have emerged to govern human and non-human life from molecular to global scales. Such efforts have been thwarted by the liveliness of cattle, farmers and consumers. Rather than mitigating emissions, production oriented cattle methane research has assisted the expansion of cattle emissions by promising an immanent solution that is never realised. More recent consumption oriented strategies are overdue but limited by a hesitancy to fully address the political problems associated with transitioning away from beef and dairy. More direct and transparent responses are needed to confront the contradictions between the expansion of animal agriculture and global efforts to mitigate climate change in fair and just.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1161-1185
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Early online date17 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • animal agriculture
  • biopower
  • cattle emissions
  • environmentality
  • livestock emissions
  • vegan


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