Mailers were sent recently to users of NW Natural Gas encouraging enrollment in Smart Energy (the capture of methane from cow manure). I advise customers not to be seduced by the company’s rhetoric. Research will reveal that, contrary to the tranquil pastoral scene depicted on the mailer, the cows used in the process are confined to cement stalls.
Bio energy production is one of the fastest growing alternative energy sources. Increasing numbers of farmers are investing in these projects, including some close to home.
Using alternative energy sources is undeniably necessary and progressive but to abandon animal welfare would be unconscionably regressive.
For struggling farmers who are now farming sustainably, the prospect of partnering with a biogas company for economic gain would be a temptation. But this would mean the abandonment of humane farming for a factory farm based system. I urge NW Natural Gas customers to consider these facts before enrolling in Smart Energy.