Pretty soon there won't be a single living organism on earth from which someone won't be trying to extract a biofuel. We've talked about algae, corn, switchgrass, soybeans, wood chips, seaweed, chickens and even liposuction waste. (I wish ants were a biomass source.) So it wasn't much of a surprise when I found this story out of England that says an oil firm and food processing company will produce biodiesel from pig fat. ConocoPhillips says it can produce up to 175 million gallons of animal diesel a year, or about three percent of the United Kingdom's total diesel output.

But towards the end of this story, flags were raised about the ethics of replacing the tiger in your tank (oh, sorry, that's ExxonMobil) with Arnold the pig. Officials said they have yet to discuss the idea with animal rights groups or religious leaders. But PETA did come out with a statement.

"Clearly, the answer to global warming isn't to fill gas guzzling cars with ground up remains of tortured animals, it is to go vegetarian, which is something every person can afford to do and should do for the sake of their own health, animals and the environment," said PETA.

Any fuel made with swine extracts would be mixed with other types of diesel. No one would be able to tell if any bacon diesel was actually in their tank. But there is always the possibility of complaints and lawsuits. I remember the case of a man whose religion prohibited the eating of beef, and he sued a restaurant because of a slight amount of beef flavoring in the oil used to cook french fries. He claimed severe mental distress because he wasn't told.

Part of living in a multicultural society is that you must respect others, but you must also have tolerance for others. I don't foresee the day when fuel will have to be blessed or approved by religious leaders, but this issue will not go away quietly. In the end, leaded gasoline will probably get a better reputation than animal-seasoned biofuel.

[Source: BBC]


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