There is an urban legend connected with the idea of an exploding cow. One minute it's there mooing and chewing. The next moment, a firestorm of tenderloin and brisket bits, covering fields with goop for blocks.
How could a cow explode? Methane. The speculation is that it's possible that the methane rich flatuence of a cow is somehow ignited, resulting in an explosion. A cow produces about 280 liters of methane-rich flatulence each day. Quite a bit of gas, so much so that cows are said to be a threat to the environment for this reason alone. According to an article by the BBC,
Environmental scientist Professor Frank Convery claims cows breaking wind and
belching account for 35% of Ireland's green-house gas emissions. These have been
linked to global climate change.
What's really weird and almost certainly untrue is the belief that people somewhere have inserted a tube into a cow's posterior in order to ignite the gas and in so doing, caused the cow to explode.
Methane (CH4) and hydrogen (H2) are the main flammable ingredients of bovine intestinal gas. The oxidation of one part of methane requires two parts of oxygen. In contrast, burning hydrogen requires much less oxygen:
CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O
2H2 + O2 → 2H2O
The claim is that gas within a cow's intestines, once ignited, could cause a huge explosion resulting in gloppy shards of cow gut shrapnel . This is almost certainly untrue according to people who study such matters.
Which brings up the question, who are people who study such matters? Maybe they are these people.