New Zealand: Farmers protest against a plan to tax cow farts

New Zealand: Farmers protest against a plan to tax cow farts

DrFarmers, some driving their tractors, demonstrated in major New Zealand cities on Thursday against a government plan to tax greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

Caravans of farm machinery gathered in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and several other towns in the archipelago, with participants calling on the centre-left government to abandon plans to tax the “wind and burp” from animal husbandry.

Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled a plan to introduce such a tax, which would be the first of its kind in the world.

Gases like methane, emitted naturally as farts and burps from New Zealand’s 6.2 million cows and 26 million sheep, plus nitrous oxide found in cattle urine, are among the country’s biggest environmental problems.

Methane is less abundant and does not remain in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, but it is a much stronger contributor to global warming.

Scientists estimate that this chemical compound is responsible for about 30% of global warming since the Industrial Revolution, although it only represents a fraction of the greenhouse gas composition.

Ms Adern argued that this tax is needed to slow climate change. It can even benefit farmers, who will be able to sell more expensive meat because it respects the climate.

But “we will not accept it,” the farmers are indignant. Thousands of agricultural workers joined a protest on Thursday to denounce the bill.

“The government’s ideological commitment to punitive and reverse taxes on emissions (from) agricultural production threatens the very existence of rural communities,” said Brian McKenzie of Groundsoil NZ, the organization behind the demonstration.

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Environmentalists say New Zealand farmers are caught in the crossfire.

“The rural and agricultural sector of this country has been hit hard by floods, severe storms and droughts this year alone,” said Emily Bailey of Climate Justice Taranaki.

“It’s getting worse,” she lamented. “Farmers can either adapt and reduce their emissions quickly or suffer more, like everyone else.”

10/20/2022 06:03:22 – Wellington (AFP) – © 2022 AFP

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