The He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) collective was behind the proposal to impose a “farm-level split-gas levy on agricultural emissions, with built-in incentives to reduce emissions and sequester carbon.” Under the measure, farmers will have to pay taxes for not only the carbon emissions from their farm equipment, but also the methane emissions produced by livestock as their stomachs digest food starting in 2025.
If Wellington adopts HWEN’s proposal, the government will – in effect – tax burps and farts coming from cows, sheep and other farm animals. According to the 13-member collective, sheep and cattle vastly outnumber New Zealand’s human population. This, they add, serves as a more effective way to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
As of writing, the plan to tax animals’ methane emissions does not recommend specific prices. However, farmers will be required to report data about their farms to the government through a computerized system. They will also be required to declare the number of animals they own. (Related: New Zealand mulls taxing farmers for the burps and farts of their animals.)
HWEN stated that farmers must report if they own 50 heads of dairy cattle; 550 heads of sheep, cattle, deer and goats; 700 pigs and 50,000 chickens. They must also disclose if they used 40 tons of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer on their farms.
Once sent, the system will then calculate the amount of emissions farmers produce based on their data. Lower emissions will equate to a lower tax, with additional deductions for “incentivized actions” and “maintained and increased carbon sequestration.”
According to HWEN, the collected tax on farm animal emissions “will be invested into agricultural sector emissions research and technology development” and “remaining funds will cover system costs.” There will also be a separate fund to “support the specific needs of Maori landowners,” also to be taken from the tax.
Repercussions of fart and burp tax no laughing matter
“There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere. An effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that,” said New Zealand Climate Change Minister James Shaw.
However, the proposal by HWEN will also exacerbate the ongoing global food inflation. Farmers will be required to shell out more money to keep livestock, plant vegetables and harvest their crops while keeping their supposed emissions low. This, in turn, will reflect on prices that consumers need to pay.
In addition, New Zealand’s plan to tax methane and carbon emissions are misguided and based on junk science. Compared to livestock, human activity produces much more methane. Meanwhile, limiting carbon emissions through government mandates is a fool’s errand as carbon is found in all organic matter.
Farmers – the ones most affected by the tax – have long opposed any attempts to tax gases emitted by their farm animals while digesting food. One 2003 article from the Guardian outlined a protest against the planned levy.
Back in September 2003, farmers took to the streets of Wellington to protest the fart tax, dubbed the “backdoor tax” at that time. A group of 400 farmers gathered outside the New Zealand Parliament and blocked the roads with their tractors. Alongside the protest, a petition against the proposed tax managed to gain more than 64,000 signatures.
“New Zealand farmers are completely unsubsidized [and] completely unprotected in a hugely distorted global market,” lamented Tom Lambie, erstwhile president of the Federated Farmers Union. “The imposition of this unnecessary levy is just another cost we shouldn’t have to bear.”
Watch this footage of farmers in New Zealand protesting against a planned fart tax.
This video is from the OnlyTruth4Me channel on Brighteon.com.
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