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New Zealand Announces Plan To Tax Farmers For Livestock Farting And Burping

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New Zealand Announces Plan To Tax Farmers For Livestock Farting And Burping

New Zealand has revealed plans to hand down a carbon tax to farmers in order to tackle one of the country's biggest sources of greenhouse gasses: barnyard animals that fart and burp too much.

The price on agricultural emissions would make New Zealand the first country to make farmers pay for the gasses that their cows or sheep produce.

New Zealand, a large agricultural exporter, is home to five million people.

Compare that to about 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Now that is a lot of burps and farts.

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"There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that," New Zealand's Climate Change Minister James Shaw said, as per Reuters.

This cow is hiding from the 'burp tax', probably. Credit: Jon Bower New Zealand / Alamy Stock Photo
This cow is hiding from the 'burp tax', probably. Credit: Jon Bower New Zealand / Alamy Stock Photo

Farmers can reduce the amount of burps and farts produced by their livestock by using feed additives.

Proceeds from the new climate moo-vement will be directed into research, development, and advisory services to benefit the farmers that are forking out for the farts.

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The 'burp tax' hasn't won everyone over, though.

It's been panned across the Tasman by Sky News host Chris Smith who branded Australia's closest neighbour a 'laughing stock'.

“In order to achieve their 2050 net zero promise - no matter what the world faces in terms of economic crisis, or the inability to keep their lights on - New Zealand has decided, 'Too bad, time to put a price on that smelly methane',” he said as per news.com.au.

He added: "Can you believe this stuff?"

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So why just cows and sheep, we hear you ask? Why not horses, dogs, or people?

Well, cows and sheep have special, complex digestive systems with multi-chambered stomachs in order to digest their food.

A cow lying in a field in New Zealand getting ready to let one rip. Credit: RooM the Agency / Alamy Stock Photo
A cow lying in a field in New Zealand getting ready to let one rip. Credit: RooM the Agency / Alamy Stock Photo

What they eat ferments within their own body, according to the University of California's Clarity and Leadership for Environmental Awareness and Research Centre.

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But as that happens, they create methane as a byproduct - in other words, burps and farts.

It's a type of greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. It can be so intense that high-resolution satellites were once able to detect high methane emissions from a cattle lot in California, according to environmental data company GHGSat.

So, cow burps were essentially visible from space.

As for New Zealand's proposal, it would be a major disruption to one of the nation's biggest export markets.

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A final decision on the scheme is expected in December 2022.

Featured Image Credit: DPK-Photo / Alamy Stock Photo. Fabian Andriessen / Alamy Stock Photo.

Topics: Animals, Weird, News

Rachel Lang
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