Living Retired — ‘Livestock Emission Tax Stinks’
Retired Living — ‘Livestock Emission Tax Stinks’
By Gary Chalk
I usually do not write about politics. However, a ‘too good to be true opportunity’ presented itself last week. I read a report by the Associated Press that outlined a tax being proposed in New Zealand. I concluded that this tax is nothing to sneeze at, ahh, err, fart about! Let me explain…
The tax being discussed is on New Zealand’s farmers, ahh, rather, their livestock. As part of the government’s greenhouse gas reduction plan, the elected officials are honing in on the country’s 10 million beef and dairy cattle and 26 million sheep. Collectively these 36 million animals account for — get this — close to 50% of New Zealand’s methane gas emissions. But the way I see it, the number is even higher…
The population of New Zealand is approximately 5 million people. They are fervent rugby fans. Thousands meet up in stadiums all over the country to cheer wildly for their team, and drink lots of beer. The outcome is you guessed it: farting! So the number is actually 10 million beef and dairy cattle, 26 million sheep, and 5 million drunken rugby fans. So now we know the extent of the problem New Zealand’s government has on its hands, ahh, rather, in its air.
The proposed tax calls for reducing methane gas emissions from cows and sheep by 10% by 2030; and up to 47% by 2050. This is all well and good, but how on earth, err, rather, in the air will they go about measuring how much gas each cow and sheep emits every time they fart. And, has the government considered just who will take on the task of measuring? The great Covid retirement already has workers choosing if and where they want to work. And its not as if farts can be measured on a Zoom call!
I’m thinking that the New Zealand government will do what all governments do when faced with a challenge. They will appoint a Blue-Ribbon panel of agricultural experts to be known as the ‘Flatulence Assessment Recording Team’ — FART — to do the fieldwork. (Hey, it is a smelly job, but someone must do it.) Right out of the farm gate, FART will need to come up with some sort of a measuring device, perhaps a Fart-o-Metre to determine each animal’s fart rate — not to be confused with its heart rate. About now you are likely saying, “But Gary the FART members are newly-appointed so they will need to fart from scratch!” I don’t disagree but I am sure if they put their nose to the grindstone it can be done.
The opposition politicians are upset with a fart tax on farm animals, crying fowl. But crying fowl is putting the chicken, err, rather, in this case, the cow before the egg. Opposing politicians suggest that New Zealand’s cow and sheep industry would simply relocate somewhere else to a place whose residents are used to things that stink. Insiders suggest this may turn out to be Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Just saying.
To date, the sheep and dairy farmers have not made any official comment, other than a sheep farmer in Auckland who sheepishly said, “Sheep happens!”
New Zealand government officials are going even further. They are considering introducing a tax on farmers who do not comply, err, rather, their sheep who do not hold it in, so to speak. Experts say that beginning in 2025 animals will be charged a fee per fart — I bet dollars to donuts it will be scents for each fart. The opposition party went on to say that taxing sheep and cows is udderly ridiculous!
Prime Minister Ardern suggests the money collected from the proposed farm levy would be put back into the industry to fund new technology, research, and provide incentive payments for farmers.
Now before you stick your nose in the air please listen to my recommendation. I suggest the government give the money to the farmers to buy Beano for their sheep and cows— and for that matter for themselves if they drink beer. Before you put the cart in front of the horse, or in this case, the cart in front of the cow — or is it the fart in front of the cart? — you need to know that I believe my plan passes the sniff test.
Perhaps there is some good news. If the government and farmers can work things out, New Zealand may challenge the publics thirst for fat-free milk and introduce fart-free food! Just saying.