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Taxing animal burps and flatulence

Denmark’s Tax Commission has come up with a new environmental tax: on the burps and flatulence of domesticated animals.

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The burps and flatulence of Danish domesticated cows and pigs are likely to cost farmers a fortune if the Tax Commission’s proposal to tax methane gas emissions is adopted, according to Dagbladet Holstebro-Struer.

A million
Steen Nørgaard, a farmer near Holstebro in Jutland, can expect an annual increase in costs of one million kroner.

“I’d be paying DKK 535,000 (EUR 71,000) in flatulence tax, then there’s nitrogen duty and increased duties on Danish Crown and Arla cooperatives of which I am a member. All of that will give me a loss of about one million kroner,” says Nørgaard.

The Tax Commission has suggested a methane tax of DKK 600 (EUR 80) per cow. Cows release methane in the stomach gases that are released from both ends of the animal.

The Commission says that there would be fewer cows and pigs in Denmark if the proposal is adopted.

Duty or no
Nørgaard, however says that such a tax is unreasonable.

“Cows burp and emit gas from the other end irrespective of whether there is a tax or not. The idea with a tax is to change behaviour and reduce emissions of a gas. But the animals don’t care two hoots,” says Nørgaard.

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