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Posted: 6/20/2003 8:33:11 AM EDT
from: [url]http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/afp/20030620/od_afp/nzealand_farming_offbeat_030620072145&e=3[/url] AUCKLAND (AFP) - A tax on farting, belching livestock to be introduced by New Zealand to help combat global warming (news - web sites) is creating a stink among the country's farmers. Methane emissions created by grass-munching cows, sheep, deer and goats are believed to account for about half of New Zealand's emissions of greenhouse gases. Now the country is attempting to clear the air by introducing a levy on pungent emissions by mid-2004. The tax will fund a new Agriculture Emissions Research body to meet commitments to the Kyoto Protocol (news - web sites) global environment agreement. But farmers are outraged, saying the agricultural sector is already paying for its own research. The new tax, which will bring in around eight million NZ dollars a year (4.5 million US) amounted to "overkill", said Jeff Grant, chairman of Meat New Zealand, a livestock industry support organisation. Tom Lambie, president of agricultural body Federated Farmers, said the levy disadvantaged farmers struggling to compete against less gas-anxious nations. "As far as I'm aware, we're the only country in the world to impose a levy like this," he said. Jim Eagles, business editor of the New Zealnd Herald daily called the levy "unnecessary, unfair and potentially damaging to the economy." New Zealand's farmers are already facing hard times due to a sharp downturn in returns for their produce. Eagle said factories from industrialised nations, not herds of cattle and sheep, were the main cause behind the increase in global warming, he said. New Zealand is home to around 45 million sheep and 9.6 million cattle, according to Statistics New Zealand.
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