European Farmers Protest Proposals to Tax Cow Flatulence

Proposals to tax the flatulence of cows and other livestock have been denounced by farming groups in the Irish Republic and Denmark.

A cow tax of $18 per animal has been mooted in Ireland, while Denmark is discussing a levy as high as $110 per cow to offset the potential penalties each country faces from European Union legislation aimed at combating global warming.

The proposed levies are opposed vigorously by farming groups. The Irish Farmers' Association said that the cattle industry would move to South America to avoid EU taxes.

Livestock contribute 18 percent of the greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Danish Tax Commission estimates that a cow will emit four tons of methane a year in burps and flatulence, compared with 2.7 tons of carbon dioxide for an average car.

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