Taxing Flatulence

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Taxing Flatulence

Have the tree-huggers gone too far to protect the ozone layer from greenhouse gases? Over the past few months the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has considered taxing farmers for each of their farting and burping cows. According to the article “Estonia Taxes Farmers for Cow Farts” by Peter Robbins, a single cow produces about 350 liters of methane gas and 1500 liters of carbon dioxide a day by expelling gas and burping. Methane gas and carbon dioxide are among the main contributors that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and promote global warming. Although researchers estimate that cow farts and burps cause 23 times more damage to our environment than car pollution, taxing each cow for its “emissions” will not solve the problem that cow flatulence brings to the ozone layer.

Farmers may have to pay the tax, but cows will nonetheless continue to fart! And what about other animals? Birds fart; dogs fart; lions fart; hippopotamuses fart; even humans fart! Will the EPA go so far to even tax human farts? The main question evolves around: How will the agency keep count of all the emissions produced by each cow every day? Will the EPA force farmers to tie a plastic contraption to each cow’s rear that calculates the volume of emissions? This calculating of flatulence volume would be a time consuming and very costly task. According to Peter Robbins’ article, the government and the EPA have set up a new F.A.R.T. form, Flatulence Accounting Record Table (the agency is so clever with its acronyms), that will derive a formula from the weight and size of all animals and pets, resulting in the worth of the tax payment. Annually, this tax estimates to about $175 per cow. If one dairy company milks 1300 cows, the tax bill would cost the company approximately $230,000 per year. Companies already suffer enough from our deteriorating economy, why put more financial burdens upon a dairy company for an insignificant cow flatulence?

Rather than taxing farmers for involuntary cow emissions, the government, as well as the EPA, should provide dairy companies and cattle ranches with medication to reduce the amount of gas produced by cows. Recently, a new medication, or “Beano” for cattle if you will, has been developed that neutralizes cow's intestinal gas before it can escape the cow. According to the article “Cow Farts and Global Warming” by Darlene McFarlane, as more and more farmers begin giving their cows this medication, the effect will be as great as retiring one million cars from our roads. Even though cow emissions may seem harmless, the methane gas and carbon dioxide continually released into the atmosphere brings harm to the ozone layer and promotes global warming. Taxing farmers for this natural, bodily function will never solve the problem that cow farting and burping bring to the atmosphere, but finding medication to reduce cows’ intestinal gas will certainly help “moo-ve” the Greenhouse Effect into a positive direction.





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