Have you heard of the cow flatulence tax?
In 2009 the Danish Tax Commission proposed introducing a cow flatulence tax of $110 per cow per year. For the average farmer with 120 cattle, the tax would cost them DKK100,000 per year and raise DKK400 million from the whole cattle industry. The proposed tax aimed to reduce greenhouse gases while raising revenue to fund research on reducing greenhouse gases.
The Danish Tax Commission estimates that a cow emits four tons of methane yearly in burps and flatulence. Methane is a natural by-product of digestion, made by the microbes in an animal’s gut that break down and ferment the food eaten. Livestock is responsible for 20% of methane emissions.
After extensive lobbying from farming groups, the Danish cow flatulence tax was scrapped and never came into law.
In 2016 Denmark’s Ethics Council proposed implementing a 10% greenhouse tax on all red meat production. The council said, ‘cattle alone account for some 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the production of food as a whole makes up between 19 and 29 per cent’.