“The Cow Fart Tax” proposal was first raised in 2007 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act of 1970 authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that endanger public health. Animal gases, which account for 18% of the Earth’s greenhouse emissions, fall under this Supreme Court ruling. If enacted, the tax will require farms with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog. “It would take away 80 percent of my net profit per cow. So, instead of making $216 per cow, it would bring me down to $40 a cow, and of course that would hurt everything else in my income stream,” says dairy farmer Joe Gonzalez. Naturally, this means that the price of milk, cheese, and meat will spike significantly for consumers if the tax is levied.
Will “The Cow Fart Tax” pass? Due to angry outcries from the farming community and the already haphazard economic state, it is unlikely this tax will be passed this year. However, “The Cow Fart Tax” controversy has brought animal farming’s negative environmental impact to the forefront of the American public’s attention. Even consumers who can rationalize condoning the brutal mistreatment of animals by dairy and meat producers cannot ignore scientific evidence that these industries are harming our environment. This controversial tax proposal may not pass today, but it is certainly a strong indicator that purchasers of animal products may soon be financially penalized for their thoughtless consumerism.