In New Zealand, the government wants farmers to pay a tax for emissions from their livestock. This tax must contribute to the objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and to the reduction of methane emissions by 10% by 2030.
This sector of agriculture is responsible for more than half of the country’s emissions. This is mainly methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, which is released by the farts, burps and excrement of livestock.
The announcement sparked anger from New Zealand farmers who fear their business is at risk. Stu Muir, 52, runs a dairy farm in the Aka Aka hills in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. He is a fifth generation farmer in this area. Its ancestors arrived from Scotland in New Zealand at the beginning of the 19th century.
But Mr. Muir fears he will be the last professional farmer in his family: “The announcements that have been made have really taken a toll on our morale. You can’t put people out of business like that.”
Demonstrations took place in several cities across the country. Farmers gathered to slow down traffic on highways and major urban thoroughfares.
There are over 50,000 farms in New Zealand. Out of a population of 5 million, there are more than 10 million cows and 26 million sheep. The sector accounts for more than half of exports, with New Zealand being the world’s largest exporter of dairy products.