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11 December, 2008 - Let’s Tax the Real Polluters!

It is five years ago this month that America’s cattle producers received an unwanted Christmas gift, the discovery of “the cow that killed Christmas”. The first case of Mad-Cow Disease was discovered here in the U.S. in the State of Washington.

Now, five years later, cattle producers and other producers of livestock and poultry could get another unwanted gift in the form of a tax on animals; and I have to choose my language carefully here, but I’m talking about animals that belch and pass gas. The bureaucrats in Washington are now talking about a Federal proposal to charge fees for ‘air-polluting’ animals. The proposal that is being floated would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 for each beef animal and $20 for each hog, and let me repeat, it would be an annual payment.

The Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton said the fee would cost owners of a modest-size cattle ranch $30 to $40 thousand dollars a year, and would bankrupt them. Ron Sparks, the Agriculture Commissioner in the State of Alabama put it very well when he said “This is one of the most ridiculous things the Federal Government has tried to do.” He said it will mean that “...we will let other countries put food on our tables, like they are putting gas in our cars, and other countries don’t have the health standards we have.”

Of course there are those who are applauding the EPA proposal and you can probably guess who is offering strong support...PETA. A spokesman in Washington for the People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals, said and I quote “It makes sense if you are looking for ways to cut down on meat consumption and recover environmental losses. We certainly support making factory farms pay their fair share.”

But Perry Mobley, Director of the Alabama Farmers Federation Beef Division said “Who comes up with this kind of stuff? Somebody who obviously doesn’t appreciate what it takes to put food on our tables”. And I am in total agreement with Ron Sparks of Alabama...This is a ridiculous idea!

Producers, be ready to fight this one and maybe part of our counter-attack should include the suggestion that we tax the bureaucrats for all the gas they pass when they dream up ideas like this one!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.