The [Australian] Carbon Sense Coalition today called on all farmers and those who eat farm products to raise their voices in opposition to the silly proposals of Australian and New Zealand governments to include emissions and motions from farm animals as a taxable carbon emission. The chairman of "Carbon Sense" Mr Viv Forbes, claimed that New Zealand has already agreed to include farm animal emissions in their taxable emissions output and Prof Garnaut is also thinking of driving Australian farmers to the Kyoto bail for a similar milching. "We smart farmers in the South Pacific must have the longest cows in the world - they feed on farms in Queensland and Queenstown and are about to be milked in Canberra and Wellington.
Forbes, who is an animal breeder, pasture manager and soil scientist, said he could not believe the lack of noise from farm groups and consumers on this matter. "Any farmer would know that no cow, sheep, pig or goat has yet managed to create carbon out of nothing. Nor do they eat fossil fuel. Every bit of carbon sequestered in meat, bones, wool and milk, or expelled in solid, liquid or gaseous animal waste, was extracted from the air by the pastures and grain crops the animals ate. Pastures, crops and soil fungi live on carbon dioxide, the universal plant food from the atmosphere, and water and minerals from the soil. Ultimately, all carbon in the food chain comes from the air (apart from some artificial "foods" made from coal or petroleum derivatives, and very minor soil humus derived from oxidised coal or oil shale).
"This carbon extraction process starts the day the animal is conceived and ceases on the day it dies. This is the carbon food cycle we all live by. "In fact all farm animals should get a carbon credit, because they sequester part of the carbon extracted from the air in bones, meat, milk and wool. Much of this carbon then gets transferred to the bones and flesh of the growing human population, and eventually gets sequestered in sewerage (often, unfortunately, on the sea floor), bones in the coffins, and soil in the cemeteries. This is a proven process which provides more secure and far cheaper carbon sequestration than some of the billion dollar schemes being investigated. "In this respect grazing animals are just like trees; both sequester CO2 for their lifetimes, sometimes much longer.
"Of course other parts of the food chain generate net carbon emissions for agricultural machines, processing, chemicals and transport. Each of these activities would attract its own carbon tax. None are essential elements in the raising of domestic animals - the essentials are soil, water, grass and the atmospheric gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide.
"No matter how you do the sums, farm animals cause a net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Thus they should get a carbon credit, certainly not a carbon tax. "We all know the moon is made of green cheese. It is time to educate politicians that "All cows are also green".
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