AgForce has hit back at “ridiculous” suggestions by the Federal Opposition that cattle and sheep producers pay a levy on methane emitted by their livestock to reduce carbon emissions.
North Queensland Region President Dominic Burden said the livestock industry felt it had been unfairly targeted as a major carbon producer, when in fact it had been steadily decreasing its carbon footprint for many years.
“It is unfair to target agriculture, which is responsible for such a small percentage of Australia’s carbon emissions, and which is on the path to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030,” Mr Burden said.
“Methane produced by livestock is responsible for just 1.5 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, and advances in animal husbandry, like feed additives and supplements, are further reducing this amount.
“It is not only unjust but entirely misguided to target graziers when many other activities – for example, power generation, sewerage treatment and transport – have so much more room to improve and offer greater opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.
“Agriculture is about the only industry that has substantially reduced emissions, whereas virtually every other sector of the economy has increased emissions over the last 25 years.
“Agriculture is contributing more than 80% of the total emission reduction contracted under the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) auctions.
“Were it not for our sector, Australia would have no chance at all of achieving its emission reduction targets.”
The media reports that the intent of the levy was to encourage Australians to alternative red meats like kangaroo which emit less carbon per kilo of product, but without thinking it all the way through.
“We believe in consumer choice, and if Australians want to eat their national icon, that is what the meat industry will provide,” Mr Burden said.
“However, beef, lamb, pork and other traditional meats remain the most popular choice for most Australian families as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
“Taxing cow burps and fluffs is a ridiculous idea that will make beef more expensive for Australian families.
“It is also unrealistic to change Australia’s diet to kangaroo meat: the number of kangaroos that can be harvested each year is strictly limited and there is no infrastructure to handle and process the animals on the scale that would be required to meet the country’s red meat demand.
“There are also significant animal welfare issues with transporting live kangaroos to meat processing plants.
“They just haven’t thought this through, so I think Skippy will be safe just for foreseeable future.”