Cow tax could send businesses abroad

Ireland's attempts to meet the European Union's (EU) targets for climate change may see the government introduce a new "cow tax", it has been reported.

According to the Irish Times, Minister for Environment John Gormley has been told by senior officials that imposing a tax on livestock could help cut the number of cows bred in the country, thus reducing cattle farming’s significant carbon footprint.

The government agreed to the EU’s climate strategy, which requires Ireland to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 in comparison to 2005 levels.

However, Mr Gormley was also warned that measures to ensure the country is compliant could drive companies out of not only Ireland, but Europe.

The department of enterprise, trade and employment is concerned that the nation’s beef and dairy industry could up sticks and leave, with South America the likely destination.

“It is clear that auctioning of allowances poses a real threat that industry will relocate to countries outside the EU who do not require industry to pay for carbon,” it suggested in a memo to the news provider.

The UK’s Prince Charles is currently on a tour of South America to promote environmental awareness.

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