Thursday, October 20, 2005

How now brown cow! 

Or, "if I had two dollars for every cow..."
The story of Europe's pampered cows is a familiar one but always worth retelling. Each head of cattle in Europe gets a subsidy from the taxpayer worth $2.20 a day at a time when half the world's population - 3 billion people in all - scrapes by on an income of less that that. Rightly, the comparison has been a cause of outrage, and is one of the reasons why the European Union has been under pressure in the current round of global trade talks to make deep inroads into its absurd protectionist regime for agriculture.

Well, here's the stop press: the cows have had a pay rise. Calculations by Oxfam's Duncan Green for 2003 show that the average cow in the Dordogne or Lower Saxony can expect to have $2.62 a day lavished on it. The latest figures for 2003 show that the number of cows is down by 2 million but the total support for producers is up by $1bn to almost $19bn (10.7bn pounds).

(h/t: PSD Blog)