For Immediate Release:
8 June 2016

Taxing ‘Flesh Foods’ Is a Fair Way to Ease Health Burden

Auckland – After the announcement that taxes on tobacco will increase by almost 50 per cent by 2020 in New Zealand, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia has written to New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English asking him to consider taxing meat instead.

Last year, researchers from the University of Auckland, the University of Otago and the University of Oxford found that a 20 per cent tax on major dietary sources of saturated fat alone could prevent up to 1,500 early deaths. A few months later, the World Health Organization classified processed meats as carcinogenic to humans, placing bacon, ham and sausage right alongside cigarettes as products that incontrovertibly harm human health, while red meats are “probably carcinogenic”.

“If the New Zealand government is serious about saving lives and cutting health costs, we must target drumsticks as well as ‘cancer sticks’,” says PETA Australia Associate Director Ashley Fruno. “Vegetarians are less prone to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, and a tax on flesh foods would prove that the government is willing to target all unhealthy habits and does not discriminate against smokers.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – notes that taxing flesh foods would also save the lives of millions of animals and lower the greenhouse-gas emissions caused by animal agriculture.

PETA’s letter to Minister of Finance Bill English is available here.

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