For Immediate Release:

18 March 2020

Group Urges Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to Tax Animal Flesh to Lighten Health Burden, Combat Climate Change, and Spare Millions of Animals Misery and Slaughter

Canberra – As the coronavirus continues to put pressure on Australia’s health-care system and economy, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is again urging Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to consider introducing a meat tax. The move, the charity says, would contribute to the economy while encouraging Aussies to reduce their consumption of animal flesh, in turn reducing the incidence of preventable diseases such as heart disease and cancer – and easing the workload of medical professionals.

A study published last month concluded that eating two servings of red meat, processed meat, or poultry per week is linked to a 3% to 7% higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization has classified the consumption of processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”, meaning that, just like smoking cigarettes, eating bacon, ham, or sausages is incontrovertibly harmful to human health. Cancer Council Australia has stated that consuming just 700 grams of red meat per week carries an increased risk of colorectal cancer – the third leading cause of death in Australians aged 45 to 64.

“From protecting our health to limiting the effects of climate change and ending the horrific slaughter of over half a billion sentient beings each year, Australia needs to end its love affair with meat,” the letter reads. “As the coronavirus pandemic – ironically, born out of humankind’s obsession with eating animals – turns the government’s focus to the economy and health care, it’s simply logical to introduce a meat tax.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – notes that in addition to the impact on human health, the United Nations has acknowledged that raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”.

PETA’s letter to Frydenberg is available here.

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