Pacific leaders are appealing to Australia to do something about greenhouse-gas emissions. Our own children are striking to protest inaction. It’s time to tax meat.
A new research report suggests that meat could be targeted for higher taxes, given the industry’s role in climate change, deforestation, and cruelty to animals. “The global rise of sugar taxes makes it easy to envisage a similar wave of regulatory measures targeting the meat industry,” Fitch Solutions, a financial information services company, said.
The idea is taking off in Europe, where German politicians are voting to remove the VAT discount on meat. A report in the scientific journal The Lancet estimated that reducing meat consumption would result in the prevention of more than 11 million premature deaths each year, cut greenhouse-gas emissions, and help preserve land, water, and biodiversity. The report added that unhealthy eating currently causes more death and disease worldwide than unsafe sex as well as alcohol, drug, and tobacco use combined.
We tax sugar, tobacco, and alcohol because of the damage they do to human health, and we should tax meat likewise. In addition, reducing meat consumption would also lessen the appalling cruelty of the meat industry, in which many cows are branded with hot irons, their horns are cut or burned off, and males’ testicles are ripped out of their scrotums – all without pain relief.
It’s time to tax meat – or better still, ban it altogether.