Taxing items that are seen as unhealthy or damaging to the environment is a common way for governments to raise money. Taxes already exist for tobacco, carbon emissions, and sugar. Meat might be the next target for governments wanting to get serious about climate change.
Global meat production is responsible for 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions according to the Food & Agriculture Organization. It is tied to deforestation and soil degradation, to contamination and excessive use of water supplies, to increasing antibiotic resistance.
Furthermore, many people already eat far too much meat, seriously damaging their health and incurring huge costs. While meat can be healthy when eaten in small, high-quality quantities, the way in which most is currently produced and consumed is neither healthy nor sustainable. Excessive meat consumption is linked to higher rates of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, many forms of cancer and increased risk of heart disease.
This debate is not new. Meat taxes are already on the agenda in Denmark, Germany, Sweden. China has already cut its recommended maximum meat consumption by 45% to fight obesity epidemic.
Meat consumption’s impact on the environment is a real issue and a serious challenge for our generation. Will the answer be a price hike? A tax? A tax that targets genetically modified or mass-produced meat only?
A little something to chew on during your next meal …