Meat tax 'inevitable' as society becomes more concerned about impact on health and enviroment, analysts warn

In future meat could be subjected to the similar levies to tobacco and carbon emissions, report says

A thing of the past? Analysts say people will look at the meat the same way they do tobacco and sugar
A thing of the past? Analysts say people will look at the meat the same way they do tobacco and sugar

“Sin taxes” on meat to fight climate change and protect human health, according to analysts.

The meat and livestock industry currently causes 15 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions and is partially responsible for deforestation as land is given over to rearing cattle.

In addition more and more people are consumes higher levels of meat than their parents – especially in countries experiencing rapid economic development where eating meat, such as China, is regarded as a status symbol.

This is already having a massive impact on human health as the World Health Organisation declared that processed meat was carcinogenic. It has been linked with many forms of cancer and increased risk of heart disease.

A new report from the investor network Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (Fairr) Institute says meat would in future likely be subjected to the same levies as tobacco and carbon emissions.

Meat taxes have already been proposed by politicians in Germany, Sweden and Denmark while China has already cut its recommended maximum meat consumption by 45 per cent.

The founder of Fairr, Jeremy Coller, told the Guardian: “If policymakers are to cover the true cost of human epidemics like obesity, diabetes and cancer, and livestock epidemics like avian flu, while also tackling the twin challenges of climate change and antibiotic resistance, then a shift from subsidisation to taxation of the meat industry looks inevitable.

“Far-sighted investors should plan ahead for this day.”

The analysis shows nations begin to introduce the so-called sin taxes when a consensus forms that a product is harmful.

The authors found more than 180 jurisdictions had taxes on tobacco and more than 60 taxed carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, following an upsurge of concern about the corrosive impact of sugar on diet since the start of the decade, at least 25 per cent of jurisdictions impose a sugar tax.

Rob Bailey , the Research Director on the environment at Chatham House, said: “It’s only a matter of time before agriculture becomes the focus of serious climate policy.

“The public health case will likely strengthen government resolve, as we have seen with coal and diesel. It’s hard to imagine concerted action to tax meat today, but over the course of the next 10 to 20 years, I would expect to see meat taxes accumulate.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in