We’ve established that meat production doesn’t contribute positively to the environment, bar its products’ undeniably beautiful taste, smell, and sound (listen to that bacon sizzle).
While it’s true that a melt-in-your-mouth beef carpaccio brings a bite of romance to the world of food porn, perhaps it’s time to address meat as the luxury item that it is by assigning it a corresponding tax.
An article published in Nature Climate Change has brought forward this ‘meat tax’ idea for the simple reason that if meat is more expensive less of it will be bought and consequently less will need to be produced, ultimately resulting in reduced carbon emissions.
Scientists, Ripple, et al., explain in their article, “Influencing human behaviour is one of the most challenging aspects of any large-scale policy, and it is unlikely that a large-scale dietary change will happen voluntarily without incentives.” This tax would be the incentive.
It makes sense. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to change, sometimes we need a little nudge, that’s why plastic bag consumption in Wales has reduced by 80% in the two years since the 5p bag charge was introduced.
It works, that’s why an identical 5p charge on plastic bags is going to be introduced in England in 2015, so why wouldn’t it work for meat too?
PETA have called for a ‘sin’ tax to be put on meat, like that found on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol. The name, superfluous as it may be, does come with a valid meaning; despite creating the image of steak being grilled over the flames of hell, a ‘sin’ tax is implemented to balance out the health or environmental costs. Just as cigarettes have been linked to lung cancer, diets heavy in meat can cause heart disease. And petrol and meat farming both put a strain on the environment.
Whether a tax is imposed or not, meat should be treated as an indulgence (it tastes like one too). Keep that in mind this Meatless Monday.
- Climate change: Should meat be taxed? (greenfudge.org)
- Tax meat to cut methane emissions, say scientists (theguardian.com)
- Meatless Mondays: A Vegetarian Lifestyle (gotmeat.wordpress.com)