‘Meat Tax’ could be the answer

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.

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Taxing meat would put perspective on our daily indulgence

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

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Faggots: A misunderstood meat

First, a disclaimer, the term “faggots” is not in any way intended as an offensive term for a gay person (though the title does work ironically well in that context), but rather as a lovely foodstuff made from various animal inside-y bits.

There are many definitions for the word “faggot” and unfortunately the one that most quickly comes to mind is far more crude than the originally intended 13th century definition: “a bundle of twigs bound up”.

In this case, however, we’re talking about good old fashioned British faggots, a combination of all the offal (internal organs and entrails) you can imagine, mainly liver and sometimes heart, encased in bit of fat or skin and then roasted. Making their way onto the menus of many a Michelin star restaurant, they are the trendiest thing to be stuffing your face with right now.

You might say it’s the Welsh response to pâté. Delicious until you hear what’s in it, then suddenly you’d like it to be as far away from your mouth as possible, but offal is underrated. As bursting with health benefits as it is taste, livers got all the vitamin A you could want while kidneys are a great source of iron.

But even if you can’t stomach the taste, faggots are at least a source of humour. For all our American and Canadian friends who mouths still haven’t quite closed since reading the title, don’t worry, you aren’t the only ones who were shocked, the Canadian comedian Tom Stade enacts it perfectly.

You need to watch this:

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Meat is nice, but are we eating too much of it? Have a look at this video, it’s called SAMSARA Food Sequence:

If we keep consuming at the rate that we are then we might (probably, definitely) run out of meat. Then what are our options?

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Al Gore has become the latest celebrity to jump on the vegan bandwagon. The An Inconvenient Truth creator has been a vegetarian since the making of his documentary in 2006 and now he’s gone the whole hog (definitely not literally) and committed to veganism.

Farming didn't use to be all that bad. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library

Farming didn’t use to be all that bad. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library

Being a climate change fanatic, Gore’s reasons for his dietary change are probably environmental, which is admirable and honestly the only reason I would ever contemplate giving up meat (but not eggs, never eggs). Other celebrities on the vegan list cite different reasons for taking the step.

Russell Brand, one of my favourite people, was pushed over the vegetarian/vegan border by Forks Over Knives, a documentary exploring the negative impact meat has on our health.

But that’s not really fair is it, no offense Rusty but surely being sensible about the amount of meat you eat as well as the type of meat would be enough to keep yourself healthy (quality over quantity eh?). I’ve eaten meat my whole life and I don’t have diabetes.

The top reason for the move seems to be animal rights. Natalie Portman, formerly a vegetarian because she believes “animals have personalities” was turned onto the vegan view by Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals (read an excerpt here). The book does make some good points about animal cruelty in farming:

“I felt shame for living in a nation of unprecedented prosperity — a nation that spends a smaller percentage of income on food than any other civilization has in human history — but in the name of affordability treats the animals it eats with cruelty so extreme it would be illegal if inflicted on a dog.”

But again, that’s not really fair is it. What about organic farming? Livestock that are treated, I won’t say lovingly, but with respect. Foer calls free-range food labels “bullshit”, accusing the guidelines of not being strict enough. This may be true in some circumstances, but surely that means farming welfare restrictions should be more highly controlled rather than cutting out meat from our diet altogether.

To each their own…personally I like a bit of beef tartare on a Tuesday afternoon.

The big V

Aside

Easy Steak Recipe For Real Men’s Magazine

I’ve just re-stumbled across this hilarious piece by Anna Drezen, I loved it the first time and it’s still hilarious now!

Thought Catalog

by Dirk McDaniels

1. Go to the butcher. Look him dead in the eye and say “Meat.” If he’s a man worth half his salt, he’ll know.

2. Take that meat.

3. Kick your door open with your head. Go find the fire-room (kitchen, to the feminized).

4. Toss part of meat in an old iron skillet your grandfather gave you the day you shot your first buck. A flat stone covered in noseblood works, too.

5. Rub it with some red spice, a little beige spice, some green fucking leaves, and whatever liquid’s got your goat. This ain’t math. It’s sex. You’re having sex with the meat.

6. Have sex with the meat.

7. Cook the ever loving Christ out of it. Cook it, good God, your father saved the life of every man in his unit when he was your age, cook the god danged meat or hang…

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Meatless mondays

The Norwegian military are in conflict with a new enemy: Climate change.

It’s not just meat on your plate, keep in mind the consequences.
Image provided by dothegreenthing

While the United Nations holds it’s Climate Change Conference in Poland, the Norwegian army have committed to their own fight against our climate change problem by going vegetarian on Monday.

It might seem like an odd choice, but cutting out meat for only one day a week is expected to cut down the army’s meat consumption by 150 tonnes each year.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian military explained, “It’s a step to protect our climate. The idea is to serve food that’s respectful of the environment. It’s not about saving money. It’s about being more concerned for our climate, more ecologically friendly, and also healthier.”

According to The Future in Our Hands, a Norwegian environmental group, the average Norwegian eats more than 1,200 animals over the course of their life, including 1,147 chickens, 22 sheep, six cattle and 2.6 deer.

That’s a lot of meat, especially as farming is estimated to be responsible for at least 18% of greenhouse emissions, maybe more, Bill Gates thinks it could be closer to 51%

It’s a small change that could make a big one!

Would you ever give up meat for the environment? Let us know in the comments below.

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