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More countries may have to consider a meat tax: report

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The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return says meat's negative environmental and health impacts mean it's heading on the same path as sugar, carbon and tobacco

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London, UK – As more countries implement the Paris Agreement, a meat tax may be something we’ll hear more of, says the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) investor network.

In a statement, FAIRR says “negative environmental and health impacts of high meat consumption will put meat on the same pathway to taxation as goods such as sugar, carbon and tobacco.”

The conclusion comes from a FAIRR report called The Livestock Levy: Are Regulators Considering Meat Taxes?

Click here for the executive summary.


The report warns “that the growing evidence of the meat industry’s harmful impacts on both human health and the environment make the imposition of a ‘behavioural (or sin) tax’ on meat products increasingly likely if countries are to fulfil their commitments to the Paris Agreement.”

The statement says countries such as Denmark and Sweden are already debating the issue of a meat tax.

FAIRR says its report also looks at how other “sin taxes” have affected products such as sugar, carbon and tobacco, and found that “meat is on the same path that led these goods to become the target of stand-alone taxes.”

The report adds that more countries around the world are coming to a consensus regarding meat’s negative contributions to climate change and global health epidemics.

In fact, says FAIRR research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. “has found that the livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the World Health Organization has ranked processed meats as a cause of cancer.”

One solution FAIRR says companies could adopt is a program similar to internal carbon pricing. In other words, companies could adopt “an internal ‘shadow price’ of meat to account for future costs.”

The FAIRR report also highlights research from Oxford University that found “if animal proteins were cut completely from global diets around US$1.6 trillion would be saved in health and environmental costs by 2050.” The Oxford research also found that a shift to “nutritionally balanced plant-based diets by 2050 would avoid US$600 billion in climate damages and US$1 trillion in healthcare expenses associated with treating diet-related chronic diseases.”


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