A New Report Concludes: A Tax on Red Meat will Save Lives

A New report concludes: a tax on red meat will save lives

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When politicians talk about unhealthy products that can be found in a grocery store, they very often talk about tobacco and products that are filled with sugar and fat. Historically, most people haven’t been very good at connecting “red meat” and “health issues”. The importance of eating red meat is not only under-communicated but also underestimated.

In order to illustrate what I mean by that, we should look at some scientific evidence.

A new report from Springmann et al, published through PLoS One, looked at the link between the consumption of red meat and healthcare expenses. In other words: how much tax should we put on red meat in order to offset the cost of treating people with relevant diseases from a meat-heavy diet? It might not be the best explanation, but you get the point.

However, the conclusion in the report was pretty straight-forward and easy to understand. It suggests that we put a 20 % tax on unprocessed (raw) meat and 110 % tax on processed products such as bacon and sausages.

In other words: the tax payers are now paying an awful lot of money to the government owned hospital systems in order to take care of people who have eaten too much red meat.

A New Report Concludes: A Tax on Red Meat will Save Lives

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And the result of this new policy?

Not only could we save more than 200,000 animals annually. We would also be able to raise 170 billion USD in taxes. And, of course, save a lot of human lives as a direct consequence of less red meat consumption. The report actually predicts that people in rich countries would go from 7 meat portions down to 5 meat portions per week with the new taxation.

Marco Springmann, one of the leading scientists behind the study, has made a quick interview with The Guardian. He knows that people do not like to hear what they can and cannot eat – especially when they hear it from the government.

However, he also points out that red meat consumption is a totally voluntary act that has a huge impact on a country’s economy in terms of social benefits/healthcare cost. Quote:

“It is totally fine if you want to have [red meat], but this personal consumption decision really puts a strain on public funds. It is not about taking something away from people, it is about being fair”

Sugar Tax Worked Well in Europe

We know for a fact that government regulations on unhealthy products work. The higher prices on cigarettes, the fewer people will smoke them. And what happened in Norway and UK when the government added a high tax on sugar?

People consumed less.

In other words: we already know that these tax rates would be beneficial for society. We also know that putting a limit on red meat would help the environment as well.

Update in 2020: Sugar tax also works very well in Chile

It’s not only European countries that have seen success of increasing the prices of sugary drinks. A new report from Chile suggests that the same thing happens in South America.

According to this study from Taillie et al (2020), it was a stunning 23.7 % decrease in the number of sodas and other sugary drinks after the tax was implemented. In the exact same period, non-sugary drinks increased their sales with roughly 5 %.

Why is Red Meat Damaging The Planet?

Everyone that has seen the documentary “Cowspiracy” know that avoiding red meat and dairy products is the single most powerful way to reduce your impact on the environment. Several scientists have concluded that we need to see a significant reduction in meat consumption if we want to avoid the worst global warming scenarios. With that in mind, we know that a tax on red meat is probably the only way to go.

The same scientists also said how much the meat consumption needs to go down in the world in order to save the planet. Do you know how much?

We need to see a 90 % decrease.

Enough said.

Video: Discussion on British TV about taxing Red Meat

Piers Morgan is a quite controversial character. If you ask any Arsenal Football Club fan, he is the most deluded football supporter that you can find. And if you ask President Donald Trump, he is a very good friend. In other words: quite a guy!

He is also the presenter of a show called Good Morning Britain. This is a show where Piers Morgan and his colleagues often invite guests to discuss various topics. It might be a bit painful to watch, but this is how it went when they invited a Deputy Green Party leader to discuss meat tax:

4 thoughts on “A New report concludes: a tax on red meat will save lives”

  1. Avatar

    I do not believe that red meat will be the reason why I die.

    Also, if we are putting a tax on red meat, what are the poor people going to do? Stop to eat meat?

    I am against all types of taxation when it comes to this. The politicians just want more money to play around with and be corrupt. Who says that less meat will lead to less injuries or health issues?

    1. Avatar

      Hello Tom, I tend to slightly disagree with you on some of the points you’re making.

      1) You might not die from red meat, but an awful lot of people are.
      2) Tax is, by far, the most efficient way of controling what people are consuming.

      I believe that the sugar examples from Chile and Europe are great. They show that you can control a populations’ bad behavior by punishing people that want to put things into their body that is unhealthy. Alcohol, tobacco, sugar, processed meat, red meat…they are all really bad things for you. If you still want to consume them: fine! Just pay for it. 🙂

  2. Avatar

    I would argue that wrong people take the debate. If you look at that video, you can clearly see that Piers Morgan got ZERO idea what he is talking about. In fact, he got no arguments. However, since he is debating someone that are not very good with words, the person with the great argument is made to look like a fool.

    Now, this is happening because only people on the far-left are now highlighting global warming as a political issue. Every “normal”/mainstream politician simply don’t dare to touch this subject because they know that it would make them unpopular.

    The same things with Black Lives Matter: when stupid people go out and shout “RACISMMM!!!!!” , it destroy peoples impression of other organizations that actually do something good for the cause.

    1. Avatar

      Piers Morgan is very often criticized for being a bit too “up front” and honest. In certain debates, I actually tend to agree with him.

      However, he is very often wrong about environmental policies. If he doesn’t see the value in minimizing beef consumption, he is just plane wrong.

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