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.
Table of Contents
- And the result of this new policy?
- Sugar Tax Worked Well in Europe
- Why is Red Meat Damaging The Planet?
- Video: Discussion on British TV about taxing Red Meat
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.
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: