Why do some environmental interest groups want animal products to be taxed by the same “sin tax” as other harmful commodities such as sugar, tobacco, and carbon?
The Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR) Initiative reported that meat consumption increased by over five times between the years 1992 and 2016. Most of us don’t realize that it is linked to greenhouse gas emissions, obesity throughout the globe, possible cancer, deforestation, degradation of the soil, and that taxing meat could offset some of the health and environmental problems that exist.
Lauren Compere, Boston Common Asset Management’s managing director, says that, as an environmentally minded investment group, they have noted that Sweden, Denmark, and Germany are considering legislation regarding a meat tax. She feels that the problems that are associated with increased meat production can be helped by decreasing the consumption, which would also result in savings in health costs and also reduce degradation of the environment. She suggests that the revenue generated by such a tax could be spent on the improvement of the education for consumers to educate them on good nutrition and giving them detailed information on diets that are plant-based.
However, Kevin Boon, B.C. Cattlemen’s Association’s general manager, is not convinced that the money from such a tax on meat would be of help to change the industry and that pointing a finger at just one commodity creates too narrow a view. His argument is that it is the expanding population in the world that is creating the increased demand for food, including meat.
Boon feels that a very close look would have to be done before putting a tax on a food product of any kind that is recognized in the Canadian Health Guide as being essential for a balanced diet.