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Red meat could be next sin tax after sugar, says Fitch

Red meat/Bloomberg

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The research group said that the idea is still its infancy and faces a lot of opposition from farming groups, but it’s emerging as a trend in Western Europe.

Wednesday 14, August 2019

Fitch Solutions said that red meat could be a target for higher taxes given criticism of the industry’s role in climate change, deforestation and animal cruelty, reported Bloomberg.

If taxes gain traction, it could encourage more people to switch to poultry or plant-based protein and help drive the popularity of meat substitutes.

“The global rise of sugar taxes makes it easy to envisage a similar wave of regulatory measures targeting the meat industry, however, it is highly unlikely that a tax would be implemented anytime soon in the US or Brazil,” Fitch Solutions said.

In Germany, some politicians have proposed raising the sales tax on meat products to fund better livestock living conditions.

Goldsmiths, University of London, announced that it’ll stop selling beef on campus as part of a push to combat climate change earlier this week. The decision was met with opposition from the UK’s National Farmers Union, which sais it was overly simplistic to single out one food product as a response to global warming.

Taxes on meat and sugar have long been controversial. Shortly after coming into office in July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested he would abolish the UK’s tax on sugary drinks and said there are better ways to address obesity.

Fitch said prices of pork and beef in Western Europe are relatively low, so any added tax would have to cause a big change in retail prices to change customer buying habits.

In a report this month, the United Nations said that agriculture, forestry and other land use contributes about a quarter of greenhouse emissions.

The meat industry has also been under fire after studies linked to eating too much red and processed meat to illnesses ranging from heart disease to cancer.

Fitch Solutions linked these concerns to the health issues that prompted the sugar tax saying, a meat tax could, therefore, emerge as a policy sibling to the sugar tax, supported on the basis that meat does play a role in a balanced diet but over-consumption is a public health issue.

 

TAGS : Red meat , sugar tax, sin tax, Fitch Solutions

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