The Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that livestock cause 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the World Health Organization has said that processed meats increase the risk of cancer.
A tax on meat is being considered to reduce the negative impact that its consumption has on climate change, water pollution, deforestation and diseases like obesity, cancer or diabetes. He also noted climate change, antibiotic resistance and "livestock epidemics" are caused by meat production and consumption.
A new analysis from investor network Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (Fairr) Initiative argues that meat is therefore now following the same path as tobacco, carbon emissions and sugar towards a sin tax, a levy on harmful products to cut consumption. Over 180 jurisdictions tax tobacco, more than 60 tax carbon emissions, and 25 tax sugar.
Countries such as Sweden and Denmark have already looked into a meat tax, or "livestock levy".
Almost 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock
Jeremy Coller, founder of the FAIRR Initiative, said: "If policymakers are to cover the true cost of livestock epidemics like avian flu and human epidemics like obesity, diabetes and cancer, while also tackling the twin challenges of climate change and antibiotic resistance, then a shift from subsidisation to taxation of the meat industry looks inevitable". "Far-sighted investors should plan ahead for this day".
Meat tax - analysis suggests it could very well become a reality. "It's hard to imagine concerted action to tax meat today, but over the course of the next 10 to 20 years, I would expect to see meat taxes accumulate".
Another, more promising option is the nascent but fast-growing industry in plant-based meat alternatives, such as the meat-free Impossible burger. While meat can be healthy when eaten in small, high-quality quantities, the way in which most is now produced and consumed is neither healthy nor sustainable. Bill Gates has invested, and major meat and dairy companies are now piling in with investments and acquisitions. When Mexico imposed a special tax in 2014 on sugary drinks, it lowered per capita consumption of those beverages by 6 percent in 2014, 8 percent in 2015 and 11 percent in the first half of 2016, according to Mexico's National Institute of Public Health.
Director of Fairr, Maria Lettini explained that by "replacing meat protein with plant-based protein" and swaying even the most committed carnivores onto more plant-based eating, "we are changing the world".
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