A meat tax is a tax levied on meat and/or other animal products to help cover the health and environmental costs that result from using animals for food.[1][2] Livestock is known to significantly contribute to global warming,[3] and to negatively impact global nitrogen cycles and biodiversity.[4]


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The term meat tax can be used interchangeably with slaughter tax or carcass tax. The latter also highlights how the tax might be administered - including on the import of frozen carcasses. 'Slaughter tax' and 'carcass tax' are terms that are considered to make such a change in food taxation more popular with the general public.



Chatham House and Glasgow University, in a 2015 report titled "Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption" called for a tax on red meat.[5][6][7][8]

Adam Briggs from the University of Oxford conducted a study that concluded that putting a carbon tax on "high emission" foods (i.e. foods which have a high carbon footprint) such as meat could be a positive for both the planet and the health of U.K. consumers.[5][9]

Scientists William J Ripple et al. have suggested the pushing up of the price of meat through a tax or emissions trading scheme.[10][11]

Marco Springmann, from the Oxford University's Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food also proposed a tax on meat and dairy.[12]

Besides environmental concerns, health[13] and humanitarian concerns[14] have also acted as impetus for some proponents of meat tax. PETA has been calling for a tax on meat citing the negative effects of meat consumption on human health, the contribution of meat industry to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and the stressful and inhumane conditions under which animals are reared and slaughtered in factory farms.[15]

The Danish Council on Ethics[16] has called for a tax on meat in Denmark.[17]

In 2017, the meat industry's Farm Animal Investment & Return (FAIRR) Initiative reported that meat tax was becoming "increasingly probable".[18]

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency mentions a meat tax as an instrument to achieve a reduction in meat consumption [19]


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Some opponents[who?] to meat taxation consider it regressive and authoritarian, or doubt some of the health and economic claims, or do not feel it is properly inclusive of total costs over the long term.[20][21]


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See also


  1. ^ Wirsenius, Stefan; Hedenus, Fredrik; Mohlin, Kristina (2011-09-01). "Greenhouse gas taxes on animal food products: rationale, tax scheme and climate mitigation effects". Climatic Change. 108 (1): 159–184. Bibcode:2011ClCh..108..159W. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9971-x. ISSN 1573-1480. S2CID 154360497.
  2. ^ Franziska Funke; Linus Mattauch; Inge van den Bijgaart; H. Charles J. Godfray; Cameron Hepburn; David Klenert; Marco Springmann; Nicolas Treich (19 July 2022). "Toward Optimal Meat Pricing: Is It Time to Tax Meat Consumption?". Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. 16 (2): 219–240. doi:10.1086/721078. S2CID 250721559. animal-based agriculture and feed crop production account for approximately 83 percent of agricultural land globally and are responsible for approximately 67 percent of deforestation (Poore and Nemecek 2018). This makes livestock farming the single largest driver of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, nutrient pollution, and ecosystem loss in the agricultural sector. A failure to mitigate GHG emissions from the food system, especially animal-based agriculture, could prevent the world from meeting the climate objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement, and complicate the path to limiting climate change to well below 2°C of warming (Clark et al. 2020).
  3. ^ Hedenus, Fredrik; Wirsenius, Stefan; Johansson, Daniel J. A. (2014-05-01). "The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets". Climatic Change. 124 (1): 79–91. Bibcode:2014ClCh..124...79H. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1104-5. ISSN 1573-1480.
  4. ^ Funke, F.; Mattauch, L.; van den Bijgaart, I.; Godfray, C.; Hepburn, C.; Klenert, D.; Springmann, M.; Treich, N. (2022-01-10). "Is Meat Too Cheap? Towards Optimal Meat Taxation". INET Oxford. Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  5. ^ a b Heikkinen, Niina. "A Carbon Tax on Meat?". Scientificamerican.com. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Reducing meat consumption critical to achieving global climate goal". Chathamhouse.org. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ "It's Time to Put Meat on the Climate Negotiating Table". Chathamhouse.org. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption". Chathamhouse.org. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  9. ^ Briggs, Adam D. M; Kehlbacher, Ariane; Tiffin, Richard; Scarborough, Peter (2016). "Simulating the impact on health of internalising the cost of carbon in food prices combined with a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages". BMC Public Health. 16: 107. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2723-8. PMC 4738773. PMID 26837190.
  10. ^ Vaughan, Adam (20 December 2013). "Tax meat to cut methane emissions, say scientists". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. ^ Ripple, William J; Smith, Pete; Haberl, Helmut; Montzka, Stephen A; McAlpine, Clive; Boucher, Douglas H (2014). "Ruminants, climate change and climate policy". Nature Climate Change. 4 (1): 2–5. Bibcode:2014NatCC...4....2R. doi:10.1038/nclimate2081.
  12. ^ Springmann, Marco; Mason-d'Croz, Daniel; Robinson, Sherman; Wiebe, Keith; Godfray, H. Charles J; Rayner, Mike; Scarborough, Peter (2016). "Mitigation potential and global health impacts from emissions pricing of food commodities". Nature Climate Change. 7 (1): 69–74. Bibcode:2017NatCC...7...69S. doi:10.1038/nclimate3155. S2CID 88921469.
  13. ^ Boutron-Ruault, Marie-Christine; Mesrine, Sylvie; Pierre, Fabrice (2017). "Meat Consumption and Health Outcomes". In Mariotti, François (ed.). Vegetarian and Plant-Based Diets in Health and Disease Prevention. pp. 197–214. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-803968-7.00012-5. ISBN 978-0-12-803968-7.
  14. ^ Cordts, Anette; Nitzko, Sina; Spiller, Achim (2014). "Consumer Response to Negative Information on Meat Consumption in Germany" (PDF). International Food and Agribusiness Management Review. 17 (A): 83–106.
  15. ^ "Tax Meat". Peta.org. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  16. ^ "The Danish Council on Ethics". Etiskraad.dk. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Danish Proposal Calls For Tax On Meat To Fight Climate Change - CleanTechnica". Cleantechnica.com. March 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  18. ^ "CLIMATE TAX ON MEAT BECOMING 'INCREASINGLY PROBABLE' - FAIRR". Fairr.org. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2019-03-06.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Bourne, Ryan (2018-11-12). "Against A Highly Regressive "Meat Tax"". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  21. ^ "A meat tax is a rotten, regressive idea". Washington Examiner. 2018-12-19. Retrieved 2019-02-12.