Give Us Some Credit: We Can Handle a Meat Tax for the Greater Good
There are many reasons to be skeptical of the public’s reaction to change, especially if it means giving up or paying more for things they enjoy. The idea of instituting a tax on meat comes with a great amount of concern, yet a new Chatham House survey shows that governments may, in reality, have nothing to fear.
Thanks to Cowspiracy and other movements to broaden our understanding of animal agriculture impact, we all know that factory farming is the top man-made contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Creating a plan to encourage less meat-eating, more vegetarian foods in schools, hospitals, and in the military, and less subsidies to livestock producers just makes sense – yet surveys and focus groups from 12 countries show that the public would also be open to a tax on meat, if it meant a healthier planet. Lead author of the Chatham House study, Laura Wellesley, says:
“The idea that interventions like this are too politically sensitive and too difficult to implement is unjustified. Our focus groups show people expect governments to lead action on issues that are for the global good. Our research indicates any backlash to unpopular policies would likely be short-lived as long as the rationale for action was strong.”
If people cut their meat consumption to what is considered a “healthy” amount – about 70 grams per day – on a global scale, we would see a reduction in carbon emissions tantamount to an entire year’s worth of what the United States outputs each year. Those behind the research say that public education is the key to initiating real change for our health and the environment, as most people do not recognize the individual and global consequences from the burgers on their plates.
This probably means we should all be hosting Cowspiracy viewings in our hometowns. Let’s spread the word!
Photo credit: Flickr