Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Meating of Minds?

A debate is developing about whether it would be a good idea to impose a tax on meat consumption (http://debatewise.org/debates/1178-the-eu-should-impose-a-special-europe-wide-tax-on-meat-consumption-to-help-save-the-planet/). Certainly, the numbers of animals being reared for meat production is said to be increasing at a rate of 2.4% per annum (compared to the human population said to be 'rocketing' at 1.2%). Meat is increasingly on the menu of most folk. Meat production animals are, however, major sources of 'greenhouse gases' (carbon dioxide and methane) and water course contamination but also 'waste' some of the energy from the grain they consume (energy is lost at each trophic level). Add to this, the fact that consumption of too much meat clearly has negative effects on human health (e.g. increasing the risk of heart disease) and it is not too surprising that Sweden is currently advocating a tax to reduce the amounts of this food in the diet. Somewhat counter-intuitively, many people (but not, perhaps, the politicians who may see this in terms of votes by interest groups?) apparently can see some logic in taxing things that are 'bad for us'. The money could be used to a) reduce greenhouse gas emissions and b) to treat the consequences of excess meat consumption. It would put meat on a similar basis to tobacco and alcohol. Personally, I like meat but do appreciate the need for moderation.

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