The UK government has rejected the notion of a meat tax imposed in Britain which would see prices soar by up to 146%, stating it is ‘categorically not going to happen.’
According to a senior official, the British government has ‘no intention of putting a carbon tax on meat or other food products’.
But did we really think it would? Unfortunately, the UK government faces heavy lobbying from the meat and dairy industries so a meat tax was never really a possibility.
British farmers seem to be under the illusion that their industries are given ‘unfair criticism over its environmental impact’ when the reality is simply the opposite.
The UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) recently launched a £1.5 million campaign to encourage people to eat meat and dairy. Not only is the advert dangerous for the environment, but it spread misinformation about the health implications of consuming these products, and ignored the risk of deadly pandemics.
And to make things worse, the government invested £500,000 of taxpayer money into the campaign – demonstrated its support. So did we really expect the government to pay attention to the science?
‘Was it the right solution anyway?’
While experts in the UK Health Alliance have argued that “food that becomes significantly more expensive will also be much less in demand”, the reality is that a meat tax would only hurt the poorer in society.
Raising the prices would put the weight of environmentally conscious decisions on the shoulders of those who cannot afford to pay, and not society as a whole.
Many people on low incomes rely on cheap animal products to feed their families on a budget. Therefore, taking away these easy choices only puts poorer families closer to absolute poverty, while the richest in the nation continue to afford products which perpetuate the environmental disaster we are heading towards.
Moreover, low-income families are already struggling after the pandemic devastated the economy and school closures affected the free school meal initiative. So would it really be fair to impose further financial barriers on them?
Unfortunately, those well off would simply continue to purchase meat and dairy products so a meat tax isn’t really a viable solution to combatting the climate crisis. Instead, individual actions need to be coupled with wider changes such as restrictions on international companies directly causing the climate crisis.
What do you think?
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