Germany considers imposing ‘meat tax’ to protect the climate

Lawmakers in Germany said this week it might be time to raise the sales tax on meat in order to help protect the climate and improve animal welfare, according to EcoWatch:

“German politicians from the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens on Wednesday proposed raising the value added tax (VAT) on meat to the standard rate of 19%. Currently, meat is taxed at a reduced rate of 7%.

“‘I am in favor of abolishing the VAT reduction for meat and earmarking it for more animal welfare,’ said Friedrich Ostendorf, agricultural policy spokesperson for the Greens.

“His SPD counterpart Rainer Spieging added that: ‘a meat tax, such as increasing the VAT to 19%, could be a way forward.'”

Germany is a major consumer of meat products, Reuters notes:

“In the first half of 2019, abattoirs in Germany slaughtered 29.4 million pigs, cows, sheep, goats and horses, said the Federal Statistics Office.

Including poultry, they produced 3.9 million tonnes of meat, with pork – the main ingredient for a wide variety of sausages available throughout the country – topping the list.”

The environmental impact of meat production cannot possibly be overstated. Scientists say the meat industry is one of the largest emitters of CO2 gas, which has a direct impact on global climate change.

Recent studies also suggest that a meat tax is a very good idea, citing three main reasons:

  1. A meat tax is good for public health: “Animal products are the only dietary sources of cholesterol and are by far the largest sources of saturated fat in American diets.”
  2. A meat tax is good for the environment: “Scientists and world leaders increasingly agree that climate change is the biggest challenge humanity faces, and the meat industry is one of the world’s leading causes of it.”
  3. A meat tax is good for animals: “On today’s massive factory farms, animals are abused in horrible ways. Cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys are routinely mutilated without any painkillers and confined to filthy cages, sheds or feedlots for their entire lives.”

A spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) said the government was “open” to raising the VAT tax rate on meat.


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Andrew Bradford

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