Germany Considers Higher Meat Tax To Fight Climate Change

German politicians are planning to increase taxes on meat considering a number of issues such as climate change and animal welfare. Sausage-loving Germans may soon find themselves paying more for their favorite meat-based food.

Meat in Germany is currently taxed at a rate of 7%. In early August 2019, Green and Social Democrat (SPD) politicians proposed to raise the Value-added tax (VAT) on meat to 19% reasoning that it would be a “way forward” for animal welfare.

Bratwurst
Bratwurst, a popular German sausage | Source – Heinens

Friedrich Ostendorf, the agricultural policy spokesperson for the Greens said “I am in favor of abolishing the VAT reduction for meat and earmarking it for more animal welfare.” The Social Democrats’ agricultural policy spokesperson Rainer Spieging added “a meat tax, such as increasing the VAT to 19 percent, could be a way forward.”

The agriculture spokesperson from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) commented that he was open to the idea under one condition. That is if the extra funds would be used to “support livestock farmers to help them restructure.”

A meat shop in Berlin, Germany
A meat shop in Berlin, Germany | Source – Business Insider

Livestock farmers have gained increased scrutiny over the years for how they treat livestock. So, if the proposal passes, the additional funds would certainly aid to improve the standards of animal welfare in Germany.

The Meat Industry And Climate Change

Scientists have shown that the meat industry is one of the highest carbon dioxide emitters. Experts are encouraging dietary changes on an individual level as the consequences of climate changes are becoming inevitable.

A study was conducted by several scientists from various European research institutes to investigate the effect of the global food system on climate change. According to Inhabitat, the study has recommended “an astounding 90 percent reduction in meat consumption and a 60 percent cut in milk consumption for people in countries such as the U.S. and U.K., as well as the adoption of more sustainable farming practices.” All for a “safe operating space for humanity.”

Professor Tim Benton of the University of Leeds says in the study, “Ultimately, we live on a finite planet, with finite resources. It is fiction to imagine there is a technological solution allowing us to produce as much food as we might ever want, allowing us to overeat and throw food away.”

As more people realize the dangers of climate change and the impact of meat consumption on it, it is only a matter of time till they give up on the meat. Of course, everyone will not contribute to this worthy cause. Fortunately, some will indeed prioritize saving the earth from climate change over their diet. But, will dietary changes alone be enough to stop the threat of climate change?

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