On April 25, 2016, The Denmark Ethics Council announced a proposed meat tax. This tax, initially applied to only beef products, will be in response to the country’s commitment to address the environmental issues contributing to climate change. The council maintains that this tax will help Denmark meet the demands of the legally binding agreement reached during the climate conference held in Paris last year. The hope is that by reducing the consumption of meat throughout the country, CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases (both large contributors to climate change) will subsequently be reduced.
Health Concerns and Environmental Issues
Denmark is one of the first countries to recognize both the health concerns and environmental issues associated with agriculture and the mass production of animal products for food. As we reported just last year, The World Health Organization released an analysisof bowel cancer in relation to the consumption of red and processed meats. The results showed strong evidence that humans are more susceptible to certain cancers, as well as consuming processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer by nearly 18 percent. There has also been conclusive evidencethat the consumption of animal products has an adverse affect on climate change. While Denmark’s meat tax only considers the consumer side of production, it is certainly a step in the right direction if we hope to address these issues on a global scale.
It remains to be confirmed if this tax will become a reality in Denmark. While the notion was supported by a large majority of the Denmark Ethics Council, it still needs to be passed through government. The future looks bright, as more people seem to be in support of this method of addressing the pressing environmental issues caused by agriculture.
Several European countries are considering this and other methods to reduce the consumption of meat and reduce emissions. These countries are finding that their citizens are more likely to support an initiative created in public interest. In the U.S however, this is not the case. An online poll conducted by the University of Worcester the day of the news of Denmark’s proposal showed that 88 percent of Americans who participated would be opposed to a meat tax.
Considering the health implications and environmental issues, what do you think? Should the U.S. government consider a meat tax, or explore other methods aimed at reducing the consumption of animal products? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.