Utne Blogs > Environment

The Meat Tax

by Staff


Tags: environment, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, meat, tax, vegetarian, health,

Further fueling suspicions that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals dreams up campaigns by asking conservatives, “What would tick you off the most?” Stratton Lawrence of the Charleston (South Carolina) City Paper reports that the group is lobbying for a 10-cents-a-pound federal meat tax.

PETA likens this “sin tax” to ones already “placed on tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline for their costly effect on the environment and public health,” Lawrence writes. Revenue from this proposed bill (that will never, ever pass) would fund education about the benefits of eating less meat.

“Even though the average American adult would only pay $20 more per year with this tax, it would encourage reduced meat consumption,” PETA’s Ashley Byrne tells Lawrence. “That could save a family thousands in health care costs.”

In pairing the word “meat,” considered icky by most vegetarians, with “tax,” perhaps the most hated word in the English language, PETA, in typical fashion, seems to be saying: Let’s see how polarized this thing can get. Supply-side might be a better place to start—by raising industry standards for environmental remediation or, as one small livestock farmer suggested to Lawrence, by rolling back the huge government subsidies being handed away to factory farms.

Jason Ericson