More Taxes, Please!

With the April 15 tax deadline looming, most Americans have had their fill of taxes, but there’s at least one more tax I would like to see: An excise tax on meat. Taxing chicken, turkey, pig, fish, and cow flesh will help save animals, halt climate change and other environmental problems, and reduce Americans’ skyrocketing health care costs by prompting people to eat less meat.

Consumers already pay a federal excise, or “sin,” tax on cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline to help offset their health and environmental costs, yet although meat is a leading cause of climate change and a known health hazard, it has gotten off tax-free.

A 2006 United Nations (U.N.) report concluded that the meat industry is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” Beef production alone uses more water than is used to grow our entire fruit and vegetable crops. More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S. are used to raise animals for food. According to the U.N., farmed animals generate more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s transport combined.

Meat, eggs, and dairy products are the only dietary sources of cholesterol; animal products are also the largest source of saturated fat. The American Dietetic Association acknowledges that people who eat animal products are more likely to be overweight than people who do not. Numerous studies have shown that there is a definitive correlation between meat consumption and heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers. A 2006 Harvard study even indicated that people who frequently eat grilled skinless chicken have a 52 percent higher chance of developing bladder cancer than people who do not.

The U.S. spends more money on health care than any other nation and is one of the largest consumers of meat. (According to The New York Times, Americans eat twice as much meat as the average person worldwide.) It isn’t fair for millions of healthy vegetarian Americans to have to pick up the tab (through higher health insurance premiums) when meat-eaters get sick. A meat tax would bring more fairness to the tax system. The revenue could be used to fund educational programs about the health and environmental benefits of not eating meat.

Considering that animals pay with their lives when people eat meat, meat-eaters should at least have to pay a few cents more for meat. It will give them yet another incentive to choose vegetarian foods. Please go here to personalize an automated message to members of Congress, asking them to implement an excise tax on meat. By making people pay more for meat, Congress can help save animals and the environment, and maybe even some meat-eaters’ lives.

94 comments

Dan Factor
Dan Factor6 years ago

At a time when the cost of living is rising higher and higher and those on the lowest incomes are struggling to mak ends meet only the wealthy liberal midde classes would be those calling for price rises on the very bascis such as food ("tax meat"), clothing ("ban discount store clothing because all of it made using slave labour).
The main motivation behind the call for a tax on meat is the beleif of it's advocates that eating meat is immoral. Essentially what the animal rights/vegetarian lobby are calling for is for meat eaters to be punished for doing something they find abhorent.
All other concerns such as the health of the public and the environmental impact of meat production are a smokescreen.

"And Jessica, why should anyone respect your "rights" when the rights your trying to claim take the lives of another? This is NOT your right."

I've heard this kind of comment before from pro-veganists. That vegetaranism shouldn't be a matter of choice but a fact, that people shouldn't choose to become vegetarians but they should be MADE too. This is what this call for a tax on meat is about.

Also the article' writer's comments about why vegetarians should not have to pay for treatment for the health problems of meat eaters. That is a prime evidence of elitist health snobbishness..."why should have to pay for the health problems of disgusitng people who eat meat". Crude snobbishness is behind the vegan crusade as much as moral superority.

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Charles Temm JR
Charles Temm JR8 years ago

Have to love social engineers. No degree required, no common sense needed; just a desire to force others to do what you think is right and the means to apply said force.

Just tax everything you don't like and you also get the benefit of having stolen more wages to spend on supporting your own special interest groups! Wow, what a concept.

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Tierney G.
Tierney G8 years ago

I assume this idea came about to get people to consume less meat? I think we just need to keep educating people about how their meat is treated in factory farms and then at slaughter. I am a vegan, before that I was a vegetarian. I also ate meat and realize it is difficult to change habits. If people could please cut back on meat consumption or better yet keep writing and complaining to any one who will listen about stopping or ending the horrible mistreatment of animals raised for meat dairy and eggs it would help greatly. I never want to offend anyone with my views. I do not like it either. If meat eaters could please just think about the animals.

While it is true that animals eat other animals,what other choice do they have?

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megan m.
megan m8 years ago

yes, tax meat. I'd pay the taxes but I'm already a vegetarian.

jamie j, look at that stereotyping! when did this article become about abortion? you want to look at irony, how about all those "pro-lifers" being the ones who push for capitol punishment.
Yes, I know my friend Darwin who had his theory of Natural Selection bastardized by cutthroat capitalists into "survival of the fittest": The best are winners and deserve their rewards while the losers are obviously inferior and deserve nothing. A way for the rich to exploit the poor.
Actually his theory of natural selection is an explanation of how dominant traits arise as a result of environmental factors and constraints. Us humans in this modern age and being "at the top of the food chain", no longer have these constraints that would lead us to need to feed upon the lives of others for survival. It is purely an act of thinking that we are somehow above nature.
Well, we're not. But you go ahead with your narrow, angry, immature, exploitive, self destructive, and selfish mindset. I, however, actually have respect for the lives of others (except for people with your attitude) and for the health of my planet.

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Steven Wells
Steven Wells8 years ago

I chose not to vote in the poll associated with this article because what most people fail to remember is that we're ALREADY paying taxes on meat. It' s called the "massive" Dept of Agriculture meat inspection program.

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Jaime J.
Jaime J8 years ago

I find so much stupidity in pro choice people readily willing to kill a child, but not a cow! The irony!!! What about the woman's (or people's) right to choose? I choose to eat meat, and that choice shouldn't have a ridiculous tax on it. In fact, I even own a gun and hunt my own meat (oh no, what kind of "sin" tax should that get?) I would respect your decision to be a vegan, if you weren't so adamently against us omnivores; you make us look like murderers. We are the top of the food chain people...this is how nature works...remember your friend Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution and the survival of the fittest? Oh, nevermind...you left wing libs are all alike...everything you believe contradicts everything else you believe...silly me for thinking for once that might change! Hmm...I'm hungry, I think I will go eat a delicious juicy hamburger! Go PETA (people eating tasty animals)

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Lena Corkie Martino
Past Member 8 years ago

Jessica Robinson your post Apr 17, 2009 7:34 AM is right on!

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Lena Corkie Martino
Past Member 8 years ago

Samantha N. Your post Apr 17, 2009 10:55 AM
Is ridiculous and I disagree with your ridiculous and nonsensical explanation. You are obviously not aware that the "farms that produce "food animals" make their living by supply and demand. You could not tell my husband who is a complete carnivore that he could not have his steak, chicken or Italian sausages! Multiply my husbands demands for meat and you will have a lot more people demanding supply that the silly people countering this issue. It's true and you don't have to agree with me!

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Lena Corkie Martino
Past Member 8 years ago

Julie! Your Apr 17, 2009 5:35 AM post above is excellent! I agree.

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Samantha N.
Samantha N8 years ago

Lena, do you not understand the system of supply and demand? If even 5% of the world gave up meat tomorrow, this would reduce the need to farm that group of animals that would have been consumed, therefore LESS animals suffer.

Every veg*n saves approximately 110 animals a year. So if you don't eat them, less will be raised for food.

And Jessica, why should anyone respect your "rights" when the rights your trying to claim take the lives of another? This is NOT your right.

You respect my veganism? Congratulations, you're such a big person. What is so difficult about accepting that I don't eat rotting flesh, chicken ovulation or drink another animals milk, which is produced for their offspring.

Is there something morally offensive about my respect for life, that is so difficult to overcome? I've never understood why people seem so proud to "accept" our lifestyle. It's like being proud to accept that someone isn't a murderer and a rapist.

"I respect that you don't rape women, and then steal their breast milk, but please respect my choice to do so."

That's how stupid people sound.

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