Scientists have recommended governments across the globe impose a meat tax to save thousands of lives and huge amounts in healthcare expenditure.
The research from the University of Oxford, which was published in health journal PLOS, concluded a meat tax on pork, beef and lamb would save the UK alone £734m in healthcare and 6,000 lives a year.
A tax would reduce red meat intake and prevent heart attacks, strokes and cancers, according to researchers.
The suggested tax rise for the UK would be 14 percent added to red meats and 80 percent to processed meats. Estimates suggest this could add more than 50 percent to the price of a fry-up.
Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, said: “The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high and middle-income countries.
“This is having significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems, which are taxpayer-funded in many countries, and on the economy, which is losing its labour force due to ill health and care for family members who fall ill.”
The UK results were only one portion of the study. If every country in the world introduced a tax it would save 220,000 lives and $40bn in healthcare, according to research.
“Nobody wants governments to tell people what they can and can’t eat,” Springmann continued.
“However, our findings make it clear that the consumption of red and processed meat has a cost, not just to people’s health and to the planet, but also to the healthcare systems and the economy.”
Meat-eaters were predictably upset by the proposal. Former Editor of Loaded magazine Martin Daubney suggested a ‘tax on vegans’ on the Jeremy Vine Show, instead of the red meat tax.
He said: “I’d like to flip this on its head and say that we should tax vegans. I’ll tell you why. Because this is absolute nonsense.
“The 6,000 deaths per year – they don’t live forever. They’re not like Doctor Who. They just die of something else.
“The £70million saved isn’t saved because if you look at the age that we die at now we’re getting older and the longer we live the more expensive we are to the NHS. Two-fifths of the NHS budget goes on the over 65s.”
The research supports numerous studies which conclude that red meat can increase chances of heart problems, strokes and cancers.
The results simply show in plain numbers what a huge difference a tax can make to the economy and more importantly, people’s lives.
The reaction from meat-eaters has been one of outrage, with claims the government would be interfering in our lives too much by introducing a tax.
But this approach is short-sighted. Yes, people can spend their money on what they want, but taxes should reflect the strains a product has on society.
Would it be any different from current taxes on alcohol and tobacco? Is an 80% tax on processed meat so scandalous when evidence suggests it will save thousands of lives?
Processed meats are shockingly cheap partly due to the horrific suffering many animals endure in their creation.
Red and processed meats cause human death, damage to the environment and suffering to animals. Surely a tax can only be a good thing.
- Read: 11,000 scientists declare meat consumption is one of the leading causes of the looming climate crisis
What do you think about the proposed red meat tax? Tell us in the comments section below!
Vegan culture, food, beauty & more
- Mohsina Dodhiya
- 26th October 2020
“As more people go vegan and vegetarian, we want to make sure they can find love along the way with likeminded people.” Veggly, the top dating app for vegans and vegetarians, now has more than 200,000 members in over 181 countries. Within a year, membership on the app, which is extremely popular among adults in …
Newly launched Veggie Challenge App to help you go plant-based with meal plans, tips, recipes and more
- Mohsina Dodhiya
- 3rd September 2020
‘The ProVeg Veggie Challenge App makes it easier than ever to try a more plant-based diet,’ says the organization. ProVeg has launched an app to help more people transition to a plant based lifestyle. A leading international food awareness organization-ProVeg, states that there has ‘never been a better time to explore your food choices’ especially …
All the quizzes you love to binge!
- Marlon Farrugia
- 10th January 2020
How much vegan knowledge do you have stored away? Do you have to Google your way through a shopping trip, or do you have all the bad E-numbers memorised? Find out now with this quiz. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and …
- Marlon Farrugia
- 13th October 2019
Spook Season approaches. There will be ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and glucose. You need a costume, and you want to it to show off your personality, which means VEGAN. But what to choose? Take our quiz to find out your perfect outfit. Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a …
- Marlon Farrugia
- 26th September 2019
“If you were a vegetable, what kind would you be?” A question that has tormented humanity throughout the ages – until now. Read: QUIZ: If you score 19/20 on THIS quiz, you’re a Vegan God Marlon Farrugia Marlon Farrugia is a freelance writer from Brighton. He has been a dedicated vegan for many years, and …