It looks like tax reform will be President Trump’s next effort. And while much will surely be discussed, we think there are two issues that need to be addressed immediately: government subsidies for the meat industry and the desperate need for a meat tax.
The United States government awards tax dollars to meat producers in the form of aid to growers of soybeans and corn, crops grown primarily as animal feed. And the benefits to meat producers don’t stop there. According to an article in the National Review, “They get bailouts when they overproduce, have their most costly business expense (feed) subsidized, get federally supervised dollars to market their products, and even get free research and development that they benefit from but for which they don’t pay a cent.”
Without taxpayer-funded subsidies, the prices of factory-farmed animal products would more closely reflect their true production costs. Such prices would exceed most Americans’ price point for products purchased on a daily basis.
And although we’re encouraged to eat more fresh produce, only a small fraction of federal food subsidies are provided to farmers growing fruits and vegetables for human consumption. The fact is, supporting the mass production of cheap factory-farmed meat promotes unhealthy eating habits. It also devastates the environment.
Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. Because of the environmental destruction caused by meat production, it’s time for leaders to develop a meat tax.
A 2015 study by the U.K. think tank Chatham House suggests that because meat is dangerous for human health and the planet, governments should tax it. The study shows that resistance to a meat tax would be short-lived, like resistance to cigarette taxes. People may balk initially, but provided the government offers a clear rationale, they will eventually accept the need for such a measure. (It’s worth noting that processed meats have been put in the same category of cancer risk as cigarettes.)
According to the study, the public is largely unaware of the link between climate change and dietary choices. “There is a considerable awareness gap around the links between livestock, diet and climate change,” the authors argue. “While awareness-raising alone will not be sufficient to effect dietary change, it will be crucial to ensuring the efficacy of the range of government policy interventions required.”
But getting people to eat fewer animal products isn’t just good for public health and the planet; it also spares countless animals a lifetime of misery at factory farms. Cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for food are just as smart and sensitive as the dogs and cats we adore at home. But at factory farms, animals are subjected to unimaginable cruelties: intensive confinement, agonizing mutilations, and violent deaths.
See for yourself.
While it’s frustrating that our leaders often overlook the cruelty and destruction associated with factory farming, you’re not powerless. You can join the millions of people taking a stand against the meat industry by switching to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here to get started.