Thursday, August 25, 2022

Study proposes meat tax

The University of Chicago press has printed an article calling for a tax of 20 to 60 per cent on meats to improve the environment and counter climate warming.

The article says direct regulation at the farm level is the best approach, but a meat tax ranks second and is more likely to be adopted by politicians.

The writers assessed the public, behavioral and welfare economics that motivate regulatory efforts to tax meat in their study, including:

• the interaction of multiple environmental externalities

• alternative protein technologies

• the adverse effects of meat consumption on one’s own health (health internality)

• animal welfare

• distributional effects

According to the article, the main environmental externalities from livestock farming are climate change, nutrient and air pollution and biodiversity loss.

These environmental externalities equate to the following total costs suggested to be added to the current retail price of each meat:

• $2.61 to $4.16 per pound for beef (depending on the amount of culled dairy cows' meat)

• $1.68 per pound for lamb and mutton

• 88 cents per pound for pork

• 68 cents per pound for poultry

These added costs would increase the cost of meat by 20 to 60 percent, depending on the type.