Taxing meat could help offset environmental, health problems, activists say

Some groups want to see animal products taxed similarly to tobacco, sugar and carbon

The steep climb in global meat consumption has environmental interest groups debating a “sin” tax on animal products.

Meat consumption grew by more than five times between 1992 and 2016 and has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, global obesity, rising rates of diabetes and cancer, soil degradation and deforestation, according to the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative.

The British activist group argues meat should join products like tobacco, sugar and carbon, which are often taxed because they are harmful to people’s health and the environment.

“We’ve seen an increasing trend toward intervention, especially in Europe, this idea of looking at sin taxes,” said Lauren Compere, managing director at Boston Common Asset Management, an environmentally minded investment group. She listed Denmark, Sweden and Germany as countries considering legislation toward a meat tax.

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