The environmental cost of meat meals is much higher than vegan or vegetarian.
Should meat-eaters pay more for their food as a way to counter the environmental damage?
According to a new report, by a Dutch advocacy group, in order to reduce European CO2 emissions, a “sustainability charge” on meat products should be introduced.
The levy would lower meat consumption and encourage a shift towards plant-based diets.
The True Animal Protein Price Coalition (TAPP), says a tax on beef, pork and chicken could decrease meat-eating by 70 per cent till 2030.
“The plan is to increase the price of meat across the EU to reflect its environmental costs, including CO2 emissions and biodiversity loss,” says the report.
The initiative was supported by a majority of Dutch consumers (63%) in a survey, says the advocacy group.
Western Europeans are some of the highest consumers of meat in the world.
The average meat consumption has increased by approximately 20kg since 1961, with the average person consuming around 43kg of meat in 2014, according to UN data.
The new charge rate should be applied gradually for ten years, starting from next year, and it would increase the price of steak about 25%.
The charges on pork and chicken would be lower due to their smaller environmental impact. The report suggests the fees could reduce consumption of beef in the EU by 67%, pork by 57% and chicken by 30% by 2030.
It will help to reduce greenhouse emissions by 120m tonnes a year.
According to the report, the new taxes would raise 32 billion Euros a year for EU member states to cover the environmental impact of meat and help farmers and consumers produce and eat better food.
The money should be used to help farmers move their production away from meat, help to reduce the cost of fruit and vegetables, support low-income families and help developing countries deal with the climate crisis.