Meat taxation becomes a hot issue for Europeans
Two EU member states are considering adding a tax on meat for various reasons. Finland has started the debate in April considering that the people's appetite for meat will not slow down in the future, despite the country's plan to fight climate change by reducing the carbon footprint in food production. Currently, the average meat consumption in Finland is at 80 kilos per year, double from what it used to be in 1960, and a tax on meat is believed to help reduce meat consumption in the future.
On the other hand, scholars don't believe that meat taxation will have the expected effect. "Politicians are very relaxed, they tax meat and think that will solve it. But taxing meat is only one way among many,", said Mikael Fogelholm, a professor of nutritional science at the University of Helsinki, for Yle newspaper.
Another nonbeliever in meat taxation is Heikki Lehtonen, Research Professor at the Finnish Natural Resources Institute (LUKE), who argues that individuals may not be influenced by the tax. "I am skeptical that this will be solved through taxation or any other tricks. People should be eating better, but if there is too much pressure, there will be a backlash," he said.
Meantime, the German Animal Protection Association asked for a levy to be introduced in the price of meat to pay for higher welfare standards in the industry. The idea generated different reactions in the political environment, with some MPs insisting that instead of the levy asked initial, an increased VAT from the current rate of 7% to be applied to meat.
The average meat consumption in Germany is at 80 kilos per year and a tax on meat may force some part of the population to look for cheap products, advocated some producers, while the Secretary-General of the German Farmers' Association, Bernhard Krusken, said a meat tax was in any case not enough to compensate for the changes that farms would need to make.
According to Euronews, Krusken said, German government policy is currently to limit the construction of new agricultural facilities. ”We need a binding strategy for livestock, which is thought through to the end," he said.
Estimates made by the German Animal Protection Association show that cost to consumers of its original proposal had been estimated at no more than 60 euros per household per year.