09.11.2018 Sausage tax is ‘inevitable’ if we want to beat health issues and tackle climate change

09.11.2018 Sausage tax is ‘inevitable’ if we want to beat health issues and tackle climate change

World Health Organisation concluded that beef, lamb and pork are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) when eaten in processed form. This means that cured, smoked and other processed meats cause cancer. Red meat has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes.

This and the fact that the global livestock industry is responsible for 15% of all global greenhouse gas emission has led to calls for meat to be taxed in a similar way to tobacco, alcohol, sugar and other harmful products.

University of Oxford researchers claim that raising taxes on red and processed meats enough to offset their cost to the NHS could prevent hundred of thousands of heart attacks, cancers and strokes.

They calculated that that increasing the cost of processed meat by 79 per cent, and red meat by 14 per cent would prevent around 6,000 deaths each year and save the national healthcare service nearly £1 billion annually.

According to the researchers from the University of Oxford, globally, meat taxes could prevent the deaths of nearly 220,000 people by 2020 and contribute £30.7 bn to healthcare around the world.

Meat taxes have already been discussed in parliaments in Sweden, Denmark and Germany. In 2016 the government of China has cut its recommended meat consumption by 45% and Denmark has proposed a tax on red meat to combat the ethical issue of livestock’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Marco Springmann, lead researcher from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University said, “The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high and middle-income countries.”

“This is having significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems, which are taxpayer-funded in many countries, and on the economy, which is losing its labour force due to ill health and care for family members who fall ill.”

“Current levels of meat consumption are not healthy or sustainable. The costs associated with each of those impacts could approach the trillions in the future. Taxing meat could be a first and important step.”