Countries urged to raise meat and dairy prices to save the environment

Different raw meat on plate
Meat, photo: Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash

The fifty countries where meat and dairy are eaten the most are requested in an open letter to raise their meat and dairy prices and reduce their fruit and vegetable prices.

The letter will be presented to the United Nations Food Systems Summit in New York on Thursday. The UN food summit aims to find ways of making global food systems fairer and more sustainable.

The campaigners behind the call to raise taxes on meat and dairy believe that higher prices will reduce consumption and production of animal proteins, and with that, lowering greenhouse gas emissions from animal farming.

The campaign is launched by the True Animal Protein Price Coalition (TAPP).

“Lower levels of animal-protein consumption will not only improve national public health in most countries, and thus reduce health costs, but will simultaneously reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of biodiversity,” said TAPP director, Jeroom Remmers.

“If global meat and dairy consumption remain at their current levels, and even increase, it will be impossible to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels,” he added.

The 50 countries, and their leaders, addressed in the letter include China, the United States, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, the UK, Italy and Spain.

Over 80 organisations signed the letter. The signatories represent more than 5,000 companies, investors, banks, farmers, youth and food organisations in 100 countries, said a press release from one of the signatories, ProVeg International, a pro-plant food NGO.

ProVeg vice president, Jasmijn de Boo, said she believed the transition to taxing animal proteins was part of a cultural shift in global awareness.

“We are now more educated about single-use plastic, fossil fuels, and many other environmentally disastrous practices. The carbon pricing of food represents a similar shift in awareness, and would help to tackle both the climate crisis and the global health crisis,” said De Boo.

The results of a study published in January by TAPP and DVJ Insights, a European market research agency, found that 70% of German, French and Dutch consumers supported the idea of environmental meat taxes, if the tax revenues are used to reduce the cost of fruit and vegetables, support low-income consumers and help farmers improve sustainability and animal welfare.

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