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A healthy tax



Dear Editor,
 
Researchers in the UK and US have put forward a plan that could prevent millions of deaths globally each year, and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.
 
It’s a simple plan: tax meat.
 
A 2015 World Health Organisation report found that bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats cause cancer and that red meat—including beef, pork, and lamb—is probably carcinogenic as well. The research estimates that in 2020, 2.4 million people will die from red and processed meat attributed deaths, while the healthcare costs for red meat-related illnesses will hit US$285 billion ($400 billion AUD). A modest 16 percent drop in meat consumption would lead to a drop in global greenhouse gas emissions by over a hundred million tonnes. We tax cigarettes heavily to help cover medical costs – it’s time to do the same for meat.
 
Such a bold move would also save billions of non-humans from lives of terror, including having their horns cut or burned off and males having their testicles ripped out of their scrotums – all without painkillers, followed by agonising deaths.
 
Mimi Bekhechi
Campaigns Consultant,
PETA Australia
PO Box 20308 World Square
Sydney, NSW, 2002
(+618) 8556-5828
mimib@peta.org.au