Many in India are addicted to eating meat, eggs and dairy products—and we’re paying a high price for it, from public health crises, to pollution and climate change, to massive animal suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. That’s why PETA is calling on Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley to help Indians kick this bad habit by taxing meat and other animal-derived foods.
PETA’s request comes on the heels of a new report by investment analysts from Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return Initiative that recommends making meat-eaters help foot part of the bill for the meat industry’s many harms.
Just as many countries tax cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline to help offset their health and environmental costs, it’s reasonable to tax unhealthy—and unnecessary—foods that harm humans and animals, waste resources and contribute to climate change.
Meat, dairy products and eggs are linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other life-threating illnesses, and India now tops the charts in many diet-related ailments. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in India, we are also the world leader in diabetes. Our cancer rate is out of control and childhood obesity is at crisis point.
Raising animals for food is also incredibly polluting and one of the chief contributors to climate change. A widely publicised report published by the Worldwatch Institute estimated that a staggering 51 per cent of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions may be attributable to livestock and their byproducts.
Of course, animals pay the highest price. Many chickens’ throats are cut while they’re still conscious, fish suffocate or are sliced open alive, pigs are often stabbed in the heart as they scream in pain and calves are torn from their mothers within hours of birth. At the slaughterhouse, animals are often killed in full view of one another and dismembered while they’re still conscious.
A tax on every kilo of meat—and on each dairy item and carton of eggs—would give consumers yet another incentive to eat tasty vegan foods, which are humane, environmentally friendly and relatively inexpensive, especially if you factor in the medical costs that can result from eating a diet high in fatty, cholesterol-laden animal-based foods.
Denmark, Sweden and Germany are already considering meat taxes. India can show itself to be a smart, progressive and humane country by getting ahead and taking the lead. Stay tuned for updates!