Animal advocacy organization PETA has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak suggesting that the revenue from such a tax could be used to ease the burden on the NHS and help farmers transition away from meat and dairy to more climate-friendly arable ventures.
PETA notes that outbreaks of swine flu, avian flu, SARS, HIV, foot-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and other zoonotic diseases have stemmed from capturing wild animals or farming animals for food.
'Negative impact tax'
The letter says meat and dairy should 'take their place alongside tobacco, alcohol, sugar, and fuel – all of which are taxed because of their negative impact on human health or the environment'.
It adds: "This would lighten the burden on the already overstretched NHS: modeling predicts that a UK tax on red and processed meats could result in 22 percent fewer deaths and save the health service £700 million a year."
PETA director of vegan corporate projects, Dawn Carr, said: "We must heed the Committee on Climate Change's call for meat and dairy consumption to be cut down and act on the United Nations' recommendation that national governments introduce a tax on meat.
"The resulting tax revenue could be used to help meat and dairy farmers make the transition into healthier, more sustainable crop farming at a time when the plant-based food market is booming."