Germany proposes a meat tax increase to improve animal welfare and curb climate change

German residents may soon find themselves paying more for steaks, pork chops and sausages. Across party lines, the country’s politicians have proposed raising the VAT, or value added tax, on meat to a standard rate of 19 percent. Presently, meat in Germany is taxed at a rate of 7 percent.

 

Germany’s lawmakers have suggested using the additional funds raised by the meat tax increase to help animal welfare in the country following the increased scrutiny of the treatment of livestock in Germany.

 

“I am in favor of abolishing the VAT reduction for meat and earmarking it for more animal welfare,” said Friedrich Ostendorf, agricultural policy spokesperson for the Greens.

The Social Democrats’ agricultural policy spokesperson Rainer Spieging said that “a meat tax, such as increasing the VAT to 19 percent, could be a way forward.”

Agriculture spokesperson Albert Stegemann, of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said he was open to the idea of an added meat tax, but with one caveat. “Such a tax can be a constructive proposal,” Stegemann said. “However, the additional tax revenue should be used to support livestockfarmers to help them restructure.”

In general, some people believe consuming meat has become out of fashion, and it has become more scrutinized in the past 10 years with the emergence of meatless diets, including vegetarianism and veganism, both of which are followed worldwide.

Scientists have also noted the meat industry is one of the highest emitters of carbon dioxide and contributes to climate change. As a result, many have asked for tougher measures to decrease meat consumption on a whole as part of a more holistic way to fight climate change.

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