Green and Social Democrat (SPD) politicians in Germany say the 7% sales tax (VAT) rate on meat should be raised to 19% to help curb global warming and fund animal welfare improvements.
According to UN research, methane from livestock accounts for 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions – more than the direct emissions from transport.
The German proposal, if made law, could reduce meat purchases and the supply of cheaper meats from factory farms.
But the agriculture minister objected.
Minister Julia Klöckner, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party, said she welcomed the discussion on improving animal welfare, but argued that raising VAT was not the way to do it, as a drop in meat sales could hurt farmers’ incomes.
The standard VAT rate in Germany is 19%, but most foods, including meat, benefit from the reduced rate of 7%.
The SPD is in government with the CDU, and the German Greens made big gains in the May European elections.
The German debate coincided with a UN report from a panel of scientists calling for a determined switch away from livestock farming. They argue that the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.
- Plant-based diet can fight climate change – UN – BBC News
- Climate Change and Land — IPCC
- Creating a Sustainable Food Future | World Resources Institute