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Are ‘meat taxes’ the next ‘soda tax’?


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Soda taxes have proven to be successful in getting people to buy fewer sugary drinks. (All the cool kids are drinking kombucha now anyway.) Now, investors are pushing a controversial new “meat tax,” hoping it will have the same effect and ultimately lower greenhouse gas emissions—14.5 percent of emissions worldwide come from livestock—that negatively impact the environment.

Fortune reports that lawmakers in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and China have all discussed implementing the tax, which has been met with a lot of resistance. Unlike sugar, which is irrefutably unhealthy, meat is still considered to be part of a healthy diet (at least by most). Taxing meat eaters seems to send the message that their diet isn’t as good as a vegetarian diet. The lawmakers advocating for the meat tax emphasize that this is about the environment, not diet.

The lawmakers advocating for the meat tax emphasize that this is about the environment, not diet: 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide come from livestock.

A less controversial way to get more people to eat less meat is by making more plant-based protein options available. That’s the agenda one venture capital firm, Green Century, is taking, according to Fortune: It’s investing millions to make more vegan protein options available from mega food brands including General Mills, Campbell’s, Kraft Heinz, Kellogg, and Chipotle. (For starters, it’s putting its money behind Beyond Meat, creator of the “bleeding” burger, which has also been backed by Leonardo DiCaprio.)

Meat consumption’s impact on the environment isn’t a conversation that’s ending anytime soon. Will the answer be a price hike? A tax? A tax that targets genetically modified or mass-produced meat only? A little something to chew on during your next meal—no matter what’s on your plate.

Find out how a plant-based diet stacks up, according to science. And if you’re taking “real” meat off the menu, what about meat grown in a lab?

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