EP debate on meat charge

On 5 February 2020, the True Animal Protein Price Coalition (TAPPC) from the Netherlands co-hosted a debate at the European Parliament together with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) about their report on a sustainability charge for meat. Ronja Berthold from EVU was also present and followed the discussions.

TAPPC is a coalition of various organisations, including health, animal welfare and environmental organisations, but also farmers and food companies. TAPPC designs policies for fairer meat and dairy prices, which include external costs of the current levels of overconsumption and -production of these foods. TAPPC and EVU’s member organisation ProVeg co-funded the report “A sustainability charge on meat” commissioned by CE Delft, a research and consultancy organisation.

The CE Delft report explores a charge on meat that includes its external social costs, which are currently not represented in the supermarket prices. These social costs result mainly from environmental pollution, such as emissions and biodiversity impacts. The charge was also calculated to rise over the years with regards to the goal of the Paris Agreement. The charge would start with 42 Euro cents for beef, 32 cents for pig meat and 15 cents for chicken meat in 2021 and would rise to up to 4,77 Euros for beef in 2030. The report calculates that this would lead to emission reductions of 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 2021. It also suggests that the revenues generated by this charge, which would be collected by the government as it acts like a tax, could be used to help farmers transition to more sustainable farming practices.

The presentation of the report in the European Parliament was an important step in starting a Europe-wide discussion around the true costs of the current levels of production and consumption of animal products. It was even picked up by several media outlets, such as the Guardian and Le Monde. The debate has so far primarily been active on the national level – most recently in Germany, where members of almost all major political groups have been speaking out in favour of a meat tax or an adjustment of the VAT rates for animal products and even a governmental advisory board has suggested such measures.

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