Butchers rally against ‘meat tax’
BUTCHERS ARE UP IN ARMS AT PROPOSED ‘MEAT TAX’ WHICH THEY SAY WOULD DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD...
say they would have major ‘beef’ if a meat tax was brought in.
Scientists at the University of Oxford have suggested that governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork - to reduce consumption, which would help save lives.
But, butchers across Coventry and Nuneaton say that such a tax would do more harm than good for health.
A spokesperson for Scotts Butchers in Coventry said: “The thing is, we have been eating meat since time began, it is not the meat that is causing the problem, it is the carbohydrates and everything else.
“This is just another way of trying to make money out of people. Us butchers have been really through it the past 20 years, with BSE and things like that, this is just another thing to scaremonger.
“I would certainly know how they plan to tax it, it is just not right.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Tim Parker, one of the directors at Nuneaton’s famed Frank Parker Butchers.
“Lean red meat is actually really good for you, it helps people who are dieting and those who are low on iron,” Mr Parker said.
“You can understand the sugar tax, but one on red meat? It should be down to choice, if you want to eat red meat, then eat it, if you don’t, don’t. There shouldn’t be a tax, people should simply have a choice if they eat it or not.”
He went on: “You would have to tax it at source and I am not sure how that would work. It is obviously something we would not support.”
Scientists have said a price-hiking “meat tax” could prevent about 220,000 deaths and save more than £30.7 billion in healthcare costs around the world each year.
The study is based on evidence linking consumption of “red” meat to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Scientists set out to estimate the level of health tax needed to make up for healthcare costs associated with eating meat in 149 regions around the world.
They also calculated the likely impact of a meat tax on death rates due to chronic disease.
By 2020, consumption of red and processed meat was likely to cause 2.4 million deaths per year and cost the global economy 285 billion US dollars (£219 billion), the study found. Meat tax levels high enough to counteract healthcare costs varied from country to country. In the UK, the “optimal” tax level increased the cost of red meat by 14% and processed meat by 79 per cent. Despite the huge impact on the price of burgers, sausages, mince and steak, the scientists behind the study called on governments to consider imposing a meat tax. Lead researcher Dr Marco Springmann, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, said: “The consumption of red and processed meat exceeds recommended levels in most high and middle-income countries. “This is having significant impacts not only on personal health, but also on healthcare systems, which are taxpayer-funded in many countries, and on the economy, which is losing its labour force due to ill health and care for family members who fall ill. “I hope that governments will consider introducing a health levy on red and processed meat as part of a range of measures to make healthy and sustainable decision-making easier for consumers. “A health levy on red and processed meat would not limit choices, but send a powerful signal to consumers and take pressure off our healthcare systems.
“Nobody wants governments to tell people what they can and can’t eat.
“However, our findings make it clear that the consumption of red and processed meat has a cost, not just to people’s health and to the planet, but also to the healthcare systems and the economy.”
The World Health Organisation has classified beef, lamb and pork as carcinogenic when eaten in processed form, and “probably” cancer-causing when consumed unprocessed.
Red meat consumption has also been associated with increased rates of coronary heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
The study, published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, indicated that a health tax could reduce consumption of processed meat such as bacon and sausages by about two portions per week in high-income countries.
Higher taxes on processed meat were also expected to cause consumers to switch to eating more unprocessed meat.
As a result, consumption of unprocessed meat was predicted to remain unchanged by 2020. The global benefits of a meat tax included a 16% reduction in processed meat consumption, and the prevention of 222,000 deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
In addition an estimated 3,800 deaths related to obesity would be prevented, the study found.
“Optimal” meat taxes in several other countries were significantly higher than in the UK, according to the research.
We’ve been eating meat since time began. It’s just another way of trying to make money out of people. Scotts Butchers, Coventry