A meat tax may be needed to make people “sit up and take notice” of the climate crisis, according to an animal rights activist.
It comes after the UK Government’s food strategy planner said a tax on processed meats may be needed to tackle climate change.
Restaurateur Henry Dimbleby reportedly warned Boris Johnson that the tax would be necessary but should not be introduced too soon after the pandemic for fear of widespread protests.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, John Carmody, Founder of the Animal Rights Action Network said meat taxes now have the support of both the UN and the WHO.
“We are actually having this conversation on a day when Canada is recording its hottest day ever,” he said.
“So, whether we like it or not … the reality is that climate change is here, it is with us and it is real.
“We have to face up to the fact that we have to do something to get people to sit up and take notice and to change their ways and change their eating habits.”
Mr Carmody said a meat tax would be no different from those already placed on things like alcohol, tobacco and sugar.
“We put taxes on these things because we know they are bad for the environment or they are bad for our health,” he said.
“So, it is only natural that we start talking about putting a syntax on meat - meat and dairy products I would imagine.”
He warned that climate change is just getting started and countries now need to take drastic action to mitigate its effects.
“I am simply at this stage just mirroring what leading scientists are saying,” he said.
“That, whether we like it or not, the real cost-benefit analysis is coming our way. We are facing down the barrel of a gun with this one and we have to sit up and we have to take notice.”
Also on the show, the IFA President Tim Cullinan said there is no way farmers would “put up with a tax on food.”
“Farmers for years have been working on climate and will continue to do so in the future,” he said.
“There is no better place to produce good quality food only here in Ireland.
“We need to realise what we are doing here. We are working with the soil. That soil is growing grass, producing beef, producing dairy produce and feeding our nation.
"The world population is growing and if we don’t produce that food here in Ireland, we'll have to get it from somewhere else.
“Absolutely no way will we entertain any tax on food. What we are looking at here is we need fairness and a decent price for what we produce.”
He dismissed the idea as “ridiculous.”
“The notion of putting a tax on food is absolutely crazy,” he said.
“We need to look at what has happened here over the years. The price that farmers are being paid for the top-quality food they are producing has been going down and down over the years so to put a tax on that would be absolutely ridiculous and a very wrong thing to do.”
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