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In recent months, the United Nations has been urging its environmental assembly to consider placing a tax on meat producers and sellers.
According to the Washington Post, "By raising the cost of buying meat, it would ultimately aim to reduce production and demand for it."
But before you start freaking out that someone's trying to tax your bacon, check out how countries around the world are already adapting to a low-meat way of life.
China, which consumes half of the world's pork and over a quarter of its meat, announced new dietary guidelines, which would see people cutting their meat consumption in half.
Furthermore, the Danish government is already considering taxing all red meats on ethical grounds.
What's preventing countries from imposing a meat tax?
The Chatham House report, which researched attitudes towards meat consumption, suggests that fear of public backlash against any attempts to intervene into dietary choices is a driving factor. At the same time, "low public awareness means they feel little pressure to intervene".
The way forward, therefore, is for governments and educators to work together to provide information to the public in order to assist informed decision-making when it comes to meat consumption. However, a cultural shift will need to take place if we want to reduce our consumption of meat around the world.
Why is meat an environmental issue?
If you haven't heard already, meat is a pretty contentious issue among environmentalists.
Greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production are estimated to account for over 14.5% of the global total. That's more than the emissions produced from powering all the world's road vehicles, trains, ships and aeroplanes combined.
"If we were all to copycat the way in which we feed ourselves in North America or Europe [with meat], the planet would be in deep trouble."- –Professor Maarten Hajer
Learn more about the environmental impacts of meat here.
READ MORE: Does Sustainably Farmed Meat Exist?
What you can do
Curbing the world's huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change.
If you're a meat eater, we're throwing the challenge out to you to reduce your meat consumption by 50%* and then inspire all the people around you to do the same.
You can calculate the environmental benefits of reducing your meat consumption here.
*We recommend that anyone considering changing their diet should conduct their own dietary research and also seek appropriate medical or other professional advice to ensure they are making healthy food choices with the required nutritional balance.
Try some of our favourite vegetarian recipes:
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