Sparing no option — or dollar of the American taxpayer — Bernie Sanders suggested on Thursday that he would be open to a “meat tax” as a way to curb “climate change.”
Sanders fielded a question from a woman in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who floated the German “meat tax”, likely as a way to suppress demand for pork, beef and chicken.
“Animal agriculture is to blame for the majority of climate change,” she said, “and is the leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution, and bio-diversity loss.
“With that being known, what do you plan on doing to ensure that Americans limit their consumption of animal products,” she said.
“Germany has imposed a meat tax in hopes of limiting this consumption. What are your plans to stop these large corporations from further usurping national resources and polluting the planet?” she asked.
After complimenting her “good question,” Sanders said, “All I can say, if we believe, as I do and you do, that climate change is real, we’re going to have to tackle it in every single area, including agriculture.”
He added, “One of the things we want to do with the farmers out there is help them become more aggressive and able to help us combat climate change, rather than contribute to it.
“We will certainly, you’re right, look at agriculture, we’ve got to look at every cause of the crisis that we face,” Sanders said.
He did not dismiss the woman’s notion of a “meat tax.”
Vox reports on the Germany proposal:
The value-added tax (VAT) for meat is currently 7 percent, just like for most other foods in the country. But on August 7, lawmakers from across the political spectrum proposed raising the tax on meat to 19 percent. They say that’ll decrease the nation’s consumption of meat, a win for animal welfare and for the environment.
What’s more, the extra money gathered from the meat tax could then be invested into one of those causes. “I am in favor of abolishing the VAT reduction for meat and earmarking it for more animal welfare,” said Friedrich Ostendorf, the agricultural policy spokesperson for the Greens.
Denmark and Sweden are also considering taxes on meat, according to Vox.