The Guardian has published a letter by NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts in response to an article which argues a tax on red meat would do nothing to benefit the planet or our health. Read the full letter here:
As a farmer, I wholeheartedly agree that the agricultural industry should aspire to live within planetary means, as outlined in Julian Baggini's article A tax on red meat? That won’t save the planet – or do much to improve our health.
While taxation can sometimes be useful in influencing behaviour, I agree it’s often too “blunt” a tool to apply to complex policy aspirations.
As Baggini rightly pointed out, livestock production varies hugely across the world. British farmers seek to produce food as sustainably as possible using a variety of systems. A broad-brush meat tax across all these systems would not deliver environmental ambitions.
British farmers recognise the urgency of tackling climate change and are already working to reduce agricultural emissions through productivity improvements; boosting low carbon energy output while maintaining pastures that are a crucial carbon store.
We have also set an ambition to be Net Zero by 2040.
Scientific evidence has also shown that valuable nutrients found in red meat, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, are highly beneficial. A blunt meat tax would simply make an important part of a healthy, balanced diet less affordable, inevitably hitting lower income households the hardest.
NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts