Eblex responds to meat tax proposals

Eblex has hit back at claims that taxes on meat could help reduce the production of global warming gases from farming.

The proposal to tax meat was made by a group of scientists in an analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

However, Eblex sector director Nick Allen said: Reducing emissions from livestock remains an important area of focus for the industry through looking at feeding and breeding patterns, among other things. While we have not yet seen this paper, to suggest that tax is a better way to cut emissions seems a simplistic and blunt suggestion that will inevitably see a rise in consumer prices.

It is a very complex area. Simply reducing numbers of livestock as a move like this would inevitably do does not improve efficiency of the rumen process, which takes naturally growing grass that we cannot eat and turns it into a protein to feed a growing human population.

The analysis stated that to change diets on a large scale, incentives must be made, such as implementing a tax or emission trading scheme.

The scientists claimed that tackling greenhouse gases other than CO2 had not been given priority during UN climate talks, and that these were important factors to consider.

Allen claimed the industry had demonstrated its commitment to reducing emissions through its roadmaps, on-farm measures taken by farmers and by supporting the Greenhouse Gas Action Plan.

He added: Grazing livestock have helped shape and manage the countryside for hundreds of years. They bring environmental benefits that can significantly mitigate the negative effect of emissions. It is unfortunate that, in recent years, they have become an easy scapegoat for emissions, despite the fact that the livestock population is generally falling.

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