After learning that Oregon State Representative Ben Cannon is proposing a huge tax increase on beer, PETA fired off a letter to Cannon urging him instead to propose a 10-cent “sin” tax on every pound of meat sold in grocery stores and restaurants in order to keep beer cheap and Oregonians (and their economy) healthy. PETA points out that meat is a leading contributor to many of the worst health problems that Oregonians face, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, and it is the number one cause of climate change.
“Slapping a long-overdue tax on artery-clogging meat would save countless lives,” says PETA Director Sarah King. “After all, it’s better to drink Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale than to wind up as its mascot.”
PETA’s letter to Rep. Cannon follows:
Dear Representative Cannon:
As an Oregon native and a beer aficionado, I was extremely interested to read about the bill that you recently sponsored to increase Oregon’s tax on beer. On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands of Oregonians, I’d like to propose an alternative that would keep beer–a product that’s important to the state’s economy–affordable, yet still bring in needed revenue: an excise tax on meat. A 10-cent “sin” tax on every pound of chicken, turkey, pig, fish, and cow flesh sold in grocery stores and restaurants would not only raise funds but also help stop climate change and reduce health-care costs.
Tobacco, alcohol, gasoline, and luxury vehicles are all taxed because of the negative impact that they have on the environment and/or human health, so it makes sense to add meat to the group. Please consider the following:
* Meat is the number one cause of climate change, which threatens the U.S. with billions of dollars in damages from rising sea levels, worsening storms, and increased droughts. According to a 2006 United Nations report, the meat industry produces 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes, and ships in the world combined. A tax on meat would help recoup some of the environmental costs associated with its production.
* Meat is a leading contributor to many of the worst health problems that Americans face. According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians have lower rates of obesity heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes than meat-eaters do. Just like the excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, a meat tax could be used to promote health and well-being through educational programs.
With this proposal, a typical meat-eating family of four would pay only about $5 per month, and families who replace the meat in their diets with healthy vegetarian foods would likely save thousands of dollars in medical expenses over time.
Revenue shortages and climate change are two of America’s biggest problems. Adding a “sin” tax on meat could help alleviate these problems, in addition to improving the health of Oregon’s residents. After all, it’s better to drink Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale than to wind up as its mascot.
You can learn more about this proposal at TaxMeat.com. Thank you for your consideration.