Netherlands: Save the planet – tax meat
7 April 2010
“Meat is not a basic need, but reducing meat consumption has become a basic need,” in the opinion of the former Dutch Finance Minister, Jan Terlouw, and Hans Baaij, director of Pigs in Peril, a Dutch animal welfare organisation. In an article published in NRC Handelsblad, the two plead for the introduction of a tax on meat, arguing that excessive consumption is putting the environment and people’s health at risk. Back in 2007, the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis judged that such a tax was feasible and advocated reducing the country’s meat consumption (which is estimated at 85 kg per person per year in the Netherlands) by two-thirds. According to the article’s authors, who also stress the horrific conditions found in intensive animal production and the widespread use of antibiotics, this tax would also allow the Netherlands to reduce its budget deficit (which is forecast to reach 4.8% of GDP in 2010). According to their calculations, a tax of 1 euro per kilo would generate roughly 1.5 billion euros for the state coffers.