The fair-meat pricing proposal, known as a ‘sustainability charge’, is set out in a new report from True Animal Protein Price (TAPP) Coalition, which called for a new pricing model to be included in the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy. This would mean increased charges for states taking into account CO2 emissions and biodiversity loss.
This would apply to the 28 remaining member states from 2022. MEPs will debate the proposal at a breakfast event at the European Parliament on 5 February.
A key aspect of the proposal is that revenues from the sustainability charge, projected at €32.2bn per year, could be used primarily to help farmers to invest in more sustainable agricultural practices.
Philip Mansbridge, executive director (UK) for ProVeg International, one of the TAPP Coalition members, said: “The time has come for us to act decisively with policy on the environmental consequences of animal protein, the price of which has been kept artificially low for far too long. Here we have a solution that is fair for farmers and supports the transition to a more plant-based food system that we so urgently need if we are serious about mitigating climate change.”
Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association said: “It is really sad that the European Parliament does not recognise that this is one of the best parts of the world to produce meat with the lowest environmental impact.
“A meat tax does not make sense, it merely puts up the price of all food and the poorer people in the community will suffer. At the same time it will probably encourage production of meat in other parts of the world where it will have a greater environmental impact.”
Meanwhile, the UK is set to follow its own environmental approach to farming as it passes its Agricultural Bill.
This sets out how farmers and land managers in England will in the future be rewarded with public money for “public goods” – such as better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards, improved access to the countryside or measures to reduce flooding. This will contribute to the Government’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.