German politicians call for higher tax on meat to protect climate
Politicians from the Green Party and Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany have proposed an increase in value added tax (VAT) on meat from 7 percent to the standard rate of 19 percent in order to protect the climate and improve animal welfare, reports Deutsche Welle. Most foodstuffs in Germany are currently taxed at the reduced rate of 7 percent. Friedrich Ostendorf, the Greens’ agricultural policy spokesperson, suggested abolishing this VAT reduction for meat and earmarking the additional revenue for more animal welfare. Agriculture minister Julia Klöckner, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), countered that policy resulting in farmers carrying the burdens of government ambitions should be avoided. Green leader Robert Habeck said the entire VAT systemneeded to be overhauled instead in light of environmental issues.
Animal farming is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Germany’s agricultural sector – 37.5 percent came directly from methane emissions of animals farmed in Germany in 2016, mostly from beef and dairy cattle. Farming emissions amount to 7 percent of Germany’s total greenhouse gas emissions.