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Rodgers, Bethany --- "The Environmental, Health And Economic Argument For A Tax On Red And Processed Meats In Australia" [2022] UNSWLawJlStuS 11; (2022) UNSWLJ Student Series No 22-11




We live in a world where peoples’ impact on the environment is increasingly having catastrophic consequences. However, as epitomised by the subject’s relative lack of attention at the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), meat-eating too often neglected as a climate issue.[1] This is concerning because, in reality, consumption of red and processed meats causes significant damage to the environment, as well as to peoples’ health and therefore the economy more broadly. The potential to address these negative impacts is at the basis of the argument for a tax on these products. In this essay I will be making such an argument, looking into the ways that a red and processed meats (RPM) tax in the Australian context could yield health, economic and environmental benefits and thus benefit society. By ‘red meat’, I mean unprocessed mammalian muscle meat, and include commonly consumed foods like beef, pork, and veal. In referring to ‘processed meat’, I mean meat that has been transformed through processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.[2] In Part II, I will canvass the arguments for a meat tax, arguing that the environmental, health and economic benefits of an RPM tax would lead to overall benefit to the population, which is a clear rationale for public health interventions.[3] Part III will then strengthen this case for an RPM tax by addressing the counter

arguments. Finally, Part IV will consider the viability of implementing such a tax in Australia by analysing the barriers that currently exist to implementation. I will then also briefly articulate potential paths towards overcoming each barrier.


A Environmental Impacts

The first category of consequences that could be abated by taxation which I will consider is environmental harms. Anthropogenic climate change is widely viewed as the most urgent issue facing the world today, with imminent consequences on not just the environment but also on geopolitics, inequality, public health, and food security.[4] Mitigating the environmental impact of food production and consumption is highly important to move towards meeting the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.[5] Food systems are responsible for up to 30% of all human-driven greenhouse gas emissions.[6] Even if fossil fuel emissions were immediately stopped, current trends in global food systems could themselves prevent the achievement of the Paris Climate Agreements’ 2 degrees Celsius target by the end of the 21st century.[7]

Meat production disproportionately contributes to this food system’s overall greenhouse gas emissions,[8] and is therefore a key area of food production and consumption to target. On a global level, a transition towards more plant-based diets that follow standard dietary guidelines could reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 29-70% by 2050.[9] In addition to emitting greenhouse gases, meat production also leads to worldwide deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as local pollution of water, soil, and air.[10] Furthermore, meat production uses roughly 22% of global freshwater,[11] a concern amidst unprecedented levels of drought worldwide.[12] Ultimately, meat is a highly inefficient means of feeding people. Over one-third of the grain grown on earth is fed to livestock. Significant energy is lost along the way in the transfer of nutrients from plants to livestock and then to humans.[13] Much of the water, energy and land currently used to grow feed crops for animals that will be converted into meat would more efficiently be used to grow plant-based food consumed directly by people.[14]

Overall, the evidence that meat overconsumption is bad for environmental health and that movement towards a more plant-based diet would yield sustainability benefits is “overwhelming”.[15]Addressing the impacts of RPM consumption and production in Australia is particularly important. Australia is one of the world’s largest consumers of red meat products.[16] It emits 1.13% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions annually, and the agriculture sector is a major contributor to this, behind only electricity and heat in their impact on greenhouse gas emissions by sector nationally.[17]

B Population Health Impacts

Reducing peoples’ consumption of meat would also have clear benefits to population health. In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classed processed meat as carcinogenic (cancer-causing). These meats, which include common foods such as bacon, sausages, and ham, were placed in the same risk-group for cancer as asbestos, cigarettes, and alcohol.[18] This decision was not made lightly, but rather on the basis of a review of 800 epidemiological studies. The analysis found that, for every 50-gram increase in daily intake of processed meats, a person’s risk of colorectal cancer increased by 18%.[19] It also found that red meat was “probably” also carcinogenic to humans.[20] Notably, red meat was projected in 2018 to have caused 860 000 deaths globally.[21] Processed meat consumption is also linked to other diseases, including coronary heart disease and diabetes.[22] These findings are notable because red and processed meat consumption exceeds recommended levels in most high- and middle- income nations.[23] That includes Australia. The Australian dietary guidelines hold that you should only eat 455 grams of red meat weekly. The latest statistics show that Australians eat on average 560 grams per week.[24] Therefore, whilst red meat is high in protein and in important micronutrients like B vitamins, iron, and zinc,[25] its consumption levels are a public health concern. With health consequences comes economic consequences. Red meat consumption was projected in 2018 to cause, on a global level, $285 billion in total healthcare costs in 2020.[26]

More broadly, beyond the individual consumer and associated financial costs, meat contributes to antibiotic resistance, because use of antibiotics in industrial and animal food production increases the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria.[27] Zoonotic diseases are another major concern arising from RPM with public health impacts beyond the individual consumer. Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted from animals to humans and back again. They are a significant and increasing threat to public health, as evidenced all too clearly by the recent COVID-19 outbreak globally.[28] There is a clear relationship between intensive animal agriculture and zoonotic diseases.[29] At least three-quarters of all emerging human pathogens are zoonotic, and most of these have been connected to the intensification of agriculture.[30] This risk of zoonotic disease is inherent in any human relations to farmed animals, with this mode of disease transmission having been around as early as the Neolithic period.[31] COVID-19 is merely the latest in a long string of cases of high-profile zoonotic diseases, including HIV, Ebola, SARS, MERS and H1N1 swine flu. It will not be the last zoonotic disease to impact human civilisation.[32] The impacts of zoonotic diseases are extensive. They include deaths, sickness, complications and permanent disabilities, strains on hospitals and the healthcare system, and economic impacts ranging from job loss to disrupted international trade.[33]

C But why Taxation?

Whilst noting these extensive environmental, health and economic consequences of RPM consumption, it is also important that I make a case for why taxation is suitable to address these consequences. The essential reason is that markets alone will not disincentivise meat production. In fact, given global demand for meat is growing, the free market will potentially lean towards the opposite approach; incentivising intensive agriculture further.[34] Producers of meat products in the free market lack incentives to voluntarily pay taxes to offset the costs that their production imposes on others. Therefore, a clear case can be made to disincentivise consumption (and thus production) of RPM products through taxation; producers should pay for the costs they impose on third parties.[35] But would taxation work? It is well-established that price drives food choice.[36] Systematic reviews demonstrate that taxes to decrease consumption of targeted food can improve dietary behaviour.[37] With this link between price and consumption in mind, the theory behind taxation of specific foods is that fiscal incentives are created for consumers to have less of the targeted food (in this case, red and processed meats).[38] It can therefore be extrapolated that taxation directed at RPM would also reduce consumption. Reducing consumption would mean the consequences associated with RPM consumption would likewise abate.


A Fairness: The Universality of The Tax

While the benefits of this RPM taxation in my view are strong, building a clear-cut case for an RPM tax also requires addressing the various counterarguments. An RPM tax would be classed as a sin tax (also known as a public health tax). Sin taxes are excise taxes imposed on the consumption of potentially harmful goods for health.[39] One issue with sin taxes is that they apply to all consumption, regardless of whether there are actually externalities for low levels of consumption. In other words, they impose the same charge on both responsible and irresponsible consumers.[40] In an ideal world, this could be addressed through increasing only the price of consumption units that impose external costs. However, it would be highly expensive and potentially illegal (if not impossible) to impose price discrimination through taxes whereby some goods cost more for some consumers and for others those same goods are cheaper.[41] A uniform RPM tax appears to thus be the only option.

Another critique levelled at an RPM tax is regarding its potential regressivity, in that it causes consumers of lower socio-economic status to have to pay a disproportionately larger percentage of their income for food. This is another common argument against taxing sin.[42] Charlebois, for example, argues that taxing any food, including meat, is “morally questionable” because it is regressive and can potentially penalise the underprivileged who need affordable sources of protein.[43] Similar arguments were made in relation to a sugar-sweetened beverage tax. However, the evidence suggests sin taxes may not be regressive after all. Modelling in relation to a 20% tax on SSBs found that most of the health benefits and healthcare cost savings accrued to the most socio-economically disadvantaged people, and these people only paid slightly more SSB tax.[44] Furthermore, any potential regressivity can likely be offset by using the

proceeds of the RPM tax to subsidise healthier foods, including those rich in plant proteins.[45]

B Paternalism

As well as being classed as a sin tax, an RPM tax can be defined as a Pigouvian tax. Named after British economist Arthur C. Pigou, Pigouvian taxes are taxes on a market transaction that creates a negative externality borne by individuals not directly involved in the transaction.[46] Paternalism – exerting control on peoples’ lives based around beliefs about what is best for people – is frequently invoked in discourses surrounding Pigouvian taxes.[47] For example, Reiter, in focusing on a tax on tobacco, argues that paternalistic taxation unjustifiably restricts individual liberties which are vital to mature human development and to the democratic process.[48] They argue that the result of these taxes is a society where citizens’ ability to make mature, individual choices is overridden because people are motivated by legal and economic necessity rather than self-control and rational decision-making.[49] Critics in the realm of RPM may argue that meat consumption is a private, individual choice, and that consumers should be free to decide if the benefits and costs associated with their choice increases their private utilities; a consumer sovereignty argument.[50] Examples of these critiques can be seen throughout the literature. Leroy and Hite argue that addressing RPM consumption would constitute “social engineering”, and merely reflects upper middle-class desires to homogenise diets.[51] Derwin, in a recent article, argued that the government is “coming for your steak”.[52] Coggin similarly argued that advocates of an RPM tax are the “food police” and that governments have no business telling people what to eat, whilst also evoking the common “nanny state” idea.[53] Such arguments align with a classic liberal view on state intervention: the state has a duty to protect freedom of options.[54]

These arguments invoking paternalism, however, assume that people make autonomous choices to consume meat. In reality, people’s food choices are heavily influenced in myriad ways, such as through advertising and through product placements in stores.[55] People make decisions to eat meat in particular contexts, influenced by what Sunstein refers to as ‘choice architecture’.[56] Additionally, states are morally obliged to act to change meat-eating behaviour – climate change will harm future generations and thus cause intergenerational injustice.[57] Therefore, the paternalism argument is prioritising the individual autonomy of today over the autonomy and welfare of future generations.[58] Further contesting this argument is the widely regarded theory of John Stuart Mill, who believes that the paternalistic exercise of government power over individuals is justified to prevent harm to other non-consenting adults.[59] This state responsibility to act to prevent people from harming others is a key justification for other

Pigouvian taxes, particularly the taxes on tobacco and alcohol.[60] Liberal states are said to have responsibilities to look after the needs of people, not just individually, but also collectively.[61] With meat-eating causing harm to current and future generations through environmental harms, intervention is thereby justified.

And indeed, the state is well-placed – arguably over and above individual action – to act to address this meat consumption. Meat-eating has been institutionalised and is ingrained in consumption habits, causing consumers to have a blind spot on its negative long-term impacts. That blind-spot is maintained by denial and cognitive distortion. Changing this behaviour is not easy.[62] Research, albeit not in the Australian context, has found only a weak link between peoples’ environmental concerns as citizens and their behaviour as consumers, with these concerns not ostensibly influencing meat-buying habits.[63] Individuals tend to look at only their short-term self-interest, creating a collective action problem regarding climate change. Collective action problems demand political steering.[64] Beyond lacking the willpower, individuals may also lack the knowledge. A recent Australian study found that consumers underestimate the environmental impacts of red meat.[65] Furthermore, voluntary changes at the individual level will likely not be sufficient for the significant level of behavioural change needed.[66]

C ‘What About the Jobs?’

The RPM sector is economically important to many governments due to its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), tax revenues, exports, and employment, particularly in rural areas.[67] The industry is a key exporter in Australia. In 2018-19, the red meat and livestock industry contributed $17.6 billion to GDP. In that same timeframe, the industry employed (directly and indirectly) approximately 434 000 people.[68] A counterargument to an RPM tax could therefore be that the policy would not have a net benefit because it would harm both national economies and individual workers.[69]However, the veracity of this argument is limited. Estimates suggest that the total financial benefit in environmental and health cost-saving of movement away from a meat-heavy diet through to the year 2050 could yield between $1 and $30 trillion.[70] Furthermore, non-RPM industries, and the workers within those industries are harmed by the consequences of the RPM industry, particularly by pandemics. As are RPM industry workers. This has been evident amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein meat industry labourers, particularly slaughterhouse workers, were disproportionately harmed.[71]

Therefore, eliminating intensive animal agriculture is not necessarily going to be a net loss for RPM workers. This is accentuated by the fact that the large-scale pursuit of alternative proteins could actually involve the production of many jobs for workers in this industry, as well as business opportunities to incumbent companies.[72] Many of these companies have already acquired alternative protein start-ups.[73] This transition to similar crops or similar industries could mirror what occurred with tobacco - tax revenue could be utilised to help the process.[74] Furthermore, there are signs of a dietary shift towards more plant-based options within Australia,[75] which may mean that RPM growers will have to prepare themselves for declining consumption even without the implementation of an RPM tax. This taxation could simply hasten the process. Even if these estimates were, for some reason, inaccurate, and a net economic benefit did not result, there is a strong moral argument for imposing costs on the industry regardless. These costs can be justified by the fact that this industry imposts costs and harms on others and, similarly to environmentally destructive industries like coal mining, the fact that peoples’ livelihoods rely on this line of work does not justify imposing such costs.[76]


A Barrier: The Cultural and Social Significance of Meat

Whilst I have built a case for an RPM tax, and in the process addressed the various counterarguments to such a tax, it is also necessary to consider the practicalities of implementation. An important issue is therefore the barriers to implementation. The first barrier is meat’s social and cultural significance. Food consumption is strongly associated with societal and cultural norms and traditions. Meat-eating is particularly linked with various historical and cultural traditions, with meat-heavy foods often serving as symbols of heritage, tradition, and national pride.[77] Most cultures have an entrenched idea that ‘a meal is not a meal without meat’. This ideology is sometimes known as ‘carnism’, a term developed by sociologist Melanie Joy.[78] In Australia, the links between national identity and red-meat consumption are clear and are believed to arise from the nations’ pastoral history, as well as its inherited western European and Anglo food cultures.[79]

Meat is also linked to social identity, especially masculinity. Eating red meat in particular is associated with notions of being a ‘real man’, and as signalling ‘desirable’ masculine qualities such as virility, sexual strength, mating desirability and status. Men, for example, have been found to believe that purchasing meat will augment their masculinity. This link has contributed to higher levels of consumption amongst men in some high-income nations.[80] The association between meat and maleness and masculinity also helps explain the link between meat and status, which may originally arise from humans’ evolutionary history wherein those who consumed meat were strong and powerful.[81]

Another aspect of the social phenomena surrounding meat is the stigmatisation of those who do not eat meat. Meat reduction policies are therefore often framed as extremist by individuals and interest groups; part of the ‘vegan agenda’.[82] Perhaps this is explained by the fact that media coverage and consumer consciousness regarding the problems associated with meat are low.[83] Consumers may also simply be apathetic to the consequences of meat-eating, not prioritising environmental concerns or animal welfare but instead focusing on things like price, quality, and freshness.[84] A study on Australian consumers found that environmental impact was not an important influence on their food choice.[85] Consumers have also been found in studies to, in general, view meat as a healthy and important component of a diet.[86] Noting this social and cultural significance of meat, it becomes clear that it may be difficult if not impossible, to successfully implementation taxation on RPM without first implementing policies that involve awareness-raising and encouraging a public discourse surrounding the negative impacts of RPM consumption.[87] Currently, the very issue of whether meat consumption is a problem is contested by many.[88]

B Barrier: Industry

Power supports the production and consumption of RPM in the food system; the status quo.[89] A literature review has found that most barriers to RPM reduction involve industry actors and commercial interests.[90] This is because the meat industry is the actor in these debates with the most power.[91] This discursive power can be seen in the battle to pass legislation so that plant-based food products cannot be labelled as ‘meat’ or ‘meat food product’.[92] ‘Big Food’ (large-scale transnational food companies) and ‘Big Soda’ (large-scale transnational drink companies) are powerful actors in the food system and use such power to maintain favourable market environments. Parallels can be drawn between this behaviour of Big Food and Big Soda with that of Big Meat (large-scale meat companies).[93] For example, the meat industry is known to lobby in Australia. During the development of Australia’s national dietary guidelines, meat industry pressure is recognised as having had a notable impact on the final guidelines produced, which omitted any reference to reducing meat consumption or environmental sustainability considerations.[94]

Other practices include funding studies that propose consumer labelling (and advocating for such labelling). This labelling reinforces notions of personal responsibility and puts the onus on consumers to change their behaviour, as opposed to requiring any structural or financial reform from industry.[95] Such behaviour is similar to that of the food and beverage industry, who in the battle against a sugary beverages tax in Australia have shifted responsibility for obesity away from industry and government and towards personal responsibility for health.[96] Having adequate evidence to support meat reduction is important for policies in this area to be developed. However, RPM industries and their representatives have sponsored research and funded academics to discredit and dispute concerns linking meat consumption to harms.[97] In Australia, this has manifested as Meat and Livestock Australia providing financial support to the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, creating the obvious bias allegations.[98]

C Barrier: Government-Industry Relationships

The significant economic impact of RPM as well as its cultural importance means that the meat industry’s interests in achieving stability can coincide with government interests.[99] This alignment of government-industry interests has not necessarily been present to the same extent in other battles to pass regulations against harmful goods. For example, the tobacco industry was not as economically important to Australia. At its peak, the tobacco manufacturing industry in Australia employed only 6 000 people.[100] Conversely, as mentioned previously, 434 000 jobs exist thanks to the agricultural industry in Australia.[101] The economic benefits are also significant. In Australia, the red meat industry generates over $17b per annum.[102] These significant returns are partly owing to benefits that the Australian government provides the sector.[103] The government is committed to providing the agriculture sector with funding for research and development and levy monies.[104] Meat and Livestock Australia is a marketing, research and development service provider to the industry created by the Federal Government. Its funding is supported on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the Federal Government and farmer levies, and it has an annual budget of AU$267.3 million.[105] Many studies have resultantly found perpetually reinforcing co-dependency between governments and the RPM industry.[106] Furthermore, challenging industry can be viewed as a risky

political move, because many politicians see supporting the RPM industry as important to retaining electoral seats in swing states.[107]

D Barrier: Politics

Politics is indeed a notable barrier to an RPM tax more broadly. No major political party at state or federal level in Australia have an official policy to address the impacts of red meat consumption. Even the Greens view red meat as too controversial an issue to address via policy.[108] There seem to be three reasons for this political opposition. The first is ideology. Both the Liberal-National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party (Australia’s two major parties) are ideologically opposed to paternalistic policies which may interfere with peoples’ rights to choose what they eat, with diet viewed as the responsibility of the individual, not of government.[109] Intensive meat production and consumption sit amongst a context wherein belief systems prevail that preference free markets and economic growth over health and environmental protection.[110] These views are entrenched. Anti-tax rhetoric has been prominent for at least three decades in Australia. Workers, families, and small businesses are framed as the victims of new taxes. This can be seen particularly in the strong (and ultimately successful) battle against a carbon tax in Australia.[111]

A second reason is the reluctance to harm industry. Any measure that could hurt farmers is generally met with strong opposition in Australia.[112] This was expressed bluntly by controversial parliamentarian Bob Katter, who argued that an RPM tax would close the beef industry, which would be a “disaster for Australia”.[113] In a similar vein, one of the key reasons that policymakers have opposed a sugary beverages tax in Australia is that they worry it will harm Queensland’s sugar industry. That industry’s revenue was around $1.7 billion in 2017 and the industry generates over 40 000 jobs indirectly and directly.[114] It is likely that, with even more jobs generated by the RPM industry, such an argument would take on a new significance in the fight against an RPM tax. A clear signal of the significance of the red meat industry in the eyes of Australian politics is the exemption of agriculture in the 2012 carbon tax. This was due to the economic and cultural significance of red meat, as well as the fact that certain rural electorates are almost entirely dependent on the red meat industry.[115] The third and final reason is that ultimately, the tax lacks public support and therefore is viewed as too politically risky. A citizens jury in Australia generally did not support taxation on processed meats.[116] The cultural component of meat consumption may help explain its relative lack of attention in discussions surrounding limiting of greenhouse gas emissions: policy-makers fear that consumers will strongly oppose higher prices on meat.[117]

E Barrier: No Consistent Counter-Lobby

Consensus and cohesion in the counter-lobby is the final barrier I will mention to taxation on RPM consumption. Groups in favour of reducing RPM consumption include dieticians, environmental activist groups, and animal rights groups. Dieticians are often unwilling to advocate for a complete removal of red meat from Australians’ diet due to its health benefits; some environmental groups advocate for complete removal, others for a reduction in red meat consumption, and still others for ‘better’ red meat (like organic or grass-fed); animal rights groups generally advocate for the removal of all meat from diets.[118] Clearly, there lacks a unifying approach between these groups, and lessons from the tobacco control counter-lobby in Australia show that this is vital,[119] as does lessons from the (as yet unsuccessful) fight to implement a sugary beverages tax in Australia.[120]

F Overcoming these Barriers

Whilst not a major focus of this essay, I think it is important to briefly note that none of these barriers are insurmountable. The first barrier I mentioned – meat’s socio-cultural significance – can be addressed through education and awareness raising, which could encourage conversations around meat’s many negative impacts and thus a cultural shift.[121] There are already promising signs that a public conversation around this is underway and will lead towards less meat consumption. Those signs are both found in research,[122] and in anecdotal evidence, such as the increasing importance of the vegan food market,[123] and rise of veganism in Australia.[124] I believe that increasing this public discourse is also key to overcoming another barrier: politics. In a democracy, public pressure is key to motivating mainstream political parties to implement any policy; an RPM tax included. As for barriers posed by industry and government-industry relations, policies in the works to cap political donations and to ban political donations from ‘dirty industries’ (which could include meat industries) could be beneficial.[125] A consistent counter-lobby is key to all this. Past efforts such as to implementing tobacco control, and a sugary beverages tax, show that it is possible to unite the agendas of different organisations to a common good.[126]


Although the environmental, health and economic harms of RPM production and consumption are extensive, debates on how to address these harms are politically and culturally complex. Meat-eating occurs in complicated political, economic, and cultural contexts. Therefore, shifting population diets towards reducing consumption of meat is unlikely to yield fast results, and any one-dimensional approach such as an RPM tax would best be implemented alongside a suite of other, sustained and context-specific interventions.[127] Without overstating the benefits of a meat tax as a ‘silver bullet’,[128] it remains clear that significant benefits could result from implementation. Many of the environmental, health and economic harms associated with RPM could be avoided. Whilst, particularly noting the many barriers to implementation that I have outlined, RPM consumption may seem like an insurmountable issue, past cases suggest progress can be possible. Tobacco, for example, was viewed as an insurmountable issue in many nations for decades, and faced similar barriers to regulation, such as cultural significance.[129]

[1] Emma Garnett, ‘Meat Eating Is a Big Climate Issue – but Isn’t Getting the Attention It Deserves’, The Conversation <> .

[2] Véronique Bouvard et al, ‘Carcinogenicity of Consumption of Red and Processed Meat’ (2015) 16(16) The Lancet. Oncology 1599, 1599.

[3] Ruth R Faden and Sirine Shebaya, ‘Public Health Programs and Policies: Ethical Justifications’ in Anna C Mastroianni, Jeffrey P Kahn and Nancy E Kass (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2019) 20 <> .

[4] Laura Wellesley, Catherine Happer and Antony Froggatt, Changing Climate, Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption (2015).

[5] Marlin J Broeks et al, ‘A Social Cost-Benefit Analysis of Meat Taxation and a Fruit and Vegetables Subsidy for a Healthy and Sustainable Food Consumption in the Netherlands’ (2020) 20(1) BMC Public Health 643, 643.

[6] Wellesley, Happer and Froggatt (n 4) 1.

[7] Michael A Clark et al, ‘Global Food System Emissions Could Preclude Achieving the 1.5° and 2°C Climate Change Targets’ (2020) 370(6517) Science 705.

[8] Broeks et al (n 5).

[9] Marco Springmann et al, ‘Analysis and Valuation of the Health and Climate Change Cobenefits of Dietary Change’ (2016) 113(15) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 4146.

[10] Céline Bonnet et al, ‘Viewpoint: Regulating Meat Consumption to Improve Health, the Environment and Animal Welfare’ (2020) 97 Food Policy 101847, 2 (‘Viewpoint’).

[11] Niki A Rust et al, ‘How to Transition to Reduced-Meat Diets That Benefit People and the Planet’ (2020) 718 Science of The Total Environment 137208.

[12] ‘Drought’, World Health Organisation <>.

[13] Rust et al (n 11).

[14] Bonnet et al (n 10).

[15] Rust et al (n 11) 1.

[16] ‘The Red Meat Industry | Meat & Livestock Australia’, MLA Corporate 7 <>.

[17] Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, ‘CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions’, Our World in Data (11 May 2020) <>.

[18] ‘Cancer: Carcinogenicity of the Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat’, World Health Organisation <>.

[19] Bouvard et al (n 2).

[20] Ibid.

[21] Marco Springmann et al, ‘Health-Motivated Taxes on Red and Processed Meat: A Modelling Study on Optimal Tax Levels and Associated Health Impacts’, ed Bhavani Shankar (2018) 13(11) PLOS ONE e0204139 (‘Health-Motivated Taxes on Red and Processed Meat’).

[22] Renata Micha, Sarah K Wallace and Dariush Mozaffarian, ‘Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’ (2010) 121(21) Circulation 2271.

[23] Broeks et al (n 5) 644.

[24] Cancer Australia, ‘Processed Meat and Red Meat Consumption’, National Cancer Control Indicators (17 December 2015) <>.

[25] Bouvard et al (n 2) 1599.

[26] Springmann et al (n 21).

[27] Bonnet et al (n 10) 2.

[28] Justin Bernstein and Jan Dutkiewicz, ‘A Public Health Ethics Case for Mitigating Zoonotic Disease Risk in Food Production’ (2021) 6(2) Food Ethics 9, 10.

[29] Bernstein and Dutkiewicz (n 28).

[30] Ibid 10.

[31] Ibid 11.

[32] Ibid 12.

[33] Ibid 13.

[34] Ibid 17.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Anne Marie Thow, Shauna Downs and Stephen Jan, ‘A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Food Taxes and Subsidies to Improve Diets: Understanding the Recent Evidence’ (2014) 72(9) Nutrition Reviews 551, 551.

[37] Thow, Downs and Jan (n 36); Broeks et al (n 5).

[38] Thow, Downs and Jan (n 36) 551.

[39] Aurelio Miracolo et al, ‘Sin Taxes and Their Effect on Consumption, Revenue Generation and Health Improvement: A Systematic Literature Review in Latin America’ (2021) 36(5) Health Policy and Planning 790, 790.

[40] Ryan Bourne, ‘“Market Failure” Arguments Are a Poor Guide to Policy’ (2019) 39(2) Economic Affairs 170, 177–178; Ryan Bourne, ‘Against A Highly Regressive “Meat Tax”’, Cato Institute (12 November 2018) <>.

[41] Bourne, ‘“Market Failure” Arguments Are a Poor Guide to Policy’ (n 40) 177.

[42] Bourne, ‘Against A Highly Regressive “Meat Tax”’ (n 40); Will Coggin, ‘A Meat Tax Is a Rotten, Regressive Idea’, Washington Examiner (19 December 2018) <>.

[43] Sylvain Charlebois, ‘Meat Is Not the “new Tobacco,” and Shouldn’t Be Taxed’, The Conversation <> .

[44] Anita Lal et al, ‘Modelled Health Benefits of a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax across Different Socioeconomic Groups in Australia: A Cost-Effectiveness and Equity Analysis’, ed Sanjay Basu (2017) 14(6) PLOS Medicine e1002326.

[45] France Caillavet, Adélaïde Fadhuile and Véronique Nichèle, ‘Assessing the Distributional Effects of Carbon Taxes on Food: Inequalities and Nutritional Insights in France’ (2019) 163 Ecological Economics 20.

[46] ‘Pigouvian Tax Definition | TaxEDU | Tax Foundation’, Tax Foundation <>.

[47] Philippa Simmonds and Signild Vallgårda, ‘“It’s Not as Simple as Something like Sugar”: Values and Conflict in the UK Meat Tax Debate’ (2021) ahead-of-print(ahead-of-print) International Journal of Health Governance 2 <>.

[48] Jendi B Reiter, ‘Citizens or Sinners? - The Economic and Political Inequity of “Sin Taxes” on Tobacco and Alcohol Products’ Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems 27, 444.

[49] Ibid 455.

[50] Bonnet et al (n 10) 4.

[51] Frédéric Leroy and Adele H Hite, ‘The Place of Meat in Dietary Policy: An Exploration of the Animal/Plant Divide’ (2020) 4(2) Meat and Muscle Biology <>.

[52] Jack Derwin, ‘Meat Could Be the next Tobacco as Governments Look to “sin Taxes” as a Solution to Climate Change’, Business Insider Australia (14 August 2019) <>.

[53] Coggin (n 42).

[54] Simmonds and Vallgårda (n 47) 11.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Cass R Sunstein, ‘The Ethics of Nudging’ (2015) 32(2) Yale Journal on Regulation 413, 421.

[57] Susanne van der Kooij, ‘States’ Moral Obligation to Change Meat-Eating Behaviour’ in Floris van den Berg and Tomas Rep (eds), Thoughts on Oughts: Inconvenient Essays on Environmental Ethics (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, 2016) 90.

[58] Ibid 91.

[59] John Mill, On Liberty (1859).

[60] Reiter (n 48) 452; Daniel Shapiro, ‘Smoking Tobacco: Irrationality, Addiction, and Paternalism’ (1994) 8(2) Public Affairs Quarterly 187; Adam J Hoffer, William F Shughart and Michael D Thomas, ‘Sin Taxes and Sindustry: Revenue, Paternalism, and Political Interest’ (2014) 19(1) The Independent Review 47, 48–49 (‘Sin Taxes and Sindustry’).

[61] K Calman, ‘Beyond the “Nanny State”: Stewardship and Public Health’ (2009) 123(1) Public Health e6, 2 (‘Beyond the “Nanny State”’).

[62] van der Kooij (n 57) 90.

[63] Wim Verbeke et al, ‘European Citizen and Consumer Attitudes and Preferences Regarding Beef and Pork’ (2010) 84(2) Meat Science 284.

[64] van der Kooij (n 57) 90.

[65] Davina Mann et al, ‘Australian Consumers’ Views towards an Environmentally Sustainable Eating Pattern’ (2018) 21(14) Public Health Nutrition 2714.

[66] van der Kooij (n 57) 91.

[67] Katherine Sievert et al, ‘Understanding the Political Challenge of Red and Processed Meat Reduction for Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems: A Narrative Review of the Literature’ [2020] International Journal of Health Policy and Management 1, 5.

[68] ‘The Red Meat Industry | Meat & Livestock Australia’ (n 16).

[69] Bernstein and Dutkiewicz (n 28) 23.

[70] Springmann et al (n 21).

[71] Bernstein and Dutkiewicz (n 28) 23.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Sievert et al (n 67) 5.

[74] Jacob Kibwage, Godfrey Netondo and Peter Magati, ‘Chapter 6: Substituting Bamboo for Tobacco in South Nyanza Region, Kenya’ in Tobacco Control and Tobacco Farming: Seperating Myth from Reality (Anthem Press, 2014) 187, 251–264.

[75] Dora Marinova and Diana Bogueva, ‘Planetary Health and Reduction in Meat Consumption’ (2019) 2(1) Sustainable Earth 3.

[76] Bernstein and Dutkiewicz (n 28) 24.

[77] Angela Nguyen and Michael J Platow, ‘“I’ll Eat Meat Because That’s What We Do”: The Role of National Norms and National Social Identification on Meat Eating’ (2021) 164 Appetite 105287, 1 (‘“I’ll Eat Meat Because That’s What We Do”’).

[78] Sievert et al (n 67) 6.

[79] Anja Bless, ‘Addressing the Impacts of Red Meat Consumption: Lessons from Australia’s Tobacco Control Regime’ (Honours Thesis, The University of Sydney) 35.

[80] Sievert et al (n 67) 6; Rhiannon MacDonnell Mesler, R Bret Leary and William J Montford, ‘The Impact of Masculinity Stress on Preferences and Willingness-to-Pay for Red Meat’ [2021] Appetite 105729, 2.

[81] Eugene Y Chan and Natalina Zlatevska, ‘Jerkies, Tacos, and Burgers: Subjective Socioeconomic Status and Meat Preference’ (2019) 132 Appetite 257.

[82] Sievert et al (n 67) 8.

[83] Ibid.

[84] Ibid 6.

[85] Mann et al (n 65).

[86] Verbeke et al (n 63).

[87] Wellesley, Happer and Froggatt (n 4) 9.

[88] Simmonds and Vallgårda (n 47) 11.

[89] Sievert et al (n 67) 10.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid 8.

[92] Ibid 6.

[93] Ibid 7–8.

[94] Ibid 7.

[95] Ibid 8–9.

[96] Emma Sainsbury et al, ‘Explaining Resistance to Regulatory Interventions to Prevent Obesity and Improve Nutrition: A Case-Study of a Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax in Australia’ (2020) 93 Food Policy 101904, 6.

[97] Sievert et al (n 67) 9.

[98] J Dixon, ‘Exploring the Intersectoral Partnerships Guiding Australia’s Dietary Advice’ (2004) 19(1) Health Promotion International 5, 9–10.

[99] Sievert et al (n 67) 7.

[100] Bless (n 79) 50.

[101] ‘The Red Meat Industry | Meat & Livestock Australia’ (n 16).

[102] Ibid.

[103] Sievert et al (n 67) 7.

[104] ‘Red Meat Livestock Industry Structure - DAWE’, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment <>.

[105] Bless (n 79) 46.

[106] Sievert et al (n 67) 7.

[107] Bless (n 79) 49–50.

[108] Ibid 49.

[109] Sainsbury et al (n 96) 5.

[110] Sievert et al (n 67) 6.

[111] Robert MacNeil, ‘Death and Environmental Taxes: Why Market Environmentalism Fails in Liberal Market Economies’ (2016) 16(1) Global Environmental Politics 21 (‘Death and Environmental Taxes’).

[112] Jack Derwin (n 52).

[113] ‘UN Meat Tax Will “Close down Cattle Industry and Starve 80 Million”: Katter’, Beef Central (3 August 2021) <>.

[114] Sainsbury et al (n 96) 5.

[115] Bless (n 79) 50.

[116] Nicole Moretto et al, ‘Yes, The Government Should Tax Soft Drinks: Findings from a Citizens’ Jury in Australia’ (2014) 11(3) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2456 (‘Yes, The Government Should Tax Soft Drinks’).

[117] Franziska Funke et al, ‘Is Meat Too Cheap? Towards Optimal Meat Taxation’ [2021] SSRN Electronic Journal 2.

[118] Bless (n 79) 51.

[119] Ibid.

[120] Kathryn Backholer and Jane Martin, ‘Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax: The Inconvenient Truths’ (2017) 20(18) Public Health Nutrition 3225, 3225 (‘Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax’).

[121] Wellesley, Happer and Froggatt (n 4) 9.

[122] See, e.g. Marinova and Bogueva (n 75).

[123] PLAY, ‘FMCG Trends: Adapting to Plant-Based Consumer Demand’ <> (‘FMCG Trends’).

[124] Nick Kilvert, ‘There’s a Growing Vegan Trend in Australia, but We’re Still Some of the World’s Biggest Meatheads’, ABC News (online, 9 April 2019) <>.

[125] Larissa Waters, ‘Greens Move to Cap Political Donations’, The Greens (24 February 2020) <> .

[126] Bless (n 79) 51; Backholer and Martin (n 120) 3225.

[127] Rust et al (n 11) 2.

[128] Sievert et al (n 67) 7.

[129] Ibid 10.

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