Government initial proposal for excise levy on meat products
The German government has produced potential legislation ideas (“Animal Welfare Cent”) for the imposition of a tax or levy on meat products. This could start with pork products and edible offal, and then be extended to beef in a phased roll out over several years.
There are no indications yet of likely rates, but somewhere around €0.20 per kilogram of meat has been suggested. The measure is being promoted by members of the Green party, only partially backed by the FDP, which are now in coalition government. Animal health aside, supporters claim large-scale meat consumption now contributes to major causes of heart disease. Also, livestock supply chains accounts for 15% of all methane greenhouse gas production, and is the world’s number one user of antibiotics.
Similar ‘sin taxes’ have been successful in reducing smoking and consumption of sugary food.
Public support but concerns on affordability
There appears to be public support in Germany for the measure to drive animal welfare measures and pay the price for healthcare and carbon emissions. The Ministry for Nutrition and Agriculture is keen to use any raised revenues for pig farm support and better livestock conditions.
But opponents claim that it could put meat out of reach for poorer consumers, make farmers cut corners on animal welfare, and encourage suppliers to simply import cheaper, highly processed meat with a higher carbon footprint.
The Netherlands and Denmark have already rejected such members at parliament.
New Zealand is introducing a livestock carbon emissions tax at the end of 2025.