Could Meat be Made Illegal?

| 27 September 2019
minute reading time
Luke Pollard, Labour MP

*Luke Pollard, Labour MP

Shadow DEFRA Minister has said he can’t rule out a tax on meat to help achieve net zero emissions targets, after Michael Mansfield QC said meat should be made illegal ahead of the Vegan Now launch.

Vegan Now has sent reverberations throughout the animal agriculture industry and politics, as Farmer’s Guardian reported Shadow DEFRA Minister refuses to rule out the possibility of a Labour Government imposing a meat tax.

Luke Pollard, Shadow DEFRA Minister said politicians have a duty to make people ‘more aware’ of the carbon impact their food has. This echoes Mansfield’s statement that meat and dairy are so damaging to the environment it should be classed as ‘ecocide’ – a crime against humanity like genocide.

Pollard said politicians have a responsibility to be realistic about the ‘unpleasant’ but necessary changes to meet the net-zero emissions target in terms of our diets, trade agreements and travel. A tax on meat could be part of these changes.

This is a huge change in tone from the current UK government’s stance on meat consumption. In July, the UK Food System Reviewer appointed by Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove, claimed veganism was not the answer to the climate crisis despite a wealth of evidence.

But, as research has shown time and time again, we need a drastic change in our lifestyle habits if we’re to reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

We need change

Pollard, refreshingly adds: ‘Change is something politicians advocate but votes do not always want. You might want the outcome at the end of it, but not the process to get there.’

And since the government has a responsibility to create policies that benefits the population and world, it’s time for there to be more stringent policies around eating meat. Meat and dairy are two of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, not to mention their responsibility for habitat destruction and species loss around the world.

Given that 90 per cent of the Amazon is being destroyed for animal agriculture, it seems ludicrous there are not more policies in place to protect global biodiversity by banning meat.

“Without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity” says David Macdonald, Professor of Wildlife Conservation and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University. The evidence is clear: we’re committing ecocide and something must be done.

While a tax representing the environmental damage caused by eating meat would be a huge step forward in the UK’s environmental policy, going Vegan Now is the best thing you can do as an individual.

On Friday 1 November, we’re asking everyone to go vegan for 24 hours as part of World Vegan Day. It’s a simple yet powerful statement that we can achieve net zero emissions and save wild and farmed animals all over the world.

To learn more and find out how to take part, visit

About the author
Louisa Kendal
Louisa is the Digital Communications Officer at Viva! Louisa has been vegan for four years and is passionate about eradicating injustices and exploitation in our world. After graduating from the University of Bristol with a degree in Theology, she worked as a journalist in Malaysia before joining Viva!'s marketing team. She now leverages social media and the online world to forward the vegan movement and keep Viva! growing in influence. Click here for more info.

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