Solons reject scientists’ proposal to tax livestock production, meat consumption

Published October 31, 2020, 6:33 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Lawmakers rejected Saturday, Oct. 31, the call of international experts for policy makers to consider imposing taxes on livestock production and meat consumption. 

Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said if Congress would give in to such proposal, it would spell the death of country’s livestock farming industry.

“That will kill our farmers,” the former Speaker said in a text message, opposing the call made by 22 international experts who published a study seeking environmental protection and decreased global meat consumption. 

“If we have to survive as a nation, we must support our farmers,” Alvarez stressed.

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers agreed with Alvarez, saying that such proposal would affect the country’s livestock farmers and “may also be inflationary.”

“I think we should conduct further studies on that because to me as much as possible we should not levy additional taxes on food we produce, we eat. We can only do so on those value added,” he said. 

Based on the report issued by  the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, increasing demand for meat, especially in developed economies, contributes to climate change and threatens biodiversity.

To save the planet in terms of biodiversity loss, climate change and pandemic risk, international experts said policy makers should consider imposing  a livestock levy or meat tax.

The proposed meat tax also did not sit well with Manila 1st District Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez and Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. 

“Additional tax imposition at this point in time of pandemic is not advisable for me,” Lopez said.  

“Livestock production should be encouraged even further to run the economy somehow. Government should not burden but ease the heavy load that the populace is experiencing right now,” he added. 

Barzaga described as “untimely” the proposal of the international experts to policy makers to impose tax on livestock production and meat consumption. 

“Right now there is already a shortage of  pork resulting to increased prices of pork in the market. Levying taxes on livestock production and meat consumption  will further increase the prices of livestock in the market which shall be again shouldered by our people,” he said. 

According to a University of Oxford study, cutting meat and dairy products from a person’s diet could reduce the individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent.