21 February 2023
Meat tax in GermanyAnimal Protection More Compelling than Climate Protection
Photo: Sebastian Engels
There were 2,800 participants in the online survey. They had to decide for a specific tax model. While one group voted for a meat tax for the sake of the animals, the other looked at a meat tax to protect the climate. Result: A total of 62 percent voted for a low tax on meat. Consent for a tax to protect animals was noticeably higher (68 percent) than to protect the climate (56 percent).
Moreover, the participants were asked to vote for either a uniform tax or a tax that varied depending on the way animals were kept, the type of animal, or the amount of emissions. The results show that people support both options equally.
“We asked half of those surveyed to think, before they voted, about a nuanced tax in comparison to a uniform tax and how they would affect consumption patterns. Aspects highlighted in this way are usually and ultimately taken into greater consideration. Yet even though the strong nudge and the associated positive effects on animal and climate protection were, on the whole, correctly predicted, it had no influence on voting behaviors,” explains Prof. Dr. Grischa Perino, professor of ecological economics at Universität Hamburg.
Together with his colleague, Perino also looked at how many of those surveyed would pay for a kilogram of meat. The results shows that the lowest tax grade of 19 cents per kilogram was most often chosen. The highest tax recommendation of €1.56 per kilo received the fewest votes. Nonetheless, a fourth of those surveyed were prepared to pay this.
What do the results mean for policymakers? “The arguments for a meat tax should be clearly communicated,” says Prof. Perino. “There will be opposition, but a majority seems to be open to a meat tax.” This should begin with a low tax. “Consumers see such measures positively if they do not feel the financial pinch,” says Perino.
The study was conducted in the Cluster of Excellence Climate, Climatic Change, and Society (CLICCS) at Universität Hamburg. Prof.Dr. Grischa Perino is a member of the cluster and has been the director of the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), where the cluster is situated, since January 2023.