Taxing Meat

Taxing Meat: Taking Responsibility for One’s Contribution to Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic use in animal farming is one of the main drivers of antibiotic resistance both in animals and in humans. In this paper we propose that one feasible and fair way to address this problem is to tax animal products obtained with the use of antibiotics. We argue that such tax is supported both by (a) deontological arguments, which are based on the duty individuals have to compensate society for the antibiotic resistance to which they are contributing through consumption of animal products obtained with the use of antibiotics; and (b) a cost-benefit analysis of taxing such animal products and of using revenue from the tax to fund alternatives to use of antibiotics in animal farming. Finally, we argue that such a tax would be fair because individuals who consume animal products obtained with the use of antibiotics can be held morally responsible, i.e. blameworthy, for their contribution to antibiotic resistance, in spite of the fact that each individual contribution is imperceptible.

Giubilini, A., Savulescu, J., Douglas, T., Birkl, P. and Maslen, H., (2017), 'Taxing Meat: Taking Responsibility for One’s Contribution to Antibiotic Resistance', Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol: 30(2): 179-198 [PMC5837014]

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