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Sustainability: What would a tax surcharge on schnitzel bring?


TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates

Berlin (dpa) - A kilo of German beef for € 4.99. Turkey breast schnitzel vigorously reduced, the good pound for 2.99 euros. Not only discounters like to attract customers with bargain offers for meat in the shops.

But how well could a pig have lived when steaks are at the lowest prices in the refrigerator? For many years, many farmers have moaned under high price pressure in the competitive market. Environmentalists are also pushing climate protection towards less meat consumption. Could higher taxes help? Agrarian politicians of the CDU, Greens and SPD pick this up - and are pretty much slowed down.

What should a higher taxation effect?

The animal rights association had started the delicate debate again. On the one hand, it is about a steering effect, for example, when products become more expensive via VAT. Up to now, meat, like most other foods, is subject to the reduced rate of 7 percent. Should he be raised to the usual 19 percent? This would hit small and medium-income the hardest, warned Union Housekeeper Eckhardt Rehberg (CDU). "That would be highly anti-social." Theoretically, it could lead to less meat being bought. On the other hand, more tax money would come into the treasury. This could be more in the promotion of animal welfare in the stalls flow - but there is no automatic purpose limitation in taxes.

How much more expensive could meat be?

In the 4.99 euros for a kilo of ground beef stuck so far at the reduced tax rate around 33 cents VAT. The full rate of 19 percent would mean that around 89 cents are due - and the kilo would cost 5.55 euros. Whether this would happen in practice is not certain. Because among the supermarket chains there is a tough price war. So you could try to get meat even cheaper than before, or reduce your profit margin on such lock products to keep prices low anyway.

How much meat do the Germans eat?

The estimated per capita consumption in 2018 was 60.15 kilograms, of which 35.7 kilos of pig. According to a June survey conducted by YouGov, around one in two (52 percent) would find that meat prices would be much higher if they cut down on climate change and promote sustainable agricultural policies. But at the till it often looks different, especially with meat. Organic products had a total market share of only 5.1 percent in the past year, as reported by the German organic food industry association. While the organic content of eggs reached 11 percent in 2017, poultry meat accounted for just over 1 percent, and pigs a little less.

What do farmers and the meat industry say?

The farmers' association thinks higher taxes are too short. "It is not the fiscal authorities but the farmers who need funds and support for the further development of animal husbandry," said Secretary-General Bernhard Krüsken. Animal welfare and climate protection is not served if German farmers invest in better stable conditions, but at the same time come cheap meat from EU countries with lower standards in the market. Managing Director Thomas Vogelsang warned the Verband der Deutschen Fleischwarenindustrie in the newspapers of the Funke-Mediengruppe that there is a financial burden, especially for people with low incomes, who subsequently "seep away" somewhere.

Will the federal government implement higher meat taxes?

Rather not. More money for more animal welfare must "not automatically come from tax increases," said Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) vague. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) said that there were more effective means, such as stricter manures, to reduce high livestock. From the party and faction peaks of coalition and Greens, the thought games of the agricultural politicians have already been largely cashed. In other fields, however, there is talk of turning the tax head for more climate protection - for example for rail travel, flying, on fuel, heating oil and natural gas.

How should more animal welfare be achieved instead?

Minister Klöckner relies, among other things, on the planned state animal welfare mark for meat from better stance, which is crunching in the coalition. It aims to provide volunteer farmers with more space and conditions in the barn, transport and slaughter, as well as higher prices. In the end this should also lead to a decline in stocks. The consumer organization Foodwatch emphasizes that animal welfare can not be guaranteed with premiums for individual businesses, but only with clear legal requirements.

Why are there different VAT rates at all?

The standard rate is 19 percent. The reduced rate was introduced in 1968, since 1983 it is 7 percent. Thus subsidized are products that serve the common good - food, books or newspapers, public transport or cultural offers. Around three-quarters of the discounted items are groceries, including milk and meat. But some things are hard to understand: Reduced rate for potatoes, but standard rate for sweet potatoes; reduced rate for tomato paste and juice, normal set for tomato ketchup and sauce. Often it is also criticized that for tampons and bindings the standard rate is due.

Statistics on nutrition at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture

Market and supply situation report meat 2019

Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft to the organic sector

Source: zeit

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