German farmers reject proposed meat tax

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The German Farmers’ Association rejected proposals by politicians for an increase in value-added taxes on meat.

“It’s not the tax authorities, but the farmers, who need funds and support for further development of livestock farming,’’ the association’s Secretary-General, Bernhard Kruesken, said.

Kruesken was reacting to a plan to increase the VAT on meat to 19 per cent instead of seven per cent and spend the additional revenue on greater animal welfare.

The agricultural policy spokesman of the Greens in the Bundestag, Friedrich Ostendorff, had called in Wednesday’s edition of Die Welt newspaper for the “ending of the VAT reduction for meat and the earmarking of (the difference) for more animal welfare’’.

Specialist politicians from the ruling coalition of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the conservatives (CDU/CSU) had also shown themselves in principle open to the idea when asked by Die Welt.

Kruesken said neither the welfare of the animals nor the mitigation of climate change is served if German farmers continue to invest in more animal welfare.

“And the market is supplied with low-price alternatives from other EU countries with lower animal welfare standards.’’

A binding nationwide labelling system for animal welfare is needed that includes meat, he said.

In addition, a meat tax would “go nowhere” because building law and licensing procedures are currently blocking the construction or rebuilding of buildings for livestock.