Talking Points: Should there be higher taxes on meat products?


Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

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Tina Li Nga-kwan, 14, Pope Paul VI College

I think so. Climate change is the biggest problem humanity is facing. In addition to the fossil fuel industry and transport industry, the meat industry is one of the major causes of climate change. If we keep producing meat at our current rate, climate change will only get worse. Furthermore, processed meat has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen – that puts it in the same category as cigarettes and asbestos for health risks. If taxes on meat products became higher, people might think twice about buying so much meat, and sales would decrease. With less demand for meat, less meat would be produced. In a nutshell, higher taxes on meat products could help alleviate climate change and improve public health.

Joshua Lee, 21, The University of Hong Kong

A tax on meat products may raise the cost of living for many people and disproportionately affect the poorest in society the most. However, I also believe that it is highly beneficial for the environment if people move towards a plant-based diet. The government should instead provide subsidies to make plant-based meats, fruits, and vegetables cheaper and more attractive for people.

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Oorvi Goyal, 12, HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

I think that having higher taxes on meat products would help the environment. Many people eat meat several times a day, and do not realise that doing so can be harmful to the planet. But taxes alone may not change people’s eating habits. So in addition, the government should educate people about the negative aspects of the meat industry, and encourage them to make healthier, more ethical choices. We should care about how livestock are treated before they end up on our plate, in addition to thinking about the environment.

Nester Chik Yiu-kai, 17, Sing Yin Secondary School

Taxes should not be raised; in fact, they should be lowered. Meat production is expensive, and suppliers need to earn a living. Given that Hong Kong’s meat industry is already withering, increasing the tax burden would sadly be the last straw on the camel’s back.

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Janice Ko, 16, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

No, there should not. Meat makes up a big part of the diets of ordinary people, and right now, it is already too expensive. If taxes were raised, many low income families would struggle to afford to eat.

Gary Yu, 16, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

Taxing meat would save many lives. Processed meat, like bacon and sausages, is carcinogenic. This type of meat is made in factories and filled with different kinds of chemical preservatives. Eating this type of meat in excess can be seriously put your health at risk.That’s why I think there should be higher taxes on meat products. Even better, the taxes would raise billions of dollars that could be spent on healthcare. 

Alice Fan Hau Ching, 14, Pope Paul VI College

I think so. Climate change is a major problem around the world, and meat production is one of the causes. Raising animals uses a lot of resources such as water, food and space. In addition, some animals release greenhouse gases which makes global warming worse. It is only right that we eat less meat for the sake of our planet. A higher tax on meat products would gradually make meat less popular, and it the long run it would lead to a healthier planet.

What’s the difference between being vegetarian and vegan?

Eric Leung, 17, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

Yes, there should. As we all know, eating too much meat is bad for our health because it contains a lot of fat, and that puts pressure on our heart. When there is too much fat in our blood, it is harder for our blood to pump oxygen around our body. This increases the chances of having heart attack. If we raise taxes on meat, people may buy it less frequently. Eating less meat hopefully means less chance of getting heart disease. That’s why higher taxes are necessary.

Candy Leung Lok-yi, 14, Pope Paul VI College

No, because higher taxes on meat would put too much of financial strain on the public, especially small local businesses. As you know, meat is a key part of our diets, so if we raise taxes, people will either be forced to buy less meat – losing out on important nutrients – or cut their spending elsewhere. That isn’t feasible for everyone.

Ashraf Abdullah Atique,12,HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

Why not just increase taxes on imported meats? That would encourage people to buy local products instead, helping our farmers here in Hong Kong. 

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

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We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge