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Even at an early age, Cheryl Day was a passionate and practical advocate for agriculture. Check out her viewpoint on current agricultural topics.

Sin Tax on Meat

Apr 04, 2011

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are pushing for a federal “Sin Tax” on all meat products to cover “health and environment costs from using animals for food”.   PETA is labeling meat as a health hazard in the same category as cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline.

As an individual who raises beef and mother who knows that meat is a natural nutrient-enrich part of balanced-healthy diet, is flabbergasted that PETA is labeling meat as a health hazard and adding the fuel of misleading facts about meat.
On the PETA website, PETA claims the “meat is the number one cause of climate change.” In addition, PETA is pushing for a 10-cent tax on “chicken, turkey, pig, fish, and cow flesh sold in grocery stores and restaurants”.
I could spend many words and valuable time to articulate how upset I am that PETA seriously thinks that raising animals for meat is single handling destroying the environment or killing every citizen of the United States. –OR- I could get on the soapbox explaining how every time the government talks Money  “A” for agriculture is the first cut.
So I am going to take the high road and outline the myths present on the PETA Website [http://www.peta.org/features/tax-meat.aspx]:
Tax Meat for the Environment
PETA: U.S. with billions of dollars in damages from rising sea levels, worsening storms, and increased droughts. A tax on meat could help prevent future climate change–related natural disasters by encouraging a decrease in meat consumption.
Fact: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) greenhouse gas emission report that the Agriculture Sector was responsible for 6% of the TOTAL U.S. Greenhouse gas emissions. Of the 6 %, livestock production only accounts for 2.8%. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads11/US-GHG-Inventory-2011-Chapter-6-Agriculture.pdf
PETA listed livestock greenhouse gas emissions figures based on a United Nations reports of World greenhouse gas emissions not United States actual figures.
PETA:  Animal agriculture is a leading source of carbon dioxide emissions and the biggest source of methane and nitrous oxide emissions.
Fact: Fossil Fuels remain the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
USEPA: As the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 from fossil fuel combustion has accounted for approximately 78 percent of GWP-weighted emissions since 1990, growing slowly from 77 percent of total GWP7 weighted emissions in 1990 to 78 percent in 2009.
Furthermore, the USEPA reports that emissions from 2008 to 2009 has decreased by 6.0 %
USEPA: In 2009, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,639.7 Tg CO2 Eq. While total U.S. emissions have increased by 7.4 percent from 1990 to 2009, emissions decreased from 2008 to 2009 by 6.0 percent (422.2 Tg CO2 Eq.). This decrease was primarily due to (1) a decrease in economic output resulting in a decrease in energy consumption across all sectors; and (2) a decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels used to generate electricity due to fuel switching as the price of coal increased, and the price of natural gas decreased significantly.
  
Tax Meat for the Health of Americans
PETA: Animal products are the only dietary sources of cholesterol and are by far the largest sources of saturated fat.
I will not deny that animal products is the only source of cholesterol but a one line statement about cholesterol being all bad or it is only found in  food is misleading.
Facts about Cholesterol from American Heart Organization:
 
It may surprise you to know that cholesterol itself isn't bad. In fact, cholesterol is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally (and can be affected by your family health history); while some of it comes from the food we eat. Learn more about the sources of cholesterol.
 
Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 percent of blood cholesterol. The other 25 percent comes from the foods you eat. Cholesterol is only found in animal products. Diet and physical activity contribute to overall blood cholesterol levels as well as the cholesterol that is made naturally by the body. The amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood is controlled in two important places — the liver and the intestines. The liver produces cholesterol (using it to make digestive — or bile — acids) and also removes cholesterol from the blood. The intestines absorb cholesterol, which comes from food and from bile.
 
Know your Fats
LDL cholesterol is affected by diet. Knowing which fats raise LDL cholesterol and which ones don't is the first step in lowering your risk of heart disease. In addition to the LDL produced naturally by your body, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids and dietary cholesterol can also raise blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats appear to not raise LDL cholesterol; some studies suggest they might even help lower LDL cholesterol slightly when eaten as part of a low-saturated and trans-fat diet.
 
Serving Sizes and Nutritional Profiles of Lean Meats

3-ounce cooked serving:
Calories
Total Fat
(g)
Saturated
Fat (g)
Cholesterol
(mg)
LEAN CHICKEN
Skinless chicken breast*
140
3.1
0.9
73
Skinless chicken leg*
162
7.1
2.0
80
Skinless chicken thigh*
178
9.3
2.6
81
LEAN CUTS OF PORK
Pork Tenderloin*
120
3.0
1.0
62
Pork boneless top loin chop**
173
5.2
1.8
61
Pork top loin roast*
147
5.3
1.6
68
Pork center loin chop**
153
6.2
1.8
72
Pork sirloin roast*
173
8.0
2.4
76
Pork rib chop**
158
7.1
2.2
56
LEAN CUTS OF BEEF
Beef eye of round*
141
4.0
1.5
59
Beef top round***
169
4.3
1.5
76
Beef tip round*
149
5.0
1.8
69
Beef top sirloin**
162
8
2.2
76
Beef top loin**
168
7.1
2.7
65
Beef tenderloin**
175
8.1
3.0
71
FISH (*dry heat,**moist heat)
Cod*
89
0.7
0.1
40
Flounder*
99
1.3
0.3
58
Halibut*
119
2.5
0.4
35
Orange Roughy*
75
0.8
0.0
22
Salmon*
175
11.0
2.1
54
Shrimp**
84
0.9
0.2
166

 

* Roasted,  ** Broiled,   *** Braised
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database Release 18 or the 2006 Revised USDA

The chart above illustrates the total number of fat and the amount of that total fat that is saturated. The remaining fat is unsaturated fat. Fats have an essential role in your health. Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and to support cell growth.  They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm.  Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too. 
 
Meat and other animal products provide additional essential natural nutrients like Zinc, Protein, Iron, and B Vitamins. These nutrients build strong muscles, provide energy, build healthy immune systems, and improve cognitive development. The key to healthy lifestyles is selecting lean cuts of meat and select a variety of food choices for a balance diet.
 
Tax on Meat for the Animals
In the last category of reason for citizen to support the “Sin Tax”, PETA starts it normal habit of stating that farmers and ranchers raise livestock in poor sheds and filthy cages. In addition we slaughter are animals in poorly regulated slaughterhouses.
 
Fact: In the United States 1,315,051 farms raising livestock in which only 9 percent are commercial. For generations families have raised animals with outmost care using science based, proven methods that is best for animal welfare.   As a beef producer, I proudly join the family farms that passionately care for their animals every day battling rain, snow, sleet, extreme temperatures, and mud to care for the needs of our animals. I am thankful everyday that animals give their lives to feed us. Animals are living creatures and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. In addition, I care about the environment and natural resources.
 
On the personal side, the true agenda of the “Sin Tax” on meat is clearly another attempt to end animal agriculture. Healthy lifestyles do depend on meat as an essential nutrient source. The United States is based on choices. I choose to eat meat and other animal products. You as consumer have the right to make your consumer dietary selections but I challenge you to make your selection on education and NOT by misleading facts.
 
 
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