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End Subsidies for the UK Meat and Dairy Industries

This petition had 2,253 supporters

Every year the EU hands out billions in subsidies to Europe's meat and dairy industries. These direct subsidies make up the vast bulk of EU agricultural subsidies, which eat up 40% of the European budget, dwarfing the UK's net contribution. The UK also chooses to put meat and dairy on a par with healthier, more sustainable and more morally defensible foods by allowing them to be sold at 0% VAT.

Billions of pounds public money is therefore spent sponsoring the killing of animals for food, and the forcible removal of calves from cows in order to obtain dairy milk. This amounts roughly to a whopping 50% subsidy for the meat and dairy industries. £700m a year is spent on subsidies in the UK alone on factory farming. Meanwhile, supermarket monopolies push down the price of milk to below the cost of the production, encouraging excessive consumption of saturated fats which are a major cause of deaths from heart disease. Acidic proteins in milk and in meat are neutralised by phosphate drawn from bones, causing osteoporosis and kidney stones due to the chemically bound calcium being freed and passing through the urethra.

It takes 10g of plant protein feed to produce 1g of beef or lamb, with similar ratios for other animals and for dairy milk. The caloric ratio is, again, 10 calories of plant feed to every 1 calorie of meat produced. Meat and dairy farming is inherently inefficient and eats up around 70% of the grain production of industrialised countries. With the price of food imports set to rise with the falling pound, we can simply no longer afford to eat meat whilst the alternative is to set free a huge surplus of grain and land, which would enable us to feed ourselves more cheaply.

In the coming years the UK government will regain full control of our agricultural subsidies. Vegans and Friends in Oxford is calling for the removal of all public subsidies for the meat and dairy industry, including for the production of livestock feed. We also call for meat and dairy to be taxed at 20% VAT due to grave health concerns regarding their consumption.

We fully recognise that these policies would be disastrous for the meat and dairy industries. We therefore would advocate the funds saved by ending these subsidies to be used to provide social security for farmers over the age of 60, and for farmers under the age of 60, support for a 'transition fund' to help them diversify into forestry, perennial crops, and renewable energy. We believe this would provide an overall benefit for the Exchequer due to reduced spending on diet associated illnesses, and increased GDP due to an increase in consumer spending power, resulting from the expected fall in food prices after the implementation of this policy.

We urge the new Environment Secretary and her team to consider our proposals carefully.



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