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Abolish "Welfare Ranching"

Should meat be taxed? I've heard that when he was with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Bruce Friedrich would urge legislators to "tax meat" -- similar to the "sin taxes" we now see on cigarettes and alcohol.

Before joining PETA, Bruce Friedrich distributed copies of his essay "Veganism and Nonviolence" to the numerous Catholic Worker houses across the United States, pointing out that many Catholic worker-types like to think of themselves as nonviolent, but are unaware of the violence that goes into a hamburger and/or a glass of milk.

A bumper sticker by Friends of Animals reads "Veganism Is Direct Action"...

...but direct action might be economic impact:

Abolish "welfare ranching"!
Abolish all taxpayer support for the livestock industry.

Vegan author John Robbins provides these points and facts in his Pulitzer Prize nominatedDiet for a New America(1987):

Half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren't subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!

Livestock producers are California's biggest consumers of water. Every tax dollar the state doles out to livestock producers costs taxpayers over seven dollars in lost wages, higher living costs and reduced business income. Seventeen western states have enough water supplies to support economies and populations twice as large as the present.

U.S. livestock produce twenty times as much excrement as the entire human population, creating sewage which is ten to several hundred times as concentrated as raw domestic sewage. Meat producers contribute to half the water pollution in the United States.

Again: half the water consumed in the U.S. irrigates land growing feed and fodder for livestock. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons to produce a pound of meat. If these costs weren't subsidized by the American taxpayers, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound!

If we abolish all taxpayer support for the livestock industry, the cheapest hamburger meat would be $35 per pound, effectively making everyone in the United States a vegetarian. This would have far greater and far-reaching consequences than merely taxing meat.

A 2007 pamphlet put out by Compassion Over Killing similarly points out:

Nearly 75% of the grain grown and 50% of the water consumed in the U.S. are used by the meat industry. (Audubon Society)

It takes nearly one gallon of fossil fuel and 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of conventionally fed beef. (Mother Jones)

In their 2007 book,Please Don't Eat the Animals, mother and daughter Jennifer Horsman and Jaime Flowers write:

"Half of all fresh water worldwide is used for thirsty livestock. Producing eight ounces of beef requires an unimaginable 25,000 liters of water, or the water necessary for one pound of steak equals the water consumption of the average household for a year.

"The Worldwatch Institute estimates one pound of steak from a steer raised in a feedlot costs: five pounds of grain, a whopping 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about 34 pounds of topsoil.

"Thirty-three percent of our nation's raw materials and fossil fuels go into livestock destined for slaughter. In a vegan economy, only two percent of our resources will go to the production of food."

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