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Monday, June 4, 2007

PETA Seeks Tax Breaks for Vegetarians

This totally makes sense...too much sense for the government to take it seriously, I'm afraid. I'm not a big fan of PETA - I find their tactics to be too sensationalistic much of the time, but this time they've got my wholehearted support.

PETA seeks tax breaks for vegetarians

By Ilan Wurman
May 31, 2007

Citing the need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling on congressional leaders to give vegetarians a tax break.

In a letter sent Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), PETA President Ingrid Newkirk stated, “[V]egetarians are responsible for far fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and other kinds of environmental degradation than meat-eaters.”

The letter added that vegetarians should receive a tax break “just as people who purchase a hybrid vehicle enjoy a tax break.”

Asked how the government would certify that taxpayers are vegetarian, PETA spokesman Matt Prescott said, “I imagine that a system could be adopted whereby taxpayers could show receipts for food purchases and/or sign an affidavit attesting … that they are vegetarian. If Congress is seriously interested about rewarding people for reducing their carbon emissions, then it could develop a system to verify that people are vegetarian.”

Congressional leaders, however, have not shown any indication of pursuing such a tax break.

The PETA letter draws on research conducted at the University of Chicago and a U.N. report. According to the letter, anyone switching to a hybrid car will lessen the emissions of carbon dioxide by only one ton per year, while anyone forgoing their love of meat will spare the environment one and a half tons per year.

Citing the U.N. report, Newkirk wrote, “[S]cientists determined that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, and [planes] in the world combined.” “Although most Americans can’t afford to pay upward of $20,000 for a new hybrid car,” the letter continues, “everyone can go vegetarian.”

Newkirk added, “Anyone who buys a hybrid in order to cut down on their contribution to global warming and uses it to drive to the supermarket to buy chicken, steaks, and milk should face up to the fact that there’s no such thing as a meat-eating environmentalist.”
In practicality, I have no idea how this could be enforced - it seems to me that anyone could lie and say that they are vegetarian just to get the tax break, but it's probably a moot point because I can't imagine this idea has a snowball's chance in hell of actually being taken seriously by lawmakers. I do plan to contact my representatives though, just to let them know I support the idea.

1 comment:

Vegan_Noodle said...

Wow, that would be cool if it ever happened! Just not sure our government is ready for that....maybe the Brits! Thanks for posting such an interesting story (I also don't follow PETA too much)!